Paradox Interactive's popular game of wizards and friendly fire will get a MOBA-focused spin-off.
Magicka was a fairly unique game, all things considered. It was a tongue-in-cheek parody of fantasy tropes that never took itself seriously, yet concealed an impressively-crafted action-RPG experience. Its complex magic system made you feel like a wizard among men for destroying enemy waves, yet you could still laugh with your friends when one wrong button made a spell blow up in your face. Combined with co-op based multiplayer and a steady stream of DLC, Magicka quickly became one of Paradox Interactive's biggest titles. Now Paradox's online branch, Paradox North, has revealed that a spin-off MOBA game is underway. Magicka: Wizard Wars will expand the original's multiplayer to better support PvP gameplay while maintaining the humor and disastrously miscast spells of the original.
"Magicka has always allowed for some unique gameplay and, with Wizard Wars, we've really captured the true experience of PvP wizardry," said Paradox North's John Hargelid. "When you put the team-focused, hardcore competition of online games together with characters whose attacks are fluid and dynamic - and then give teammates the ability to implode, freeze, and fling each other by accident - it's really something special to watch, and to play, and to yell at your friends about afterwards."
Paradox North doesn't have any footage to share just yet, save for a Game of Thrones-inspired live-action trailer that introduces the concept. That said, original Magicka players should have a pretty good idea of what gameplay to expect. Magicka was always geared towards multiplayer experiences, since group members could easily resurrect the fallen when a Thunderstorm or Meteor Strike wiped out half the team. Wizard Wars will simply shift that focus away from co-op to a more robust PvP experience. The game's description also emphasizes "sandbox action", leading me to believe that arena maps will be far larger than those from Magicka.
As a MOBA, Wizard Wars will include persistent character progression, allowing players to personalize wizards with hundreds of unique items. That feature alone could be a strong hint for free-to-play support, considering the custom hats and weapons visible in the trailer. Only time will tell, but since Magicka managed to sell millions of copies worldwide, I imagine Wizard Wars will be a huge success either way.