Have you ever wondered why one game from the Wizardry-series is lacking from the C-64?
Well I did, and it led me to a little research in that area. After checking release dates it seems that the Wizardry-series was released later than I thought on the C-64 – Wizardry was made in 1987, while Wizardry II, III and V was made in 1988/89. I have always found it odd that the funniest (and hardest!) part of the series have gone missing. In Wizardry IV you play the evil wizard Werdna, breaking out of his dungeon prison, battling bands of heroes on the way up, summoning an army of monsters to help you on the way…
Said and done – I reckoned the easiest way to do it was to contact one of the authors, Robert Woodward:
My email to Robert:
I saw a post from you in a forum some time ago and would like you to clear up a couple of matters, as you are one of the originators of the Wizardry series.
As a proud owner and a dedicated player of the first three Wizardry’s, I have always wondered why ‘Wizardry IV – The Return of Werdna’ never showed up on the C-64 when Wizardry V did? As far as I understood it from your post at /., you had developed Pascal interpreters for the C64 aswell? I furthermore read that the game was programmed and compiled on a NEC 9801 – was there a problem in making the compiled game running on the C-64 or were there other circumstances preventing the release?”
Robert Woodward’s answer:
“You know, I have no positive recollection why it didn’t happen, but one possibility was simply that ROW was too big to fit on the C64 floppy discs.”
Ok, Robert’s answer wasn’t exactly the most enlightening one, so I hunted on for Werdna himself – Andrew Greenberg. Andrew pointed me in the direction of the guy who made the conversion for the answer – Anton Treuenfels. After some googling, I found the answer i’ve been looking for all the time, posted by Anton Treuenfels himself on the MobyGames Developer BIO:
In 1987 Anton Treuenfels spent six months in lovely Ithaca, NY helping port “Wizardry 1: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord” to the Commodore 64 platform. Having done the hard part (coding a UCSD p-code interpreter), he subsequently helped port “Wizardry 2: Knight of Diamonds”, “Wizardry 3: Legacy of Llylgamn” and “Wizardry 5: Heart of the Maelstrom” to C64 in relatively short order in 1988.
Although technically no more difficult than the others, “Wizardry 4: Return of Werdna” was never ported to the C64 by decision of Sir-Tech Software after poor sales on other platforms.
And that’s the end of the story. Not so sad, but a rather interesting conclusion – poor sales was to blame.
Case closed before it even begins!…
Contributions: Robert Woodward, Andrew Greenberg