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Editorial Wizardry's Wild Ride from West to East: VentureBeat on the fate of the Wizardry IP

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Infinitron, May 8, 2013.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Tags: Reggie Carolipio; Sir-Tech; Wizardry

    Sir-Tech Software's Wizardry series was one of the first great Western CRPG franchises. After Sir-Tech's final collapse in 2003, the series disappeared in the West, but confusingly, Wizardry games continue to be released in Japan to this day. Over at VentureBeat, there's an excellent article attempting to sleuth out just what happened to the Wizardry IP. Here's what the author discovered:

    Though the Jagged Alliance rights found a home in 2002, Wizardry’s rights were still up in the air. That is until 2006 when the mystery company holding onto those rights finally offloaded Wizardry’s trademarks to an unexpected suitor. On November 28, 2006, Wizardry’s trademark and associated assets were signed over by Norman Sirotek to a Japanese company by the name of Kabushiki Kaisha Aeria IPM. Or, more simply, Aeria IPM.​

    In Japan, a Kabushiki Kaisha (or K.K.) is the equivalent of a stock company or a corporate entity over here. It’s also the most common form of company in Japan. For example, Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. is also referred to as Kabushiki Kaisha Konami Digital Entertainment.​

    Aeria IPM didn’t have a long history. It didn’t seem to exist at all until a month before it had apparently acquired the Wizardry rights, but half of that partnership, Aeria, had actually been around for a good while.​

    There’s not a lot of information on exactly who IPM is; although, the “Aeria” part would eventually be dropped in 2008. As to who Aeria was, a strangely isolated page dedicated to IPM seems to point to them as Aeria, Inc., one of the largest MMO game companies in Japan that is also known as Aeria Games. If the information is accurate, it also shows that Aeria IPM was formed a month before Wizardry’s rights were signed over. Aeria Inc. has been around since 2002 and, according to their history, founded Aeria Games & Entertainment in the United States in 2006.​

    In 2008, Gamepot became the majority stakeholder in IPM, changing the name of the company by simply dropping the “Aeria.” Gamepot had also become a wholly owned subsidiary of the So-Net Entertainment Corporation in the same year, a company that also happens to be a subsidiary of Sony. And in coming full circle, IPM would also be hearing back from their former bosses. Last year, Aeria Games and Gamepot announced a merger in December which brings parent company, Aeria Inc., back into the picture.​

    All through this, Wizardry continued to enjoy plenty of success in Japan well before the ink had dried between Norman Sirotek and Takahiro Shinozaki in 2006. While Wizardry has “eight” formal chapters, nearly double that (including Wizardry Online) have come out in Japan after Sirtech Canada closed in 2003. Sadly, aside from Wizardry Online, most of those would never make it back to the West in the way that Wizardry: Tales of the Forsaken Land for the PS2 did back in 2001.​

    IPM, Inc. is still holding onto Wizardry. It’s still referred to as the trademark holder, licensing Wizardry out to Gamepot, which you can see mentioned right at the bottom of Wizardry Online’s English homepage. In a very roundabout and indirect way, it’s also in Sony’s hands — as strange as that sounds. Not only is Sony backing Gamepot, but it’s also a part of Wizardry Online, too, which you can see prominently displayed on the same page.​

    There are still a number of questions without many answers — some of which might still be buried in an unclaimed storage unit somewhere in Ogdensburg, waiting to be discovered by an antiquities dealer just as a cache was found late last year and put up for auction on eBay (most of which eventually ended up mysteriously canceled). Or they may never be found, which leaves only rumors and speculation,such as that surrounding the whereabouts of the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery from Atari’s Swordquest series.​

    But, for now at least, that’s the end of Wizardry’s wild ride … and one of the strangest journeys of survival and success for a Western CRPG.​

    Thanks to evdk for inspiring me to find this article!
     
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  2. evdk comrade troglodyte :M Patron

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    You'll get a brofist just for being such a bastard :salute:
     
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  3. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator

    Jaesun
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    Interesting. I wonder how much he got for that?
     
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  4. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

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    Nice article!
     
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  5. Cosmic Misogynerd Self-Ejected Patron

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    Bummer. So there's no chance of GoG release of the Wizardry games? Or a Kickstarter revival? I want my western Wizardry! :x
     
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  6. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    How does that follow? If GOG make a deal with IPM, it can happen.
     
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  7. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    Was for the best, japs kept releasing tradicional Wizardry games and kept the genre alive, while if the IP stayed in the west it would probably be a series of third-person action-RPGs made by Bethesda or something similar...
     
