E3 2011 continues in sunny Los Angeles, California, and new games are being unveiled left and right. One of these new games is Wizardry Online, which is to be published in Japan by Gamepot and developed by Japanese free-to-play online game developer Headlock Games. Though details on the game remain scarce, principals from both companies were in attendance at an off-the-floor event to introduce this new project.
Headlock CEO Nobuyuki Okada suggested that Wizardry Online will be a difficult game that "delights in killing the player." The game will feature the dreaded "perma-death," which is permanent death for your character if you die too many times; in this case, it was twice. Like in the classic Wizardry games first created by Sir-Tech Canada, in Wizardry Online, your first death will turn your body to ash (and as it turns out, classic locations like the Adventurer's Inn, Gilgamesh's Tavern, and Boltac's Trading Post will return in the game). You'll then become a ghost with one last shot of recovering your corpse and whatever belongings are left on it. If you fail, your character becomes extinct...dead forever.
Mr. Okada suggested that the game's permanent death and considerable difficulty, inspired by online games 10 years gone by such as EverQuest and Ultima Online, will make for a strong point of differentiation from the games of today. The executive suggested they are "well designed," but "monsters serve only to provide you with enough experience to gain your next level." In many cases, it may be wiser simply to try to run for your life.
Even though the game will make references to the classic games of yore, the executive insisted that it will very much be a modern free-to-play game that will be "challenging but fair," and it will reward "strategic and skillful play," without requiring exceptional reflexes. As a free-to-play game, Wizardry Online will earn revenue through microtransactions, though exactly what will be sold in the cash-op store hasn't been revealed. The game will, however, run on PCs with DirectX 9 and all modern versions of Windows. Headlock has also made arrangements with Japanese rock band Dir En Grey, which provided music for the game's debut trailer. Wizardry Online is scheduled to launch later this year in Japan and next year in Europe and North America.