Wizardry V: Dialogue

Well, I’ve found the plot. In the north of dungeon level 1, there’s a temple full of mad priests, some of whom attack you, but the head priest is willing to parlay. He tells you about the bad guy du jour and his his plan to unleash massive destructive forces. Ho hum. I suspect that this is connected to the cataclysms in Wizardry III (which, remember, didn’t go entirely resolved in that game), but I haven’t seen this stated explicitly.

The reason I’m devoting an entire post to this dialogue is that it’s interactive. That’s a first for the series — we’ve had riddles before, but not conversations. It’s essentially what IF fans call an ask/tell system: you type in topics to ask the priest about, in the hope that they’re in his dialogue table. From other games, I know this is a system prone to problems. It’s all too easy to author the content in such a way that essential information is either easily missed, locked behind topics that the player doesn’t guess, or accessible out of sequence, easily-guessed topics referencing things you haven’t been told yet. But we’ll see.

I suppose it’s a case of Wizardry expanding its ludic vocabulary and experimenting with what Wizardry can be, but it feels fairly mild in that regard. Wizardry IV was all a grand experiment, twisting both form and content in unanticipated directions. Key-word dialogue is new territory for Wizardry, but it’s already well-trodden ground. Ultima had been using it for ages by this point.

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