Inkle’s Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! ($4.99) is a fantastic series, but it has unfortunately reached its end with the release of the fourth and final installment. With the series concluded, the developers talked about how the series came about, the many challenges they faced along the way, and much more. The story begins five years ago when the developers sat down with Steve Jackson to talk about bringing the famous gamebook to life on an iPad in the form of an “inklebook," the choice-driven story game we’ve become so accustomed to during the series. The retrospective is quite interesting for anyone who’s enjoyed the games and anyone who’s interested in what it takes to port a physical game or book to the digital world.
The story goes over what went right first, talking about how the positive response from the Sorcery! fans allowed them to start taking bigger and bigger risks, how the decision to turn the game into a map helped players visualize their progress and their journey, and much more. There’s also talk about how turning the game into four games rather than one with unlockable episodes helped make the later episodes feel like bigger and better adventures rather than just more of the same.
At the same time, not all went well. The visual style never came together the way they’d imagined it, spellcasting never felt that natural, some of the choices felt a bit out of place in terms of UI flow, and the combat text generator didn’t provide very interesting and context-sensitive text, despite the fact that it worked well overall. If you want to hear even more about the making of the game – with more details on the personal side of making the series – check out this podcast episode. Great series, and I can’t wait to see what else Inkle will develop in the future.