Might and Magic

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Might and Magic
Might and Magic Logo.PNG
The logo commonly used by New World Computing and The 3DO Company
Genre(s) Role-playing
Developer(s) New World Computing (1984-2003)
Arkane Studios (for Dark Messiah )
Limbic Entertainment (for Might & Magic X )
Publisher(s) New World Computing (1984-1996)
The 3DO Company (1996-2003)
Ubisoft (2003-)
Creator(s) Jon Van Caneghem
Platform(s) Amiga, Apple II, C64, Macintosh, MS-DOS, MSX, NEC PC-9801, NES, PlayStation 2, Sega Genesis, SNES, TurboGrafx-16, Windows
First release Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum
1986
Latest release Might & Magic X: Legacy
23 January 2014
Spin-offs Heroes of Might and Magic
List of spinoffs
Timeline of release years
1986 1: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum
1987
1988 2: Gates to Another World
1989
1990
1991 3: Isles of Terra
1992 4: Clouds of Xeen
1993 5: Darkside of Xeen
1994 World of Xeen
1995
1996
1997
1998 6: The Mandate of Heaven
1999 7: For Blood and Honor
2000 8: Day of the Destroyer
2001
2002 9: Writ of Fate
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014 10: Legacy

Might and Magic is a series of role-playing video games from New World Computing, which in 1996 became a subsidiary of The 3DO Company. The original Might and Magic series ended with the closure of the 3DO Company. The rights to the Might and Magic name were purchased for US$1.3 million by Ubisoft, [1] who "rebooted" the franchise with a new series with no apparent connection to the previous continuity, starting with the games Heroes of Might and Magic V and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic .

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

New World Computing

New World Computing, Inc. was an American video game developer and publisher founded in 1984 by Jon Van Caneghem, his wife, Michaela Van Caneghem, and Mark Caldwell. It was best known for its work on the Might and Magic role-playing video game series and its spin-offs, especially Heroes of Might and Magic. The company was purchased by and became a division of The 3DO Company on July 10, 1996 from NTN Communications, after NTN purchased New World Computing for $10 million in stock.

The 3DO Company American video game company

The 3DO Company, also known as 3DO, was an American video game company. It was founded in 1991 by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, in a partnership with seven companies including LG, Matsushita, AT&T Corporation, MCA, Time Warner, and Electronic Arts itself. After 3DO's flagship video game console, the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, failed in the marketplace, the company exited the hardware business and became a third-party video game developer. It went bankrupt in 2003 due to poor sales of its games. Its headquarters were in Redwood City, California in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Contents

History

Main series

<i>Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum</i> video game

Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum is an early role-playing video game, first in the popular and influential Might and Magic franchise. It was released in 1986 as New World Computing's debut, ported to numerous platforms and re-released continuously through the early '90s.

Apple II first Apple II series computer

The Apple II is an 8-bit home computer and one of the world's first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products, designed primarily by Steve Wozniak. It was introduced by Jobs and Wozniak at the 1977 West Coast Computer Faire and was the first consumer product sold by Apple Computer, Inc. It is the first model in a series of computers which were produced until Apple IIe production ceased in November 1993. The Apple II marks Apple's first launch of a personal computer aimed at a consumer market – branded toward American households rather than businessmen or computer hobbyists.

Macintosh Family of personal computers designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple Inc.

The Macintosh is a family of personal computers designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple Inc. since January 1984. The original Macintosh was the first mass-market personal computer that featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen and mouse. Apple sold the Macintosh alongside its popular Apple II family of computers for almost ten years before they were discontinued in 1993.

Spin-offs

There have been several spin-offs from the main series, including the long-running Heroes of Might and Magic series, Crusaders of Might and Magic , Warriors of Might and Magic , Legends of Might and Magic , Might and Magic: Heroes Kingdoms , and the fan-made Swords of Xeen .

Might & Magic Heroes, known as Heroes of Might and Magic prior to 2011, is a series of video games originally created and developed by Jon Van Caneghem through New World Computing. As part of the Might and Magic franchise, the series changed ownership when NWC was acquired by 3DO and again when 3DO closed down and sold the rights to Ubisoft. The games feature turn-based, fantasy-themed conflicts in which players control armies of mythical creatures. The series began in 1995 with the release of the first title. A seventh installment, Might & Magic Heroes VII, was released on September 29, 2015.

<i>Crusaders of Might and Magic</i> 1999 video game

Crusaders of Might and Magic is a third-person action/RPG video game developed and published by 3DO's Austin, Texas studio (PlayStation) and Redwood Shores studio (PC). Different versions of the game were released for both Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation. The protagonist Drake was voiced by veteran voice actor Kevin Conroy.

