They Never Stay Dead: Might & Magic X: Legacy Announced

By John Walker on March 22nd, 2013 at 8:00 am.

We thought it was dead. We thought smashing it into a thousand pieces, and securing each piece in a foot-deep lead box, and scattering them to the farthest reaches of the universe would be enough. But no, Might & Magic has reformed, and is coming back. Might & Magic X: Legacy, is a thing that is happening.

Not to be confused with the far superior Heroes Of Might & Magic games, the Might & Magic series became an increasingly terrible run of first-person RPGs, set in the blandly generic fantasy worlds, always somehow managing to feel about five years behind the rest of the industry. After the first five or so, throughout the late 90s and early 00s the four-people-in-your-party games ever-increasingly disappointed, finally finishing with the absolutely awful M&M IX in 2002.

It was such a spectacularly rubbish game, trying to “update” itself by embracing the Lithtech engine (remember that?), but still trying to be an RPG. The result meant you no longer had a cursor for clicking on the screen, but instead were stuck with a centred reticule, making a game that needed you to be able to click on the four different characters a miserable experience. But its, and many of the games before, biggest crime was blandness.

So it is with a grin on my face that I see Ubisoft are announcing the game (because of course former publishers 3DO are long gone) as following on from the events of Might & Magic Heroes VI. Because then that way the previous games didn’t happen!

“In the wake of the spectacular events in Might & Magic Heroes VI, you will play in a party of four adventurers entangled in intrigue and political machinations unfolding in and around Karthal. The city, on the verge of secession, is prey to competing factions vying for its control. Your actions will determine the fate of the city. Might & Magic X Legacy is an authentic solo experience in the classic first-person RPG genre. Create and lead your group into an exciting world and battle powerful mythical creatures while collecting ancient magical treasures. Through a turn-based gameplay system, defeat creatures and bosses to accomplish unique quests and make your way through dangerous dungeons, cities and labyrinths full of traps. Dive into vintage Might & Magic and play old school, new rules!

Perhaps this move has been inspired by the success of Grimrock, reawakening the possibility of this oldest of old school first-person RPGs. Why they’re going with the “X” though I cannot fathom. If they’re relying on nostalgia, they’ve really picked the wrong series.

This time out it’s being developed by German team Limbic Entertainment who also revived the Heroes franchise, whom they describe as “devoted Might & Magic fans”. Let’s hope that was an elaborate typo. Here’s the announcement trailer that eventually shows you about ten seconds of the game, through a distorted screen. What a silly thing that is:

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114 Comments »

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  1. Ansob says:

    Why they’re going with the “X” though I cannot fathom.

    It’s like them Megamans, isn’t it?

    e; gosh, the first four fifths of that trailer really win points for most confusing trailer ever.

    • august says:

      No, because Mega Man X is not Mega Man 10.

      • Ansob says:

        :thejoke:

        Because the series now goes M&M 1-5 => M&M X.

        You know, like Megaman.

        • tyren says:

          Nnnnnno it doesn’t? The last Might & Magic game was 9, not 5.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I don’t really get the complaint… the rest of the M&M series seem to have Roman numerals on the box art (unlike Megaman which does use normal numbers)

  2. WarderDragon says:

    Hey, Might & Magic 3 was great! Swords of Xeen was pretty awesome too, that fan-made game. That having been said, the latter incarnations were indeed terrible. I still think it’s cool that they’re trying to resurrect the franchise, if only because turn-based RPGs need to make a comeback.

    Yes, I said need. They need to make a comeback. NEED.

  3. googoogjoob says:

    Might and Magics 4 & 5 are absolutely fantastic RPGs (especially when linked). Anyone who says they’re no good probably hasn’t played them. (To be fair, M&Ms 7-9 were pretty mediocre, with 9 being outright bad.)

    Also: I strongly object to the description of the M&M world as “generic fantasy.” The first few games take place inside a GIANT SPACESHIP and there are aliens and laser guns and stuff.

    • whorhay says:

      I only ever played the 6th game and it was rather good, in my opinion, for the day and age. It had both turn and real time based combat for whichever fit your play style best. A story line I can still remember roughly. A good and evil system that could result in your characters being tossed in jail. And finally an advancement system that went far beyond what you would need to finish the game story, which tied in nicely with being able to continue play after beating the game.

