Steve Jackson (not the designer of Munchkin card games, sorry) started out writing an adventure gamebook for Penguin back in 1983. As it’s coming up on the 30th anniversary of his four-book Sorcery! series, Jackson decided to bring the proto-RPG to the modern age by teaming up with development studio Inkle and releasing four new iOS gamebook apps for iPhone and iPad.
Inkle got rave reviews for interactive storybook, Frankenstein, when it released this past April. Seems like a pretty good fit for an adventure gamebook, which is like a cross between a Choose Your Own Adventure and old school Dungeons and Dragons, with branching path fiction, character creation, and rolling dice to decide who wins combat.
The new adaptation of Sorcery! will be extensively expanded, letting you explore the fictional world visually, instead of just reading it. You’ll be able to visit each location, talk to different characters, and fight monsters and escape traps.
The dice rolling mechanic will be replaced with a new combat system, which the developer says will allow for much more strategy before and during monster fights. There’s also a planned spell-casting system made to work well on touch screens, with fifty spells to learn.
Steve Jackson says:
The Sorcery! gamebook series was an epic project which took up a significant portion of my life between 1983-1985. I have always wanted it to be brought up to date with 21st Century technology. But only with the right developer. In entrusting Sorcery!’s digital future to inkle I am confident they will not only be able to convert the originally adventure faithfully to digital formats but also that they will take it beyond the original into new realms. Those who have seen their re-working of the Frankenstein story will know what I mean. This is not just a straight translation of the original books to iOS. This will be a brand new Sorcery! experience.”
The Shamuntanti Hills, the first installment of the series, is expected to release in March of next year, while the second volume, Karé: Cityport of Traps coming shortly thereafter.