Wizardry 4: The Return of Werdna
Wizardry 4: The Return of Werdna , originally also Wizardry: The Return of Werdna - The Fourth Scenario , is a computer role-playing game released by Sir-Tech in 1987. It is the fourth installment in the Wizardry series and the sequel to Wizardry 3 : Legacy of Llylgamyn . At the same time, it is the last part for which series creators Andrew C. Greenberg and Robert J. Woodhead were jointly responsible. Instead of controlling a group of heroes, the title puts the player in the role of the magician Werdna, the antagonist of the first part of Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord . The game came onto the market after years of delay and was considered one of the most difficult computer games.
Action and gameplay
Wizardry 4 follows on from the end of Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord . The malevolent Werdna returns to life. He wants to regain the amulet that the heroes took from him. But for this he has to climb up through the dungeon secured by Trebor's soldiers and gradually regain his old strength.
Also Wizardry 4 waits with the popular game system on the predecessor, significantly to the role-playing rules Dungeons & Dragons ajar variant. Instead of a group of heroes, the player controls the former boss Wredna, who comes to life again at the foot of the ten-level dungeon . He has to fight his way up to the top level, where he mainly has to fight against knights and hero characters who are supposed to prevent his breakout. On every level there are pentagrams that restore part of Wredna's power once per dungeon level, heal him and refresh his spells and summon monsters to support him.
The series creators Andrew C. Greenberg and Robert J. Woodhead handed the design of the game to Roe R. Adams III, a popular adventure specialist and magazine tester at the time. Together they had the aim of creating the hardest adventure to date. The publication was originally planned for 1984, compared to the magazine inCider it was stated in its November 1984 issue that the game would be available for Christmas. Sir-Tech listed the game including prices in 1985 in its product catalog, but an editor Scorpia of Computer Gaming World advised its readers in the January / February 1986 issue of the journal to be seen the actual publication and until then instead Ultima 4 or The Bard's Tale to play. In fact, the release was delayed until 1987, while the appearance of the game has not changed significantly compared to its predecessor during this time. In 1986, Robert Woodhead cited the porting of several unannounced Sir Tech projects to UCSD p systems as the reason for the delay . In 2014 he founded it with the development of a comprehensive new code base for the game, as well as intensive quality control in order to be able to guarantee an extremely challenging, but still fair game.
For the design of the fights, Sir-Tech asked the fans of the predecessors to send in their hero characters. Some of these heroes were then integrated into the game as opponents by the developers.
“If you haven't completed or at least extensively played any of the Wizardry scenarios (specifically Wizardry I), then don't even think of attempting this fourth scenario in the Wizardry series. This is an expert-level-only scenario. Two problems spoil an otherwise exciting adventure for a targeted audience group: copy protection and CGA-only graphics. What we do like are the complex plots, combat (as experienced from the other side of the fence), and one of the most unique plots ever programmed onto a floppy disk. "
“If you haven't played at least one of the Wizardry games (especially Wizardry I), you shouldn't even think about trying the fourth game in the Wizardry series. This is an expert game only. Two problems spoil the otherwise exciting adventure for the intended target group: the copy protection and the exclusive CGA graphics. What we like is the complex storyline, the fight (as experienced from the other side of the fence) and one of the most unique storylines ever programmed onto a floppy disk. "
The role-playing game specialist of the US magazine Computer Gaming World , Scorpia, also addressed the level of difficulty. She rated the game generally positively because it was “extremely fair and probably one of the best balanced games” of her career (“ Bottom line: Unique, and not to be missed! ” (German: “Bottom line: Unique and shouldn't be.”) miss")). At the same time, she stated that some of the best players - including herself - had been invited to the beta test and had also stumbled upon numerous puzzles without gentle hints. She criticized, among other things, the resurrection of defeated enemies after saving and the outdated graphics. It confirmed this judgment again in the 10/1993 issue.
In a 2014 interview, Robert Sirotek described the game as the title with the worst sales figures in the company's entire history. The level of difficulty quickly made it frustrating for the average player and therefore only interesting for a niche audience. The little changed technology also made it look out of date alongside the competing products, for example compared to The Bard's Tale (1985) by Interplay Entertainment . Robert Woodhead named Wizardry 4 next to Part 1 as his personal favorite part of the series.
While the release of Wizardry 4 was delayed by several years, Sir-Tech took the pitch of a computer role-playing game from David W. Bradley under contract and asked Bradley to adapt the game to the point that it could be released as part of the Wizardry series. Bradley finished this work in 1986. Since Wizardry 4 had been announced for some time, Bradley's game was held back by Sir-Tech for two years and only published in 1988 as Wizardry 5: Heart of the Maelstrom . Robert Woodhead left Sir-Tech in 1988 due to creative differences and went to Japan. After the premature end of his MMO project, he gave up his career as a game designer. Bradley became the new chief developer for Wizardry 6 and Wizardry 7 , which made significant changes to the original game system.
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