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Witchbrook Dev Tweets Design Docs Revealing New Details on the Charming Magical School Sim

A rare look into the internal process of development as it happens.

This article first appeared on USgamer, a partner publication of VG247. Some content, such as this article, has been migrated to VG247 for posterity after USgamer's closure - but it has not been edited or further vetted by the VG247 team.

Those wondering what's next from Starbound and Wargroove developer Chucklefish can get a sneak peek today. Chucklefish CEO Finn Brice posted a design doc for Witchbrook, the studio's magical new game, to Twitter.

Brice notes that the design doc changes constantly and "shouldn't be seen as a confirmation of any features or even of the overall direction of the game." (They do warn about spoilers, however.) The reasoning behind it is Brice says he wants to expose the processes behind game development.

The 15-page doc is pretty extensive, and we don't need to dive into the whole thing here, but it opens with a succinct overview of Witchbrook, formerly known as Spellbound. "Taking the form of a top down / isometric RPG, Witchbrook takes place inside a fantastical magic school. The player takes on the role of a student attempting to graduate from the school whilst dealing with school life and discovering who they are." Okay, I'm already on board.

Through a number of activities and a constantly ticking calendar—including a day/night cycle where each hour is equivalent to two real-world minutes—the player aims to graduate and earn their Witching permit. Various quests given by Professors will help them unlock new magic and pass certification.

There's also dating, relationships, and a very interesting mechanic around hearts. While regular hearts might indicate a person's relationship and bond with the player, a stone heart represents enmity. This stone heart can break depending on certain variables, and doing so might have "surprising results." Stone hearts aren't always a bad thing, though, simply a representation of distance.

"To reflect Ann's nature as antisocial, her entire bar may start off as stone hearts," the design doc says. "However when the player manages to break all of these hearts, all of the hearts are instantly filled. Reflecting Ann's happiness at having connected with someone."

The full doc is on Google Docs, and it's a really fascinating read for anyone interested in Chucklefish or game design. While we finally have some info on Witchbrook, which at one point was just a series of unnamed stills called Spellbound, we're still waiting to hear more on Wayward Tide, Chucklefish's other ongoing project. The last tweet from the Wayward Tide account was a retweet of a PC Gamer article in 2015.

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