Surprise! Like a dual-wielding rogue pouncing from the shadows, Digital Eclipse has simultaneously revealed and launched a remake of the original Wizardry.
To afford the game its full title, Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord was one of the first computer RPGs, and the first to feature party-based play. Released in 1981,Wizardry spawned a series ran for twenty years, with the final entry thus far, Wizardry 8, releasing back in 2001.
In a press release, Digital Eclipse explains the remake has been in development for two years, and is “built directly on top of the original Apple II game’s code.” While structurally faithful, the remake is nonetheless a full overhaul, with completely modernised visual presentation, a redesigned interface, a new method of party management, and changes to navigation, spellcasting, and combat.
(Image credit: Digital Eclipse)
To be clear, the game is launching into Early Access rather than as a finished product. On the game’s Steam page, Digital Eclipse states “the entire core of the game is playable” and that the Early Access period will focus primarily on “additional environment and object textures, audio elements, and character animations”. Alongside updating work-in-progress game assets, Digital Eclipse also mentions they will use Early Access to “explore adding text localization, a guide to in game enemies and other features we believe will benefit players.”
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is available now on Steam and GoG. You can watch the game in action in the trailer above, which shows some slick tile-based movement, a host of classic fantasy enemies getting battered by the party, and one vicious-looking rabbit. There’s also a brief segment where the original game’s wireframe display is overlaid onto the remake, hinting at its faithfulness.
2023 has been a pretty good year for remakes more generally, with Dead Space, Resident Evil 4, and System Shock all proving decent overhauls. Let’s hope Digital Eclipse’s redux of Wizardry contributes to that list.