With anticipation building for the long-in-development old-school dungeon crawler Grimoire, RPG Codex has penned an interview with the game's creator, Cleveland Blakemore, or "Cleve" as he's known in some circles. The interview is very extensive, given the game's history with the CRPG community, and has a lot of interesting information covering just about all aspects of the game.
For Grimoire, you take inspiration from Wizardry 6 and 7, but not Wizardry 8. What makes the former superior to the latter, in your view?
Wizardry 8 is a derivative work attempting to copy the superficial mechanics of the earlier two games. I believe it is soulless and empty compared to Bane of the Cosmic Forge and Crusaders of the Dark Savant. There is more atmosphere in the first city you enter in Wiz 7 than the entire game in Wizardry 8. An honest appraisal would conclude that the primitive 3D in Wizardry 8 is manifestly inferior to the hand crafted artwork of W6-W7 for atmosphere and immersion. The graphics in Wizardry 8 were not good 3D environments and they weren’t much for classic dungeon blobbers. Lands of Lore was infinitely superior and they made the same mistake, moving from a beautiful handcrafted appearance in the first game to a sterile, flat and unconvincing 3D engine with flat billboarded sprites in the sequel. I thought the first Lands of Lore looked like a Richard Corben graphic novel from beginning to end.
Grimoire has been in development for over 17 years. Have you stayed true to a singular vision throughout these years, or has it been altered in any way?
I imagined it this way at the outset and hoped it would turn out pretty much the way it has ended up. Sir-Tech would have never let me make this game. They would have had ten mediocre cooks spoiling this broth and it would taste so foul when it was finished nobody could stomach it. This game ended up being pure Cleve Blakemore from start to finish and when people play this game they will have a good idea of what is meant by “pure Cleve Blakemore.” There is plenty of absurdity in the game, lots of humor and the whole thing is meant to be good fun right up to the very end. I mix moments of cosmic horror with abject ridiculousness, terrifying revelations alongside baffling irreverence and some stuff that just never does make any logical sense, the same way I write on the internet. Like it or leave it this is my product and I am proud of it. If you don’t enjoy it then it is likely that you just don’t enjoy my kind of game.
If Legend of Grimrock didn't scratch your old-school itch, Grimoire just might do the trick for you. Cleve certainly is eccentric enough to leave a lasting impression.