If you've been at all keeping up with Chucklefish, then you're likely already familiar with the general theme of their products. Starbound, Stardew Valley, Wanderlust – each has enveloped the player in a whimsical adventure amidst bright colors and happy feelings, and despite not being on the cutting edge of graphical fidelity, they've all enjoyed a relatively high level of popularity in the gaming scene. Lately Chucklefish has been teasing its next project, a magic school-set RPG that fans have already begun affectionately referring to as Spellbound, and while few details have been leaked yet, a recent interview has shed some added light onto the title.
According to an article from PCGamer, the idea for Spellbound actually came up during the development process for one of the studio's other titles. Rosie Ball, Chucklefish designer, said that the idea of a magic school really resonated with the development team while they worked on Wargroove. “What surprised us most was that even though this idea was pitched as a long project, the idea of a magic school game drew everyone in and got people excited. It felt like the right time for both ideas, so we decided to do both!”
The interview goes on to talk about how Chucklefish's experience – particularly that with the wildly popular Stardew Valley – has affected the development of Spellbound. CEO Finn Brice commented that the tone and charm of Stardew played a huge role in drawing in players, and that the team intends to utilize that appeal in this new title. “With this project we've taken that idea of simply falling in love with a game world and gone all in.”
In response to much of the speculation about the game's inspiration, artist Abi Cooke Hunt stated that Spellbound has been influenced by a variety of magical settings, rather than just one. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter is the first to come up of course, as do the animated works of Studio Ghibli and Garth Nix's Old Kingdom. “Ghibli's work plays a particular role in the visuals we're working to create for the game.”
Contrary to the popular belief, work on Spellbound began way before the popular animated show Little Witch Academia hit pop culture – though Hunt admits that the show has become “very popular” with the rest of his team.
Although the studio's been hard at work on the game for over a year now, Brice claimed that Chucklefish is “still a little away from an official announcement,” with no concrete release date yet set. Even Spellbound's name, while popular among fans and developers alike, is regarded as an impermanent fixture.
For more information about Spellbound or any of the studio's other works, feel free to follow the developers over the official Chucklefish Twitter account, or visit the team's website for access to community forums, news updates, and more.