      I played a couple of the M&M Heroes games and found them thoroughly boring. I don’t recall any of the story bits and the gameplay seems very bland in my memory.

  4. Prime says:

    Perhaps this move has been inspired by the success of Grimrock, reawakening the possibility of this oldest of old school first-person RPGs.

    An interesting theory, if a touch cynical. Considering the state of the screenshots I think it’s more likely they would have started making this prior to Grimrock’s release meaning there was no way they could have known how well that was going to be received.

    Wow: I’m defending Ubisoft. I must be unwell.

    Ps: What on earth was all that swishing and swooping in the video for? It was completely bewildering.

    • Emeraude says:

      You’re not defending Ubisoft, you’re trying to defend truth.

  5. honuk says:

    “the Might & Magic series was an increasingly terrible run of first-person RPGs…always somehow managing to feel about five years behind the rest of the industry.”

    oh, the irony. in this, the age of kickstarter

  6. Shiny says:

    IX was terrible; VIII was mediocre, a victim of Trip Hawkins’ “make tons of shit games in 6 months each” policy.

    But VI and VII were quite good. They had style, color, magnificent loot, advanced classes…things that the Elder Scrolls and Legend of Grimrock noticeably lack. I even prefer them over the isometric RPGs of that era, as the ruleset was far more enjoyable and approachable than the annoying and technical D&D ruleset that games like Baldur’s Gate employed.

    • Randomer says:

      Agreed. A friend got my M&M VII on GoG about a year back and it is quite good. The level of detail that they’ve added to the world is pretty impressive. Plus everywhere I look I see creatures from HoMM3! How cool is that!

  7. Tuco says:

    John Walker, giving poor opinions about RPGs since the dawn of time.

    • razgon says:

      it sure looks like! Does he have a history of doing this?

      • Reapy says:

        A bit into the comments I did a check like, hey wait, was that walker who wrote that, scroll back, yup sure enough. At least I know I consistently have the opposite opinion of whatever he writes.

        Still have my darkside of xeen box. These RPGs on the pc are hugely memorable to me, as much so as realms of arcania. I guess I thought of them like an eye of the beholder but better because they were outside and I didn’t get lost after 5 seconds.

        I liked the short amount of gameplay shown, still, I could probably handle the grid movement being unlocked now a days.

    • Saarlaender39 says:

      Well, I don’t know nothing about the “since the dawn of time”-bit, but I agree wholeheartedly with the “poor opinion about RPGs” part!

      The Might & Magic -series might have lost a bit of its magic in the later installments, but man…it was a long way to get there.

      And it was a way full of entertainment and pleasure as far as I’m concerned.

  8. razgon says:

    Thats…a pretty weird article – The Might and Magic series was always pretty damn solid RPG’s and liked amongst fans of the genre – Most games don’t get 9 iterations if they are as bland as you claim them to be.

    The series didn’t increasingly disappoint, but actually became better and better, ending with M&M 7 and 8 as the pinnacle of the series for many fans of the genre – M&M9 though, was not very good and the developers have often claimed that they had one year to make the game, resulting in the mess we see.

    Heroes Of Might & Magic games on the other hand only really had one good iteration, which was 3 – the rest was pure rubbish, blandly trying to play catch-up with the rest of the genre. Hey look, I too can make things up!

    Now, I’m normally a very big fan of RPS and its writing, but this piece reeks of personal preferences that really has no bounds in anything other than prejudice.

    Honestly – calling the series Generic Fantasy is missing the point entirely, since they are anything but!

    This smacks of having never actually played the games?

    • frightlever says:

      Gotta agree with you. 9 was a stinker but the rest were fine. Now as good as the Wizardry series but what was?

      Never liked the Heroes of M&M games. Found them tedious bean-counters.

      • pullthewires says:

        I must also agree. I very much enjoyed 3-8 of the series, as did many others. Even with the shocking disappointment of 9, there must be a big enough nostalgia crowd that when combined with curious fans of the Heroes spin-off they make a sizable built-in audience for this game. Resurrecting the series isn’t an odd decision at all.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        It’s interesting that when they made M&M 6 they decided to change the gameplay very significantly – the perception being, I guess, that 1st person grid based RPGs were dead and they had to compete with Daggerfall, etc. However, when they did HOMM III they stuck to the core gameplay and won critical acclaim which kept the HOMM series on the right track even if really none of the subsequent games are as good as III

    • karry says:

      “The Might and Magic series was always pretty damn solid RPG’s”

      There was never alot of RPG-ing in M&M games, werent there ? They have always been pretty rigid dungeon crawlers. Nothing you could do outside of fighting, was there ?

