Wizardry followed the marketing scheme of D&D very closely originally. Parts 2 and 3, although sold as standalone games at regular price, were only playable for veterans of the first one, as they contained no character generation, but only allowed importing victorious heroes. Only owners of the base set were allowed in. After a prolonged break, one could imagine that Sir-Tech may have gone soft and allowed new players a chance at entering this world… unless the big red warnings prominently placed on the box were to be taken seriously, of course.
Well met traveller! Come closer to the fire and warm your frozen bones a little before you continue the journey through those icy planes. While we are waiting for the clouds to clear up, let me tell you a story about a golden age… a golden age of role playing.
You know there was this game called Dungeons&Dragons, which was to many the epitome of pen&paper role playing. Don’t worry if it means nothing to you, the only thing you actually need to know right now is that it is a very nerdy yet strangely compelling way to waste a couple of hours with some friends while pretending, that is imagining, to crawl around the eponymous structures in search of the hoard of said lizards.
In the history of CRPGs, the Wizardry series should give every old school gamer a chill of ecstasy. The series began already in the early 80s and ended only in 2001 with Wizardry 8: Destination Dominus, but under licence, it has multiple further spin-offs. like Wizardry Online, primarily in Japan until the year 2012. An icon of game design called D. W. Bradley created the huge worlds of Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstorm (1988), Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge (1990) and finally Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant (1992) for the company Sir-Tech before jumping ship and founding his own software company. D. W. Bradley even surpassed himself and created the (in my view) only legitimate successor to Wizardry 7, namely Wizards and Warriors, already one year before Wizardry 8.