Witchwood is a cancelled action adventure game that was in development from 1994 to 1996 by Team 17, the studio best known for the Worms series. The game would have been published by Ocean for Amiga and PC, but in 1995 moved to PC, Playstation, Saturn, and Jaguar. As noted by Hallfiry of the Betaarchive Forum, while working on Witchwood, Team 17 was also developing Speris Legacy; another action adventure similar to the Legend of Zelda games that was released on Amiga in 1996.
The reason for the project’s termination is as of yet unknown. One possibility is that Team 17’s publishing partner, Ocean, elected to drop the game’s funding in light of Speris’ apparently lacklustre sales; rather than risk making another loss.
Despite the game’s cancellation, its soundtrack was released by Team17 composer, Bjørn Lynne, in 1996, and a playable demo of Witchwood was leaked online some years ago: you can download it from Kult Game.
Thanks to Tom Barker for the contribution!
Team 17 themselves could’nt even confirm work was ever started on the Jaguar version, when question was put to them:
according to the Team Talk section of their website, they stopped production on all Jaguar games (including Witchwood) by September 1995 at the latest.
“Unfortunately, all Jaguar projects have been abandoned for the moment. Although it is a great machine, it does not have a large enough user base for us to support it. Sorry.”
also on Witchwood:
“an A1200 AGA version was planned but was dropped” – October 1995
No demo released – December 1995
“While you say it’s about time PC owners had a game in that genre, the question has to be asked, ‘just how many PC owners would buy it?’
This is what prevents us from making such a game. There isn’t the market for one. Witness the demise of our Witchwood project…” – February 1996
“For some reason I can’t find anyone who knows anything about your game Witchwood. I can’t even find it in any store! What’s going on!!! Nobody has even heard of the game except me. I have only seen one very small artical on the game in a uk magazine PC-Format, a long time ago and that was it. It was the first article I have ever seen on a game that was truly a RPG like The Legand of Zelda for the SNES. Any info? Or demo?
Witchwood was scrapped early on in devlopment. That’s all the details I have I’m afraid.” – 28 May 1996
Links to the Team 17 site where Bjorn Lynne released the soundtrack (midi, ram and mp3):
Originally released March 1996 on Mellow Records
Catalogue no. MMP288
Digitally remastered and re-released on LynneMusic Productions June 1998
Catalogue no. LYNCD001
About this album:
This is an album of calm, serene, and beautifully picturesque music, inspired by the nordic/scandinavian forests. Appearing on guitar is Ken Senior, who has often been complimented on his warm, melodic guitar style, and he fits perfectly into the melodic jewels on this album. Also some medieval inspired passages – pastoral, mystic, and simply beautiful. After this album had sold out the entire first pressing, Bjorn brought the original master tapes back to his (now updated) studio and brushed up the sound, as well as re-recorded a few tracks. The result is a new and improved version of “Witchwood”, published in 1998.
01. Witchwood Prologue
02. The Woodlands
03. The Forest Speaks, part 1
04. Sunlight at the Mooring – a Jetty on the Lake
05. The Forest Speaks, part 2
06. Homeland Farmland
07. The Forest Speaks, part 3
08. Tell Tale Signs
09. The Forest Speaks, part 4
10. The Town of Witchwoode
11. After the Rain (Dew)
12. A Presence in the Air
13. The Sinister Maze – a Journey through the Catacombs
14. The Forest Speaks, part 5
15. The Faery Woods
16. Recollection (Sea of Memories, Part 1)
17. Nostalgia (Sea of Memories, Part 2)
18. The Gathering
Huge thanks for the link eSPy :-)
I’d always assumed by that point in Team 17’s life they were developing 1st for PC as that market was growing at a steady rate of knots, where as the Amig’s was in rapid decline and then seeing which of the formats in the console wars were the ones to back and they like so many other UK developers (Domark, Core, ATD etc etc) soon realised the Jaguar was never going to achive the installed user base it needed, price cuts or not, and any plans for anything on it after Worms, were rapidly dropped.
I’d guess the original plan was to finish the PC version and then port to other consoles after?.
So i doubt any real work was ever started on the Jaguar version, maybe some test coding?.