      • razgon says:

        True – But that is true of most RPG’s both at that time, but also in general. M&M series DO have conversations and quests and people to talk to. I seem to remember they even do have choices to make in some of them.

        I’m unsure what you think is missing, compared to other rpgs?

        • karry says:

          What’s missing, you ask ? Characters that are more than sword-holding puppets ? Suspension of disbelief pertaining to the gameworld, i.e. no flourishing towns in the middle of nowhere with hordes of monsters roaming 2 steps from the gates ? NPCs that are acting accordingly to the common sense ?

          Another thing that has also always bugged me about M&M, is that even mechanically its rather inept, stats are complete rubbish. At first you find these stat-enhancing barrels and experience joy from every +1 to Str, but quickly realise that the entirety of combat is dependent pretty much just on level and skills and nothing else. Stats are useless.

          • razgon says:

            haha, are you from the future? And are playing Future Games? I’ve yet to see a game that lives up to that particular set of items, and of course not games that were 15-20 years old didn’t have it either.

          • karry says:

            Fallout. Gothic. Krondor. ToEE. All pretty old games, i’d say.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        What do you mean? That you couldn’t talk to the bartender?… Actually you could ;) But swords/guns & conversation games are another genre to me from grid based RPGs – I have equal love for both. The early 90s M&M games had open worlds, exploration, lots of quests and loot and classes and stats. These days having a large gameworld seems to be mostly about having a lot of pretty scenery to look at, but exploring M&M games was always exciting even when the graphics were largely representative. This is something the swords/guns & conversation games don’t do well, you also never have suspense or atmosphere inside a dungeon in any of those games, although M&M isn’t really the prime example of the atmosphere that’s unique to dungeon crawlers – that crown belongs to Dungeon Master!

    • derella says:

      John Walker is obviously prejudiced against games he doesn’t like! So unprofessional! Writers are only allowed to include their personal opinions when they line up with my own, damn it!

      • razgon says:

        Oh, personal opinions aren’t the issue – the lack of any kind of facts regarding the previous series is the problem. Also, compared to the normal writing here on RPS, its just…odd and totally out of place, lacking of any kind of humor even, substituted by what seems like bitterness instead.

        I just find that very weird and out of place. My first though was actually if RPS had been hacked.

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          Thirith says:

          Ditto. I like John Walker’s writing and usually agree with his opinions, but everyone and then he gets extremely dismissive, to the detriment of his writing. A critique of M&M would be interesting to read; this, however, is a lazy slagging off with little to no information.

          • Allenomura says:

            “A critique of M&M would be interesting to read; this, however, is a lazy slagging off with little to no information.”

            I completely agree with the above. That John may not have much care for M&M matters little, but that he resorted to short-shrift dismissal like that was not fitting.

        • Saarlaender39 says:

          Quote:”compared to the normal writing here on RPS, its just…odd and totally out of place, lacking of any kind of humor even, substituted by what seems like bitterness instead.”

          This exactly.

    • Jenks says:

      “This smacks of having never actually played the games?”

      Par for the course

  9. SanguineAngel says:

    How DARE you, sir! Why, my jowls are a tremble! Might & Magic VII provided some of the greatest gaming moments of my teenage gaming life! VIII & IX were not good though. Especially IX.

    Having read the rest of the backlash in the comments (or bemusement) I would like to point out that a) John Walker is entitled to his own opinion just like the rest of us. As wrong as it may be ;o) and b) RPS is a blog and so John walker is allowed to express his opinion as he likes… as wrong as it may be.

    • bfandreas says:

      Well.
      First of all Heroes of Might and Magic 2 was very, very good. 3 was evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Which means that you don’t have to play HoMM2. But HoMM2 at its time was superb.

