swiz.jpg Here's a riddle for you - which Western-originated franchise is now arguably more popular in Japan than in the West? Why, that would be the Wizardry RPG series, which "was created by Andrew Greenberg and Robert Woodhead of Sir-Tech" back in 1980 while students at Cornell University.

Amazingly, the series, which made it through 8 PC iterations plus several spinoffs in the U.S., is still very much alive in Japan - as the Wikipedia page for WIzardry notes: "The popularity of Wizardry in Japan led to the making of an anime OVA (direct-to-video animation), and several original console sequels, spinoffs, and ports. Most have not been released in the US." In fact, the latest in the series, Starfish's Wizardry Asterisk for the Nintendo DS, was released last week in Japan.

Looking back, one of the most recent console versions of the series, Wizardry: Tale Of The Forsaken Land for PS2, did get a limited North American release in 2001 thanks to Atlus, and has a definite cult following for its oldschool RPG leanings. As for Wizardry Asterisk, Starfish's Japanese homepage for the game isn't that helpful, but a preview from The Magic Box offers up some neat screenshots of the game - think anyone will pick this up for Western release?