Sir-Tech - All News
Tuesday - July 12, 2016
Sir-Tech - Wizardry Interview
4Gamer has an interview with Sir-Tech's Robert Woodhead, discussing Wizardry and rambling across many topics.
There's an interview with Sir-tech co-founder Robert Woodhead up on 4Gamer, and while the entire feature is in Japanese, the folks over at RPG Codex took the time to translate it in its entirety. The article spans a number of topics, but the questions and answers dealing with the early days of the Wizardry series are the most applicable to us here. A healthy sampling to follow:4Gamer: What about the Murasama Blade and the Shuriken? Ninjas and Samurais appear as jobs in Oubliette too, but only Wizardry had actual japanese weaponry.
※The original Apple II version of Wizardry 1 had Murasama instead of Muramasa.
Woodhead: Ah, no, this is the influence of James Clavell's Shogun (1975). The Murasama Blade and Shuriken came from that novel too.
4Gamer: And what about Wizardry #4 - The Return of Werdna's ARABIC DIARY(TALES OF MADNESS)? It became Necronomicon in the console game version, was it what it was supposed to be?
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: I know a big part of the influence is D&D, but there is also some influence from J.R.R.Tolkien. In 1977 the NBC TV released the Hobbit's adventure anime. It was made by future studio Ghibli staff and was top of the line.
Woodhead: I didn't know about that anime. I read Tolkien's novels, obviously, but the principal influence is clearly D&D.
4Gamer: I thought Wizardry's unique spell lingo was similar to Tolkien's fictional languages though.
Woodhead: Ah, that's impossible (laugh). It's actually fake welsh, we chose that because it sounded good. Why welsh especially?...I totally forgot (laugh).
4Gamer: There is one word that I'd like to know more about: the Maelfic monster's name, where does it come from? In the Famicon version it uses the Pazuzu image, but...
Woodhead: It comes from the English word "malefic", meaning "Extremely evil". Like an embodiment of evil. It came from the witch's name in the Sleeping beauty fairy tale, Maleficent.
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.
Wednesday - April 16, 2014
Matt Chatt - Brenda Romero Interview #4
Matt continues his interview with Brenda Romero this time talking about sexism in the Gaming Industry. This should be the last part of his interview.
In this episode, Brenda Romero, the Gloria Steinem of the games industry, zeroes in on the key problems facing women gamers and developers: sexism, sexism, and more sexism. Booth babes, chain mail bikinis, and lack of healthy avatar options are all just symptoms of a much broader problem.
Warning: I've done my best to censor out the adult language in this episode, but my apologies if any managed to slip through.
Monday - April 07, 2014
Matt Chatt - Brenda Romero Interview, Part 3
Matt continues his series of interviews with Brenda Romero, talking about sex and violence. Two words that always do well in selling games. These topics are covered in such games as Dungeons & Dragons Heroes and Playboy: The Mansion.
Monday - March 31, 2014
Sir-Tech - Brenda Romero Interview, part 2
Matt Barton continues his interview with Brenda Romero on Wizardry 5 & 8, Jagged Alliance 2 and more.
Monday - March 24, 2014
Matt Chatt - Brenda Romero Interview
Matt Barton interviews Brenda Romero about her early days at Sir-Tech, programming the C-64, her favorite arcade game, Tron, and how she ended up running the Wizardry hotline.
Tuesday - December 21, 2010
Sir-Tech - The Roots of CRPGs @ Bitmob
A space-based wargame, Galactic Attack, was the next project, said to have been dreamt up during the drive back home from the show (though a vague Wikipedia entry doubts this story by saying that it was adapted from another early PC game: 1973's Empire). After convincing Fred Sirotek, Sr. to part with the capital to get the project started, Infotree completed Galactic Attack and sold enough to fund the next one -- and the company that would bring it to the world: Sir-tech. It was a game that Woodhead had been playing at Cornell with fellow student Andrew Greenberg: Dungeons of Despair.
Wednesday - June 27, 2007
Sir-Tech - Long running legal battles
This is an unusual newsbit...I'm not sure what you will make of it but I guess it casts some small illumination on the business end of game making, even back in the day. Lucky Day wrote in to point out a lawsuit by Andrew Greenberg against Sir-Tech, stretching back over 13 years to this judgment in 2005. The source is a summary on Cornell Law School's site but it's rather complex, so I'll use Lucky Day's email:
I'm not a lawyer but this appears to be a summary of a second appeal of Andrew Greenberg vs Sir-Tech .
Greenberg is the real life Werdna in the Wizardy series.
According to this summary Greenberg licensed to Sir-Tech in 1981 his 1979 Wizardry game on it and was to receive any and all royalties for related products.
In 1991, Sir-Tech collapsed then transferred its assets to Sir-Tech, Canada. However, they apparently decided that they didn't have to pay Greenberg his royalties.
It was in 1992 that Greenberg discovered they left the country so he filed suit in the state of New York.
Sir-Tech Canada argued that they lacked jurisdiction but Greenberg pointed out that Wizardry products were being sold in the State and that Sir-Tech Canada bought the sirtech.com domain from they former parent company Sir-Tech Sftware, Inc., a New York company.
He won the lawsuit but Sir-Tech appealed and somehow they won. The court stated that Greenberg failed to even raise the the legal violation that he originally sued them over (cplr 302 a, etc.)
Not to be undaunted, Greenberg appealed that decision with quite a bit of evidence. This article shows the results of that decision in Greenberg's favor in 2005..13 years after it began and 3.5 years since the last North American Wizardry release. According to Wikipedia, there has been 15 Wizardry products released in Japan since.