<i>Warriors of Might and Magic</i> 2000 video game

Warriors of Might and Magic is an action role-playing game developed and released by The 3DO Company for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Color in 2000. The three versions, although they all follow a similar storyline, are each unique, especially the GBC version which is presented in 2D instead of 3D and has an almost completely different story. Each version of the game centers around the protagonist Alleron, who is wrongfully accused of committing necromancy by the Grand Inquisitor, and is exiled in result. He is forced to wear the Mask of the Accused as a punishment for his crimes, which acts as a magnet to monsters. It is difficult to determine when the events of Warriors of Might takes place in the Might and Magic timeline. However, it's speculated that it takes place in between Heroes of Might and Magic III and Heroes of Might and Magic IV.

In August 2003, Ubisoft acquired the rights to the Might and Magic franchise for US$1.3 million after 3DO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. [1] Ubisoft has since released multiple new projects using the Might and Magic brand, including a fifth installment of the Heroes series developed by Nival, an action-style game Dark Messiah of Might and Magic developed by Arkane Studios, a puzzle RPG Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes developed by Capybara Games , and the mobile strategy RPG for younger audiences titled Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians.

Ubisoft French multinational video game developer and publisher

Ubisoft Entertainment SA is a French video game company headquartered in Montreuil with several development studios across the world. It is known for publishing games for several acclaimed video game franchises, including Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance, Prince of Persia, Rayman, Raving Rabbids, and Tom Clancy's. As of March 2018, Ubisoft is the fourth largest publicly traded game company in the Americas and Europe after Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two Interactive in terms of revenue and market capitalisation.

Chapter 11 is a chapter of Title 11, the United States Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is available to every business, whether organized as a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship, and to individuals, although it is most prominently used by corporate entities. In contrast, Chapter 7 governs the process of a liquidation bankruptcy, though liquidation can be done under Chapter 11 also; while Chapter 13 provides a reorganization process for the majority of private individuals.

<i>Heroes of Might and Magic V</i> turn-based strategy video game

Heroes of Might and Magic V is the fifth installment of the Heroes of Might and Magic fantasy turn-based strategy video game series. The game was released by Ubisoft in Europe on May 16, and then in the United States and Canada on May 24, 2006, with the publisher guiding Russian studio Nival Interactive in its development. Following the closure of The 3DO Company, Ubisoft bought the rights to the Might and Magic franchise, and used Heroes V as a means to reboot the series with a brand new setting, called Ashan, and no continuity to previous titles.

Gameplay

The majority of the gameplay takes place in a medieval fantasy setting, while later sections of the games are often based on science fiction tropes, the transition often serving as a plot twist. The player controls a party of player characters, which can consist of members of various character classes. The game world is presented to the player in first person perspective. In the earlier games the interface is very similar to that of Bard's Tale , but from Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven onward, the interface features a three-dimensional environment. Combat is turn-based, though the later games allowed the player to choose to conduct combat in real time.

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the "literature of ideas". It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. It often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations.

Player character fictional character in a role-playing or video game that can be played or controlled by a real-world person

A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters (NPCs). The actions of non-player characters are typically handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character.

In role-playing games (RPG), a character class is a job or profession commonly used to differentiate the abilities of different game characters. A character class aggregates several abilities and aptitudes, and may also detail aspects of background and social standing, or impose behavior restrictions. Classes may be considered to represent archetypes, or specific careers. RPG systems that employ character classes often subdivide them into levels of accomplishment, to be attained by players during the course of the game. It is common for a character to remain in the same class for its lifetime; although some games allow characters to change class, or attain multiple classes. Some systems eschew the use of classes and levels entirely; others hybridise them with skill-based systems or emulate them with character templates.

The game worlds in all of the Might and Magic games are quite large, and a player can expect each game to provide several dozen hours of gameplay. It is usually quite combat-intensive and often involves large groups of enemy creatures. Monsters and situations encountered throughout the series tend to be well-known fantasy staples such as giant rats, werewolf curses, dragon flights and zombie hordes, rather than original creations. Isles of Terra and the Xeen games featured a more distinct environment, blending fantasy and science fiction elements in a unique way.

Rat several genera of rodents

Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents. Species of rats are found throughout the order Rodentia, but stereotypical rats are found in the genus Rattus. Other rat genera include Neotoma, Bandicota and Dipodomys.

