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
January 23, 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
Jon Van Caneghem, the creator of the series Jon Van Caneghem.jpg
Jon Van Caneghem, the creator of the series

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 producer of the series was Jon Van Caneghem. [1]

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

Might and Magic is considered one of the defining examples of early PC role-playing games, along with The Bard's Tale , Ultima and Wizardry series. [2]

Personal computer computer intended for use by an individual person

A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. PCs are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Computer time-sharing models that were typically used with larger, more expensive minicomputer and mainframe systems, to enable them be used by many people at the same time, are not used with PCs.

<i>The Bards Tale</i> (1985 video game) 1985 role-playing video game

Tales of the Unknown: Volume I, better known by its subtitle The Bard's Tale, is a fantasy role-playing video game designed and programmed by Michael Cranford, produced by Interplay Productions in 1985 and distributed by Electronic Arts. It spawned The Bard's Tale series of games and books.

<i>Ultima</i> (series) Role-playing video games series

Ultima is a series of open world fantasy role-playing video games from Origin Systems, Inc. Ultima was created by Richard Garriott. The series is one of the most significant in computer game history and is considered, alongside Wizardry and Might and Magic, to be one of the establishers of the CRPG genre. Several games of the series are considered seminal entries in their genre, and each installment introduced new innovations which then were widely copied by other games. Electronic Arts own the brand.

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, [3] 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 .

<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 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.

<i>Dark Messiah of Might and Magic</i> video game

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is a first-person action role-playing game developed by Arkane Studios. The player controls Sareth, the apprentice of the wizard Phenrig, after he is sent to the city of Stonehelm to accompany an expedition trying to retrieve a powerful artifact known as "The Skull of Shadows".

History

There are ten games in the 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, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products, designed primarily by Steve Wozniak. It was introduced in 1977 at the West Coast Computer Faire by Jobs 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 towards American households rather than businessmen or computer hobbyists.

Macintosh personal computer line by Apple

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.

Anthologies

There were several spin-offs from the main series, including Heroes of Might and Magic , Crusaders of Might and Magic , Warriors of Might and Magic , Legends of Might and Magic , and the fanmade Swords of Xeen .

<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 Master Nola, 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 IV.

<i>Legends of Might and Magic</i> 2001 video game

Legends of Might and Magic is a first-person shooter video game developed by Jon Van Caneghem through New World Computing and published by the 3DO Company in 2001. As a spin-off of the Might and Magic franchise, Legends has a fantasy theme. Reviews likened the game to a medieval Counter-Strike, but criticized it for being a mediocre clone.

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. [3] 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 called Dark Messiah of Might and Magic , developed by Arkane Studios and a puzzle RPG called Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes , developed by Capybara Games .

Ubisoft French multinational video game developer and publisher

Ubisoft Entertainment SA is a French video game company headquartered in Montreuil, France, 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.

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.

Nival (company) Videogames developer

Nival is a Russian video game developer headquartered in Limassol, Cyprus, with development offices in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Moscow, Russia. It was founded by Russian games industry veteran Sergey Orlovskiy in 1996, who currently serves as company CEO.

In September 2009, the Might and Magic Sixpack was re-released via the digital distribution service, Good Old Games. [4] In March 2011, The seventh [5] and eighth [6] installments of the series were also added to Good Old Games.

In March 2013, Ubisoft confirmed that Limbic Entertainment is developing Might & Magic X Legacy with a release date said to be in early 2014. The game is described as a solo, first-person RPG with turn-based gameplay. It takes place in the same world as Might & Magic Heroes VI . [7]

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.

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.

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.

Van Caneghem has stated in interview [8] 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. [9] Ashan is a high fantasy setting with no science fiction elements in its lore. [10]

Reception

By March 1994, combined sales of the Might and Magic series totaled 1 million units. [11] The number rose to 2.5 million sales by November 1996. [12]

Related Research Articles

<i>Kings Bounty</i> turn-based fantasy computer and video game

King's Bounty is a turn-based fantasy video game designed by Jon Van Caneghem and published by New World Computing in 1990. The game follows the player's character, a hero of King Maximus, appointed with the job of retrieving the Sceptre of Order from the forces of chaos, led by Arech Dragonbreath. King's Bounty is notably considered the forerunner of the Heroes of Might and Magic series of games, while it was itself clearly "inspired" by the game Chaos: The Battle of Wizards for the ZX Spectrum.

<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>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 IV: Clouds of Xeen</i> video game

Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen is the fourth installment in the Might and Magic series by New World Computing.

<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>Might and Magic IX</i> video game

Might and Magic IX is a role-playing video game, the last developed by New World Computing for Microsoft Windows and released in 2002 by the 3DO Company. It is the sequel to Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer. It is the first to feature a significant game engine overhaul since 1998's Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven. Powered by the Lithtech 1.5 engine, it was also the first game in the series to feature fully three-dimensional graphics. During production, it was known by the working title of Might and Magic IX: Writ of Fate, and it is usually referred to by that title by fans of the series.

<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. Barton, Matt (February 23, 2007). "The History of Computer Role-Playing Games Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993)". Gamasutra.
  3. 1 2 Namco, Ubisoft and MS carve up 3DO assets
  4. "Good Old Games – Might & Magic 6 Pack LE Now Available". RPGWatch. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  5. "Might & Magic VII – Now on GOG". RPGWatch. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  6. "Might and Magic 8 hits GOG". Shack News. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  7. "Ubisoft Announces Might & Magic X Legacy". Ubisoft. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  8. "RPG Codex Retrospective Interview: Jon Van Caneghem on Might and Magic". RPGCodex. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  9. "RPG Codex Interview: Might and Magic X - Legacy". RPGCodex. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  10. "Discover World of Ashan". Ubisoft. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  11. Staff (March 1994). "READ.ME; NTN Networks with New World". Computer Gaming World (116): 14.
  12. https://archive.org/details/powerplaymagazine-1996-11/page/n57