It's been an open secret for quite some time that Stardew Valley publisher Chucklefish has a new magical school sim game up its sleeve called Spellbound. And in a new feature story with Red Bull Games, Chucklefish CEO Finn Brice explored some of the game's upcoming features and discussed whether it will come to Nintendo Switch.
In the report, Brice said Spellbound was an idea that several people at the company considered bringing to life for quite some time. He also discussed how the Harry Potter franchise inspired the indie team to "explore our own path through magical school life," even though Spellbound's magical world functions very differently from J.K. Rowling's series.
"Spellbound is our exploration of that premise, but the magical world we're creating is very unlike Hogwarts," Brice said to Red Bull Games. "Magic in this world is very practical, taking inspiration from Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series, Garth Nix's Old Kingdom Series, Studio Ghibli animations, and even the cartoon show Steven Universe at times."
Spellbound is largely intended to be a wizarding school sim, which means the game will revolve around players' adventures through their studies, from learning magic to building social relationships with others. Players will undergo "school projects" across various magical arts to improve their abilities, and assignments range from growing magical crops to fighting against dangerous creatures.
But alongside class studies, players will spend time hanging out with friends, going to school meetings, and even going on dates—which, Brice stressed, won't be as simple as romancing a classmate and enjoying the ride.
"We're expecting players to be a little shocked the first time they get dumped," Brice said. "We're attempting to portray a gameworld in which the characters have their own motivations and desires. We want the player to feel as if they're part of an autonomous world rather than a world that revolves around their desires."
As for the game's launch, Brice didn't give a release window quite yet, instead stressing that the wizarding sim is "heavily in development." But while Spellbound is currently planned for PC, the game may hit other platforms, including the Nintendo Switch.
"We're all massive fans of the Switch at Chucklefish, and would ideally see all of our major projects hitting the platform in the future," Brice said.
In the meantime, Chucklefish is working on another game, Wargroove, which is inspired by both the Fire Emblem and Advance Wars series. That game is slated for release during this year's second half, although no official release date has been announced yet either.