Update: Developer Chucklefish has officially changed the name from ‘Spellbound’ to ‘Witchbrook’. Changes have been made in the original article to reflect this.
The largely successful dev team behind the acclaimed Starbound (as well as being the publisher for the even more wildly popular Stardew Valley) has another gorgeous game that sees to crossover into the world of magic and witches and wizards and warlocks.
In Witchbrook, players are set in a wizarding school of sorts, with the look and feel of Stardew Valley and the art style of Starbound.
Somewhat recently, Chucklefish CEO Finn Brice had a sit down with PC Gamer and spoke about what influenced and impacted the design and direction for Witchbrook.
“There’s a whole mixture of them. The most obvious ones were Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley, there’s a lot we learned from that. I think the biggest thing we learned from Stardew Valley is that there’s an inherent value in a game world that’s just charming to be in. Before you even start talking about the gameplay and the mechanics and everything else, am I in love with this game world? How do I achieve that? How do I put together a game world that really hits home, I just want to spend my time in?”
You can read the full interview with PCG here, but to sum it up, Brice says that while the game is still in early development, the combat system is heavily influenced by earlier 2D Zelda titles, hence the top-down combat style.
The world of Witchbrook is one that is clearly going to have a very in-depth experience with simulations with dating other characters in addition to casting spells and exploring. The whole idea with this game is that it wants to allow the player to find their own way while not containing any sort of really linear story. The playable areas are vast and open and largely encouraging the player to do whatever they want. There will be missions and quests and the like, but you really are simply creating your own journey.
“We have an entire game world, and in fact the entire game world minus a couple of areas is entirely explorable, and you can move around it. We have our entire cast of characters. We know far too much about all of their personalities.”
“We know about the larger, overarching world stuff,” says Brice. “That said, it’s not really a game about that. It’s not trying to be high fantasy, it’s not trying to tell a particularly dramatic story. It’s in that Harvest Moon/Stardew Valley vein of, here’s a world, enjoy being in it, learn something from it, maybe make it your own a bit. But we know all of the surrounding lore now, more or less.”
SDV still in testing, no news yet. Thought this sneak peak might tide you over. We've learned a lot of lessons from working with Stardew. pic.twitter.com/EcabZ8DGb7
— Tiy (@Tiyuri) August 31, 2017
A library :) pic.twitter.com/VHLbWWnFB8
— Tiy (@Tiyuri) October 6, 2017
— Tiy (@Tiyuri) September 19, 2017
Witchbrook is not yet confirmed for any particular platform, but it is likely to hit PC at the very least and then possibly consoles. More details will come and you can follow Finn Brice @Tiyuri for more information regarding the future for both Starbound and Stardew as well as the aforementioned Witchbrook.