Werewolf mythological human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or an anthropomorphic wolf-like creature

In folklore, a werewolf or occasionally lycanthrope is a human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf, either purposely or after being placed under a curse or affliction and especially on the night of a full moon. Early sources for belief in this ability or affliction, called lycanthropy, are Petronius (27–66) and Gervase of Tilbury (1150–1228).

Dragon a large, serpent-like legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world

A dragon is a large, serpent-like legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world. Beliefs about dragons vary drastically by region, but dragons in western cultures since the High Middle Ages have often been depicted as winged, horned, four-legged, and capable of breathing fire. Dragons in eastern cultures are usually depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence.

The Might and Magic games have some replay value as the player can choose their party composition, develop different skills, choose sides, do quests in a different order, hunt for hidden secrets and easter eggs, and/or change difficulty level.

Plot

Although most of the gameplay reflects a distinctly fantasy genre, the overarching plot of the first nine games has something of a science fiction background. The series is set in a fictional galaxy as part of an alternative universe, where planets are overseen by a powerful race of space travelers known as Ancients. In each of the games, a party of characters fights monsters and completes quests on one of these planets, until they eventually become involved in the affairs of the Ancients. Might and Magic could as such be considered an example of science fantasy.

The producer of the series was Jon Van Caneghem. [2] Van Caneghem has stated in interview [3] that the Might and Magic setting is inspired by his love for both science fiction and fantasy. He cites The Twilight Zone and the Star Trek episode For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky as having inspired Might and Magic lore.

The first five games in the series concern the renegade guardian of the planet Terra, named Sheltem, who becomes irrevocably corrupted, developing a penchant for throwing planets into their suns. Sheltem establishes himself on a series of flat worlds known as nacelles (which are implied to be giant spaceships) and Corak, a second guardian and creation of the Ancients, with the assistance of the player characters, pursues him across the Void. Eventually both Corak and Sheltem are destroyed in a climactic battle on the nacelle of Xeen.

The sixth, seventh and eighth games take place on Enroth, a single planet partially ruled by the Ironfist dynasty, and chronicle the events and aftermath of an invasion by the Kreegan (colloquially referred to as Devils), the demonlike arch-enemies of the Ancients. It is also revealed that the destruction wrought by the Ancients' wars with the Kreegan is the reason why the worlds of Might & Magic exist as medieval fantasy settings despite once being seeded with futuristic technology – the worlds have been 'cut off' from the Ancients and descended into barbarism. The first through third games in the Heroes of Might and Magic series traces the fortunes of the Ironfists in more detail. None of the science fiction elements appear in the Heroes series besides the appearance of Kreegan characters in Heroes of Might and Magic III and IV.

The Ubisoft release Might & Magic X: Legacy departs from this continuity and is set in the world of Ashan. [4] Ashan is a high fantasy setting with no science fiction elements in its lore. [5]

Reception

Might and Magic is considered one of the defining examples of early role-playing video games, along with The Bard's Tale , Ultima and Wizardry series. [6] By March 1994, combined sales of the Might and Magic series totaled 1 million units. [7] The number rose to 2.5 million sales by November 1996. [8] and 4 million by March 1999. [9]

Related Research Articles

<i>Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra</i> video game

Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra is the third game in the role-playing video game series Might and Magic. Released in 1991, it is the predecessor to Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen and the sequel to Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World.

<i>Albion</i> (video game) 1995 computer RPG

Albion is a single player role-playing video game developed and published by Blue Byte for MS-DOS in 1995. It was originally released in German, then translated to English for international release. The game features a science fiction setting that incorporates traditional fantasy elements, such as magic. The game was intended to be developed for the Amiga computer, but was developed for MS-DOS instead when Commodore become bankrupt.

<i>Heroes of Might and Magic III</i> video game

Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia is a turn-based strategy game developed by Jon Van Caneghem through New World Computing originally released for Microsoft Windows by the 3DO Company in 1999. Its ports to several computer and console systems followed in 1999-2000. It is the third installment of the Heroes of Might and Magic series. The game's story is first referenced throughout Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven and serves as a prequel to Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor. The player can choose to play through seven different campaigns telling the story, or play in a scenario against computer or human opponents.

<i>Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World</i> video game

Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World is a role-playing video game developed and published by New World Computing in 1988. It is the sequel to Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum.

<i>Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen</i> video game

Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen is a science fantasy role-playing video game, published and developed for multiple platforms by New World Computing in 1993. Based on the Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra game engine, it is the fifth game in the Might and Magic series, and is a direct sequel to Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen, concluding the story arc started in the original Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum.

