Wizardry journeys West

Xseed Games picks up North American and European publishing rights to dungeon-crawling franchise's first downloadable PS3 iteration.

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Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls
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While the Wizardry series has enjoyed a steady flow of releases in Japan, the dungeon-crawling role-playing game franchise hasn't been seen in the West since 2001's critically acclaimed duo of Wizardry 8 for the PC and Wizardry: Tale of the Forsaken Land for the PlayStation 2. That's set to change soon, as Xseed Games today announced that it has acquired the rights to publish the first PlayStation 3 installment in the series in North America and Europe this spring.

The world of Wizardry is populated by colorful characters. And a few jerks.
The world of Wizardry is populated by colorful characters. And a few jerks.

Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls will be downloadable via the PlayStation Network later this spring. The game was originally released on the Japanese PSN storefront in December of 2009. It also received a Japanese retail release as part of the Wizardry Twin Pack earlier this year. That bundle included Labyrinth of Lost Souls as well as its sequel, Torawareshi Bourei no Machi. Both games were developed by Acquire, the Japanese studio best known in the West for its work on the Tenchu and Way of the Samurai series.

Like previous installments in the series, Labyrinth of Lost Souls will be a first-person, grid-based dungeon-crawling RPG. Players will form parties of up to six characters pulled from five races and eight classes in order to fend off more than 120 distinct monsters. Xseed is also touting the game's "hand-drawn" characters and sprites, created by Yuki Hayabusa.

Although Japanese companies like Acquire, Taito, and Atlus have kept the series alive for the last decade with Japan-exclusive installments, Wizardry is a seminal Western RPG franchise. Originally developed for the Apple II by Sir-Tech, Wizardry was one of the first games to have players exploring gridlike dungeons from a first-person perspective and doing battle with detailed (but static) images of monsters.

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