As the president and founder of the probably-no-longer-alive Harry Potter club of my high school, nothing has made me happier than seeing the news of Chucklefish's in-development magic school sim. The untitled game is largely inspired by the experience players had with Stardew Valley, the farming simulation that took the world by storm last year unexpectedly, a game that Chucklefish themselves published.
What we know so far of the magic school sim is little, but in a recent interview with PC Gamer, more details (and new screenshots) have come to life about the endearing game. Currently post-Starbound, the Chucklefish team is working on two games simultaneously: the Advance Wars-inspired Wargroove, and this untitled magic school sim. Despite early Little Witch Academia comparisons, the Chucklefish team insist they didn't know about the cute anime from beloved animation studio Trigger until deep into development. Yet now, it's popular within the team.
Instead, their inspirations are spread far and wide, from the obvious of Harry Potter to the less obvious of "Studio Ghibli’s rendition of Kiki’s Delivery Service, Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series and Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books," artist Abi Cooke Hunt told PC Gamer. "Ghibli's work plays a particular role in the visuals we're working to create for the game. The environments of Studio Ghibli films are so captivating and charming—we want our players to enjoy this world in that same way."
In terms of progression, players can expect a deep system, similar to Stardew Valley's many layers and available activities. "A school operates very differently to a town," producer Rosie Ball told the site. "We’re working hard to include what we think are the essential elements of a school simulation while remaining within a familiar format that existing fans of the genre will be able to jump straight into. It’s important to us that the game captures the nostalgia of school life as much as possible. Expect memorable moments drawn from our own experience that we think players will relate to. On top of that, we’re diving head first into the fantasy of what’s only possible in a magical school."
While internally the name tossed around is Spellbound, the Chucklefish team noted that they have not settled on a firm name yet. Originally, the now-titled Wargroove was once called Warbound. "Project Spellbound" remains in early development, but we'll remain keeping a close eye on news about the game.