<i>Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven</i> video game

Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven, commonly abbreviated to Might and Magic VI or simply MM6, is a role-playing video game developed by New World Computing and published by 3DO in 1998. It is the sixth installment in the Might and Magic series, the sequel to Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen and the first of the Might and Magic titles to take place in the same world as Heroes of Might and Magic. It continues the storyline of Heroes of Might and Magic II, and takes place at the same time as Heroes of Might and Magic III in the series chronology.

<i>Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddons Blade</i> video game

Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon's Blade is the first of two expansion packs for the turn-based strategy game Heroes of Might and Magic III. It was developed by New World Computing for Microsoft Windows and released by the 3DO Company in 1999.

Jon Van Caneghem American video game designer

Jon Van Caneghem is an American video game director, designer and producer. He is best known for launching development studio New World Computing in 1983, making his design debut in 1986 with Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum. During the company's 20-year lifespan, Van Caneghem was involved in the creation and direction of several franchises, including the Might and Magic role-playing series and the spin-off Heroes of Might and Magic and King's Bounty strategy series.

<i>Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor</i> video game

Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor is a role-playing game for Windows published in 1999 by 3DO and developed by New World Computing; it was re-released in 2011 on GOG.com. The game follows on from both the events of Heroes of Might and Magic III, and those of Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven. Players form a party of four characters who win a castle in a scavenger hunt and soon become embroiled in political events on the continent of Antagarich, in the world of Enroth, before eventually choosing one of two paths and working alongside a number of characters, whose storyline continues on from the events of Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra. The game, Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer is a sequel to Blood and Honor.

<i>Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer</i> video game

Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer is a role-playing video game developed for Microsoft Windows by New World Computing and released in 2000 by the 3DO Company. It is the eighth game in the Might and Magic series. The game received middling critical reviews, a first for the series, with several critics citing the game's length and its increasingly dated game engine, which had been left fundamentally unaltered since Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven in 1998.

<i>Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest</i> video game

Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest is a turn-based strategy game developed and published by New World Computing in 1995 for DOS. A spin-off of New World Computing's Might and Magic series of role-playing video games, the success of Heroes of Might and Magic led to a number of sequels.

<i>Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes</i> 2009 video game

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is a puzzle role-playing adventure video game in the Might and Magic franchise, developed for the Nintendo DS by Capybara Games and published by Ubisoft. It was first announced in May 2009, and released on December 1, 2009. In 2011, a downloadable high definition version was developed for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. Android and iOS ports were developed in 2013.

<i>Might & Magic Heroes VI</i> 2011 video game

Might & Magic Heroes VI is a turn-based strategy video game for Microsoft Windows developed by Black Hole Entertainment and published by Ubisoft. Some patches and downloadable content were developed by Limbic Entertainment, while the standalone expansion Shades of Darkness was developed by Virtuos. It is the sixth installment in the Heroes of Might and Magic series, and was released on October 13, 2011, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Might and Magic franchise. Heroes VI acts as a prequel to Heroes of Might and Magic V, occurring almost five centuries earlier, and is set in the fictional world of Ashan. The story follows the five heirs to the Griffin dynasty in their quests to repel a demon invasion and assist or impede Michael, a legendary Archangel general plotting to revive an ancient war.

<i>Might & Magic X: Legacy</i> 2014 video game

Might & Magic X: Legacy is the latest installment of the Might and Magic role-playing video game series, announced on March 21, 2013, developed by Limbic Entertainment and published by Ubisoft. Instead of being a sequel to Might and Magic IX the game follows the events of Might & Magic Heroes VI and is set in the world of Ashan. It was released on January 23, 2014 as a downloadable title for Microsoft Windows. An OS X version was released on April 16, 2014.

References

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  2. "CGW's Hall of Fame". Computer Gaming World. Archived from the original on 14 June 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  3. "RPG Codex Retrospective Interview: Jon Van Caneghem on Might and Magic". RPGCodex. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  4. "RPG Codex Interview: Might and Magic X - Legacy". RPGCodex. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  5. "Discover World of Ashan". Ubisoft. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  6. Barton, Matt (23 February 2007). "The History of Computer Role-Playing Games Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993)". Gamasutra. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  7. "READ.ME: NTN Networks With New World" (PDF). Computer Gaming World . No. 116. March 1994. p. 14. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  8. "Power Play Magazine (November 1996)". Archive.org. 1 November 1996. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  9. "3DO Ships Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer". Business Wire . Berkshire Hathaway. 2 March 1999. Archived from the original on 12 April 2000. Retrieved 17 June 2019 via Yahoo.com.