GDC 2013: Magicka: Wizard Wars details emerge: 4v4 multiplayer

Marsh Davies

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It's not a MOBA, the devs have made that much clear in interviews, but Magicka's 4v4 multiplayer spin-off looks a bit like one. Going by glimpses at GDC, it's a game of territorial control in which two teams tussle over spawn points - and you can even bring AI goblin minions along to help. In action though, it retains the same accessibly splashy and chaotic combo spellcraft that defined the original game, albeit with a few streamlining tweaks. We'll be bringing you a heartier preview soon, but here are the first few tidbits of info.

You still use the same stackable eight elemental spells to build up combos, but the modifiers that let you differentiate between area-of-effect, direct attacks and self-cast spells have been stripped out in favour of simply changing the spell type depending on whom you target. I'm not sure how this will change the way, say, beam spells are cast - since previously you didn't need to select a target, but could sweep your gleaming eldritch laser back and forth across the enemy.

Still, if it's being simplified in some respects, it's getting depth in others: staff sidegrades now boost your abilities with a certain element, but make you vulnerable against others, while the powerful spells learnt from scrolls now occupy one of several pre-equipped slots, and require lengthy cooldowns.

The game's some nine months into development at Paradox North, rather than at Arrowhead Studios, the original Magicka creators. No payment model has been confirmed yet, but though the abundance of unlockable hats point to F2P as an easy option, the developers have made positive noises about the paid-alpha model epitomised by the likes of Mojang. With a Wizard Wars alpha promised in the imminent future, we'll likely find out soon.

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