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Matt Chat 450: Winston Douglas Wood on Phantasie III, Star Command and Phantasie IV

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Matt Chat 450: Winston Douglas Wood on Phantasie III, Star Command and Phantasie IV

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 11 May 2020, 01:29:25

Tags: Matt Barton; Phantasie III: The Wrath of Nikademus; Phantasie IV: The Birth of Heroes; Star Command; StarCraft Inc.; Strategic Simulations, Inc.; Winston Douglas Wood

The third episode of Matt Barton's interview with Winston Douglas Wood begins with what turns out to be a fairly brief discussion of Phantasie III: The Wrath of Nikademus. The final game in the original trilogy included various new gameplay mechanics such as the ability to position characters in combat and a limb loss system inspired by RuneQuest. Winston approves of the former feature but isn't as sure about the latter, which he implies may have been more complex than it was worth. The interview quickly moves on to Star Command, a game that Winston is proud of but which suffered commercially due to the poor quality of its ports to the Amiga and Atari and the complete lack of a C64 port. He also recounts how three days before the game was released, he learned that somebody from SSI had changed all of its weapons, ruining his cousin's carefully playtested balance.


After Star Command, Winston was finally invited to SSI's headquarters to meet with representatives from a Japanese company named StarCraft Inc who wanted to hire him to create what would become the Japan-exclusive Phantasie IV: The Birth of Heroes. In reality, he simply designed the game on paper and they did everything else. Remarkably, he's never actually played it, although he has watched playthroughs on YouTube. They do appear to have implemented the new features Winston designed, including an innovative character creation system where players could select their characters' parents, intended to allow them to continue the legacy of their characters from the original trilogy. Indeed, his experience with StarCraft was positive enough that he agreed to make another game with them called Starfire a few years later, which is the topic of the interview's next episode.

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