Stardew Valley publisher's "Spellbound" is a magical school sim
Stardew Valley publisher Chucklefish is already working on its next major game, Wargroove. But another, much more ambitious project is in development at the moment, and its working title is Spellbound.
Chucklefish CEO Finn "Tiyuri" Brice teased Spellbound earlier this year, showing off a screenshot from the game's world. The title is a magical school life simulator, inspired both by Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley. Brice talked a bit about Spellbound's future in an interview with PCGamer.
"I think the biggest thing we learned from Stardew Valley is that there's an inherent value in [having] a game world that's just charming to be in," Brice said. "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, [that] I just want to spend my time in?"
Brice explained that the game's combat system is partly inspired by the original Legend of Zelda games, so expect a 2D top-down real-time battle system at the moment. There's a huge emphasis on worldbuilding in Spellbound, too, with both an enormous magical world to explore as well as an "entire cast of characters" with their own unique personalities to meet.
But Brice isn't trying to create a high fantasy story, or one with an overarching major villain to fight, like Harry Potter. Spellbound is more of a fantastical slice-of-life simulator. For that reason, dating will be much harder in Spellbound than in Stardew Valley. Expect some awkward and embarrassing moments to play out. So get ready to experience those traumatic teenage years all over again.
"Where other games are inviting you to live out your perfect fantasy in that you can date whoever you want, you can get married to whoever you want and it's up to you, Spellbound is a little less forgiving," Brice said. "Dates can go wrong, things can go wrong, it's more about that school experience. You might get a few hard knocks."
Spellbound is a multi-year project, clocking in around three to four in total development time, and the game's official announcement is still far away. So don't expect an immediate release date in the near future. But for now, Stardew Valley is headed to Nintendo Switch later this month, meaning there's plenty of time to spend in one of Chucklefish's most iconic game worlds before Spellbound hits.