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  8. Cosmic Misogynerd Self-Ejected Patron

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    [​IMG]

    Indeed. Traditional Wizardrys. :lol:
     
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  9. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    Yet it plays like this:
    [​IMG]

    But nooooo, let's praise The Twitcher, because it has grimdark artstyle and boobs! Forget about QTE and roll-to-win popamole action-rpg, IT'S SO MATURE!!!!111

    Seriously, japs may add anime style and 14-old girls to eveything, but at least they don't at like they are doing it from a moraliy superior ground, as if puberscent high-fantasy was extremely mature and monocled...
     
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  10. evdk comrade troglodyte :M Patron

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    Good that I don't give a fuck about typical manga bullshit, so I can enjoy games like Etrian Odyssey and such in peace instead of foaming at the mouth at the mere glimpse of the lolis.
     
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  11. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Who is that on the right? Unicorn Harry Potter?
     
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  12. theSavant Self-Ejected

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    Yeah... we'll never see a decent Wizardry again. Now one can only hope the new Might&Magic X may evolve into a series which may come close to what Wizardry had to offer...
     
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  13. evdk comrade troglodyte :M Patron

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    This "fucking jap art" thing is doubly hilarious when you remember that the Wizardries are full of furries.
     
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  14. Cosmic Misogynerd Self-Ejected Patron

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    Wizardry furries > fucking jap art :volourn:
     
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  15. Mrowak Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Yet because they do that with EVERYTHING, it warrants some major flack. And to be honest, although I am not TW fanboy, as far as RPGs go there isn't really any more mature game around (in the sense - it is issue-heavy).

    As if this particular playstyle visualised in this screenshot screenshit was by definition uber-monocled paradise, as opposed to spastic exercise in repetitive grind. :troll:

    But that's all beside the point. Joking aside the true issue I'd like to rise is that comparisons in the vein of A is shit, whereas B is teh rad with general statements (as in this case) is just so simplistic and reeking of self-delusion.
     
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  16. Cosmic Misogynerd Self-Ejected Patron

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    Gotta love your strawman. I didn't like Twitcher eithet tho, but that's besides the point. I don't consider lolli imaginery and anime style a Wizardry feature, but that's just me. I'm willing to accept that maybe I'm missing some passable games because I can't stand that style.

    That doesn't make it (Jap Wizardry style) any less awful.
     
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  17. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

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    Japanese Wizardries are mighty fine.

    Now if only there was someone out there willing to translate them all... That would keep me occupied for years to come even if there were no Kickstarter RPGs around.
     
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  18. evdk comrade troglodyte :M Patron

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    Actually it does, because at least the gameplay is good.

    Wouldn't a person with your proclivities actually benefit hugely from learning some basic moonspeak?
     
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  19. mondblut Arcane

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    So basically back in 1998 the Siroteks have sold Wizardry to themselves under a different business name to dodge whatever ligitations were pestering Sir-Tech Co? How is that even legal?
     
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  20. Mrowak Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I don't think basic moonspeak is enough. The problem is reading the damn thing - grammar + kanji = exercise in frustration. It's certainly not "half a year" project for someone with basic Japanese, unless you are a really gifted polyglot with tremendous amounts of time.
     
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  21. Cosmic Misogynerd Self-Ejected Patron

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    I'm talking about the art style. Like I said, maybe the games could be (in theory) good.
     
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  22. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

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    Yeah, is not that easy, I've been studying japanese for 6 months now, but I still can't even understand Pokémon, and that's a children game with no Kanji... :(
     
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  23. St Antony of Padua Savant

    St Antony of Padua
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    Fuck, who cares about the Wizardry IP when you can have an ubermensch blobber with "600+" hours of superior gameplay! However, it will probably take as much time as Wizardry finding its way back home....
     
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  24. Cosmic Misogynerd Self-Ejected Patron

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    Now reading about the convoluted process Sirotek did to bypass the Greenberg litigation, and what happened to the Stones of Arnhem auction and what Cleve told us, the possibility of a proper (a.k.a. Western) Wizardry 9 and the "legal" non-abandonia option to get the previous games seems impossible.
     
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  25. Mrowak Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    :salute:

    I've been studying for two years now (with RL induced breaks), passed N4 exam, preparing to take on N3 (though most likely in December) AND STILL feel like a baka gaijin when I have to read a piece from any teenage Japanese game. :(
     
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