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Translation of a Japanese interview with Robert Woodhead
Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Sun 10 July 2016, 18:03:40Tags: Robert J. Woodhead; Wizardry; Wizardry IV: The Return of Werdna
Esteeemed community member Helly informs us that he stumbled across a Japanese interview with SirTech co-founder and Wizardry co-creator Robert "Trebor" Woodhead - and decided to translate it for the unwashed Codex masses. In the interview, Robert Woodhead discusses anime and his company AnimEigo, but also the Wizardry series.
Helly posted the full interview in a thread in General RPG Discussion, but here are some Wizardry-related snippets:
Woodhead: Yes, it was supposed to be the Necronomicon. 95% of Wizardry's n°4's scenario was written by Roe Adams, the ARABIC DIARY was his idea too. I read H.P.Lovecraft's works too, so I knew it was the Necronomicon. [...]
4Gamer: In the late 80's, there was a plan to make player character data from the software production house BPS's RPGs※ and SIR-TECH's Wizardry series convertible. I remember reading about it at the time in a PC magazine. What happened to that project?
※"Black onyx" and "Fire crystal", amongst others.
Woodhead: It probably happened while I was working on the Macintosh version of Wizardry, but...I vaguely remember BPS's Henk Rogers' name. I think it's just that it never actually happened.
4Gamer: I see... Ah, I'm sorry, I keep asking questions that kept me intrigued for a while.
Woodhead: No problem. You know, as most games, Wizardry is nothing but a ring in the chain that bind all games together. Games are influenced by their predecessors and cultural events, and Wizardry was no exception. And now, it is Wizardry's turn to influence the work of others. It really does feel like being part of a big chain.
4Gamer: Oh yes indeed. The "ring" that Wizardry created in Japan is quite noticeable. I don't think I would be exaggerating saying that many games, anime and novels are directly influenced by the Wizardry series.
Woodhead: It's an honor. But I do think we were lucky more than anything else. And I do think most of the thanks are due to the localization For Tune and GameStudio as well as Asuki's staffs. I especially think that the Famicon release was our best version of Wizardry. At the very least it didn't contain my badly drawn pictures! (bitter laugh)
4Gamer: When I replay the Apple II version now, I see how Wizardry was born from a melting pot of various influencing works. The character's jobs and races, the monsters, the pictures and text messages. But what did you accomplish with Wizardry that you feel was entirely original?
Woodhead: Well...the presence of a scenario, I think. Older Computer RPGs didn't have a defined goal and were not made with an end goal in mind. We added a scenario with puzzle-like components to our game. That's the thing that make it different from the other titles, I think. The n°4 of the series was the more representative of what we aimed to do.
4Gamer: You added a scenario to the fusion of a net game, Oubliette, and a tabletop game, D&D, on the Apple II, is that it?
Woodhead: Yes, we were really thinking about how to better represent them in that little box. Also, our puzzle-ridden n°4 was made using a faster machine, the PC-9801, thanks to our Japanese staff. They installed a Pascal development environment/operating system and so we were able to work with a "Fast Apple II".
It's interesting, and pretty cool, to hear that he considers Wizardry IV to be the most representative of what the series originally tried to achieve. As mentioned, you can read the full interview translation on our forums.
I'd also like to use this opportunity to remind you that we interviewed Robert Woodhead ourselves a few years ago, so check that interview out too if you missed it.