Today the studio is thrilled to announce the availability of Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord -- a 3D re-imagining of the classic dungeon-crawler that launched the immortal Wizardry series of role-playing games. This is Digital Eclipse's first early-access game, and that bold step comes with a lot of questions, for both us and our players. Hopefully this FAQ will address most concerns, but by all means, let us know what other questions you might have -- we will answer them as best we can!
What is Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord?
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord was one of the first computer role-playing games. Released in 1981 for the Apple II, it set a standard for the RPG genre, inspiring many other dungeon-crawlers in the decades that followed. The 2023 edition is an all-new remake by Digital Eclipse, running in the Unreal Engine, but based on the original Apple II code.
Why revisit this game?
While the first game's innovations were huge, those pioneering steps did take place more than 40 years ago. As a result, the first game in the Wizardry series has many barriers to entry. Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is Digital Eclipse's attempt to preserve the original gameplay (and the original difficulty) but present it with the rich graphics, streamlined controls, and other modern features that today's RPG players have come to expect. It's intended as both a restoration and a reimagining of the original Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, one that is built for modern gaming hardware and lets players experience a true classic in the most comfortable way possible.
Why is this being released via Early Access?
After two years in development, we're ready to share what we're working on with the community. We know there are devoted fans of this franchise worldwide, and it means something different to each of them. We want feedback from as many players as we can get, so we can incorporate as many improvements as possible before we bring this ambitious project to completion.
How much of the game will be functional during Early Access?
The entire core game is playable, though there will likely be some bugs. Additionally, some visual elements are not 100 percent complete. The team is still working on additional environment and object textures, audio elements, and character animations; some existing elements will be replaced or upgraded during development. Incomplete assets are marked with a special "yellow tools" icon to let you know they are still in active development.
Some elements may change or stop working during the development process. Save games, for instance, are something that could break between major updates, although we will make every effort to avoid this. During Early Access, Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord should be considered an early build that you can play before it's done, so you should expect and prepare for some inconveniences associated with a work in progress. If you would prefer not to encounter those elements, you may be more comfortable wishlisting the title and waiting until work is completed.
Will the price go up later?
Yes. As the team adds more content to the project, the price will increase. Anyone who has already bought the game during Early Access will receive that additional content at no additional fee; it will simply arrive in title updates and will not be packaged as optional downloadable content.
How long will the Early Access period last? What is the target ship date?
Based on current scope and resources, the dev team anticipates that Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord will be content-complete and leave Early Access before the end of 2024. However, this is far from a guaranteed commitment, as there are often unforeseen factors and various surprises that might lengthen the development process. As we navigate changes and obstacles, we will keep the community informed.
How frequently will the game be updated?
The team expects to add content to Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord about every two months until it is considered complete and officially ready to launch. Depending on the scope, some updates may take longer than two months to implement. You'll find the latest information on our development roadmap here.
What content is being added after Early Access?
In addition to replacing work-in-progress assets with updated ones, we plan to update other in-game graphical and audio elements. We will also explore adding text localization, a guide to in-game enemies, and other features we believe will benefit players.
How will you be incorporating player feedback and community suggestions?
Discussion forums at GOG and Steam make the most sense for us as a central hub for communication. Our players are already there, so we'd like to meet you where you play. Bug reports will be very much appreciated, with as much detail as you feel motivated to provide — we want to squash as many as we can, with your help. We will also try to incorporate any player suggestions for features and improvements, as long as they can be implemented within the scope and resources of the project. In other words, we're all ears for your hopes and dreams, but we'll need to see what's feasible, so let's keep talking.
Which games will be represented in this project?
The core experience is the original Wizardry game, Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord.
Which PC operating systems are supported?
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is intended to run under Windows and Steam OS.
Will this be certified to run on Steam Deck?
It's definitely a goal, but this is still to be determined. We know a lot of players would appreciate Steam Deck certification, but we may not be able to make this happen right away, due to the nature of this particular game. We'll keep you posted.
Which localized languages will be supported?
At the beginning of Early Access, only English will be supported, but we are hoping to add additional languages over the course of development.
Will there be a console release as well?
We don't have a definitive answer at this time, but we would not seriously discuss the possibility of a console release until the game is feature-complete and leaves Early Access.
Is this part of the Gold Master Series?
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is not currently part of the Gold Master Series, which is Digital Eclipse's line of interactive documentaries. Whereas GMS titles focus on giving historical context to classic games, our main goal with Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is to make the best updated version of this game possible. That said, we're always open to your feedback about which games and stories you'd like to see explored through the Gold Masters Series, so we can try to allocate resources accordingly.
As this project progresses, we'll update this FAQ with the latest information, so please check this page later for more updates. Thank you for your support!