They must have realised early on just how badly Jaguar was doing and after Ocean Software dropped the Jaguar (never finished Toki or Lobo) they knew they’d never recoup any investment in resources, made on any Jaguar games as there simply was’nt a market to sell them too.
No worries! The Team Talk (fan mail/questions) section of their site provides alot of insight into what they were thinking at the time.
Alan Bunker, Team 17 PR was quoted in June 94 talking about Jaguar being impressive technically,offering a lot of flexibility etc.
But he made clear Team 17 remained open minded and flexible over all Next Gen development and they say 3DO as the up an coming system and we’re watching PS-X,Saturn and Nintendo’s Project Reality, closely.
So,no surprise to see any Jaguar projects dropped once it was clear system was dying at retail..
I’ll say this, you’ll never know what can pop up on the internet, after all the net is unpredictable the mayority of the time…The Source Code could pop up at any moment…
So, i looked into the whole Team 17 and the Jaguar side of things and this is all from a coder within Team 17 itself..
Both Atari and 3DO had approached Team 17 to sign them up as official developers, but Team 17 still hadn’t signed up to the Jaguar by the end of 1993 as they needed to see the Jaguar prove itself as commercialy viable platform.
They had been in contact with Atari and were in possession of Jaguar technical documents,but didn’t even own a retail Jaguar console for evulation purposes at this stage.
In February 1994 Atari announces Team 17 as an Official Jaguar developer..even though they had no Jaguar development system and nor did they in May of that year!.
Whilst they viewed the Jaguar as a more attractive platform to develop for than the 3DO as it was cheaper…they didn’t sound that impressed with the hardware in private :-))
From the source at Team 17:
“High numbers doesn’t make a platform. Marketing and software does.
3DO has tons more credibility than Atari, and Atari has had a habit of hyping products before release, and when the product finally ships
(one year after promise) much of the hyperbole turns out to be just that.”
” Remember the Falcon hype? I actually thought of getting one when I saw the press releases from Atari claiming awesome graphics and processing
capability for a very low price ($700?). When it was finally released it wasn’t so interesting anymore – it turned out to be much more expensive, and it’s performance didn’t live up to Atari’s claims.”
“With the Jaguar, the history seem to repeat itself. It appears that the Jaguar isn’t going to cost $199 at all, but is going to sell for $250
to $299. Add the cost of a CD to that, claimed to cost $200-$250, and you’re up to the 3DO player cost. Judging from the screenshots I’ve seen
so far, the software isn’t going to be too hot either. I’ve seen better
graphics in standard Amiga games. Very unimpressive.”
Tiny snippet on gameplay:
You’d need to enlist the help of the local wildlife to help solve puzzles in the game apparently.
Martyn Brown May 1995 giving a status update of various titles:
+ Pussies Galore
We dropped this. Unfortunately the game just wasn`t going anywhere and
we felt that it was not worth releasing for the sake of it. We had
spent 12 months on it, but c’est la vie.
+ – WitchWood
This is now a PC/SATURN/PLAYSTATION/JAG game which is rather large and stuff, it will not appear on the Amiga. However, a Zelda style
game called “Speris Legacy” will, and is Amiga only.
+ – King of Thives
Dropped quite some time ago due to the gameplay being tosh.
It looked lovely but that’s not all you want is it?
The coders, Andreas and Rico, are working on Project X 2
– but thats a project that will not be finished/released until
mid 1996 and it’s a next-gen console thing.
More content has been recovered:
Ahhh good old Team 17.
Claimed they’d do 3 or 4 titles then quit
Never develop for PC or Console
Say likes of F17 Challenge, Overdrive and Cardiaxx should never of been released.
From the early announcements, when game listed as PC, AMIGA, PC CD, CD32, and Jaguar..
The floppy disk versions had an expected release date of Easter 1995 and the CD versions, which would incorporate digitized speech, wouldn’t hit until September 1995
Simon Butler kindly passed on this information regarding the Jaguar version of Witchwood:
“I worked on Amiga/PC Witchwood at Team 17. It was never going to get off the ground on those platforms so no Jaguar version was planned.”