      Also calling M&M bland is a bit…off. The whole basis of the worlds during the M&M6/7 era was that people arrived on spaceships, crashed and devolved into paladins, wizards and such. You start as the usual brute with a club, progress through the story, live through a couple of HOLY EXCREMENT! moments and end up with laser weapons in a derelict space ship. The world is open. You even have a game to play when you ignore the main quest. Which is something I miss in most modern RPGs that are not much more than adventure games.

      Reports have reached me that M&M9 was indeed a bit crap.

  10. mraston says:

    As some who who is currently playing and highly enjoying Might and Magic VI for the first time, it seems to me the hyperbolic vitriol you just spewed on the series is unnecessary and misplaced.

    IX was meant to be pretty rubbish though.

    • Kefren says:

      MMVI is the only one I played, but it amazed me with the open world to clear of monsters, areas I wanted ot explore but couldn’t at the start (e.g. across water), lovely music. Adored every minute of it. However, I got bored with the sequel – I think I’d just had enough by that point. It had its time with me, but I think overall I enjoyed it as much at the time as I did Morrowind some years later. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Might_and_Magic_VI:_The_Mandate_of_Heaven

    • bfandreas says:

      M&M6 was also the first one I picked up. You start out as a everybodies whipping boy and you end up flying and engaging dozens of dragons with laser cannons.
      While not graphically spectacular it still was very interesting.

  11. N'Al says:

    Good god, Hivemind, make up your mind! Was VIII good then, or not!?

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      RedViv says:

      As would most commonly be argued:
      VIII is very meh, for only repeating what VI and VII did in a rather rushed game.
      IX is rubbish.

  12. Knightley4 says:

    Woah-woah-woah, hold on! Now, where is my black list…
    M&M VIII was my first RPG and while it wasn’t as good as previous games, it’s still one of the best in that genre. Interesting setting, nice music, scary dungeons. Balance wasn’t that good with dragons in your party, but i had a lot of fun.

    • hitnrun says:

      Yeah I was relatively new to PC gaming when my friends and I picked up VII and we spent an entire summer with it. We never did get toward the end, mostly just exploring the world in the way that many an attempt to play an Elder Scroll game devolves into, except with a firmer RPG statistical backing.

      I mean it wasn’t an Infinity Engine game or anything, and most of our memories revolve around the unintentionally funny voice clips, but it did very well that open world concept wot the computer dorks seem to like.

  13. Boojum says:

    As others have already commented, the frothing negativity here is way off base. Might & Magic was always a staple of the dungeon-crawling RPG genre. Its settings never took themselves too seriously, and were both full of great details and less generic than they appeared at first glance. More importantly, though, it consistently nailed the RPG fundamentals of intricately planned dungeons full of thought-provoking traps and puzzles, combat full of interesting and varied choices that never wasted the player’s time, and excellent loot and character advancement systems.

    It’s true that 8 was one time too many back to the same well without moving forward (though still good taken in a vacuum), and that 9 was a mess pushed out while the company was falling apart. But the first two games were a good step forward for the genre when they came out, and 3-7 are just rock-solid, exceedingly well-crafted dungeon crawls that are absolutely enjoyable to this day, especially World of Xeen.

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      I actually disagree that dungeon design is good in the M&M games, it’s mostly dead end corridors and cupboards full of monsters. And M&M VI and onwards are mostly huge cavernous spaces packed with ridiculous number of monsters :) but then I was spoiled by the first RPG I ever played being Dungeon Master :)

  14. Samwise Gamgee says:

    Hmmm…. are they any good? Who to belive?….

    Checked GOG collection….. M&M 1-7 check! Never played them so installing now to make my own mind up :)

    • Samwise Gamgee says:

      Anybody got advice regarding which to play? Should I play them all or maybe just 3-7? I would appreciate any opinions, thanks

      • razgon says:

        Personally, I found 3-5 to be too old by now – They are hard to control, but M&M 6 is where they began to have a more open world approach. Its all personal preferences though, since many swear that 3-5 are among the best RPG’s they ever played.

        IF you can stomach old-school ui and control schemes, start at the first ones :-)

        • Samwise Gamgee says:

          Thanks razgon. My favourite RPG ever is Ultima 6 so I think old-school UI’s and control schemes won’t be a problem for me, although I may skip 1 & 2 as they do look incredibly old and I may not have the patience to get through them :)

          • WarderDragon says:

            The interface is significantly easier to work with than Ultima 6’s interface, that’s for sure. Though you might find inventory management in the earlier M&Ms to be a sure – but you’re used to that if you like Ultima. :)

            Don’t forget to check out Swords of Xeen if you like the style of M&M3-5. It’s made with the same engine, but was supposedly created by some fans. It’s great.

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          JamesTheNumberless says:

          Wow, really? I think the control system in 6 was the worst control system I’ve ever used, it fits squarely into that horror period in the 90s when degrees of movement were freed in 3D games but nobody had quite figured out mouse-look yet. It’s up there with system shock for awkwardness of control. What could be simpler or more immediately intuitive than the Dungeon Master style grid based RPG controls? Oh dear… Am I old now? Is this how it starts?

          • Samwise Gamgee says:

            Savage Empire was my first ever PC game and Ultima 6 was the second and as such I had nothing to compare it to and just learned how to use it with no negativity or comparisons. I always used to assume that if I could not play a game properly then I just wasn’t doing it right and it was my fault rather than the games fault. Oh such youthful optimism, where did that go? :)

            I still play it to this day and while it does take a little adjusting to after playing modern games it really doesn’t seem that bad to me. The main thing in my opinion is to use the mouse as much as possible, for movement in particular.

  15. SkittleDiddler says:

    Good piece, Mr. Walker. The entire M&M series is an ode to blandness and generic fantasy, and props to you for speaking your mind about it. Just ignore the whiny fanboys.

    • Tuco says:

      Also, keep ignoring competent game design and praising Bioware.

    • NaN says:

      If M&M series, with inter-dimensional travel, space ships, time travel, elfs, orcs, aliens, etc… is generic fantasy, what are Dragon age, elder scrolls and many others series?

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        They’re all generic trash as far as I’m concerned. The cheesy addition of aliens and spaceships to M&M doesn’t make it any less so.

        • NaN says:

          Ok….and which are, in your opinion, a non-generic trash RPG games? (I’m just curious)

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            I don’t necessarily equate “generic” with “trash”, but a grossly high percentage of fantasy-based video games I’ve played over my lifetime have been one and the same. Aside from the kinda-original-but-not-really steampunk setting in Arcanum, I really can’t think of another fantasy game that doesn’t come off as completely derivative.

            I like RPG games, so I still play them despite the glaring lack of originality in the genre.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I dunno about blandness, but the ones I played (VI and VII, I think?) both felt incredibly clunky and outdated compared to, say, Eye of the Beholder or Dungeon Master, became tedious at lightning speed, and didn’t pick up at all in the next 4-5 hours. Maybe they get good 20-odd hours in or something, I don’t know.

  16. NaN says:

    This Article is pretty hard against the series, is true there were some bad games(9 cof cof) but the rest were pretty solid RPG and as far as I can remmeber, M&M was the only series that offered free of movement and open world. You could travel from dungeon to dungeon, from town to town, any time you want, nothing stops you, you can beat the game in the order you want and to be honest this game had some of the hardest puzzles I can remember.

    So yeah, this announcement made me really happy, but the writeer of this article seems to had a bad experience with the series, otherwise I don’t understand.

  17. scorpion_wins says:

    M&M 1-5 were “fine”. They weren’t incredible or must-play, but they were pretty good. 6-9 went increasingly wrong, indeed. They were some of the first games to be as non-linear.

    So, I don’t really understand the tone of the newsbit. Then again, this is the same author who described Age of Wonders as an RTS, right?

  18. Infinitron says:

    Might & Magic

    generic fantasy

    wat

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      RedViv says:

      Clearly interstellar ancestors and space seeds are the most common thing in Walkerverse.

  19. Gira says:

    Woah, sorry, what? M&M is commonly regarded as one of the greatest RPG series ever (especially IV thru VII).

    Walker again demonstrating his awful taste.

  20. dawnmane says:

    IX was terrible, but VII was my entire first year of high school alongside HOMM3, and VIII was weird but the races as classes thing was great fun. I especially remember a Lich lair somewhere with a lot of flask and orbs that keep showing up in my head every time I watch the Harry Potter scene where they go looking for memories in the ministry og magic vault. Again, IX was terrible and bland and all the things you accuse the entire series of being, but the iterations before it certainly weren’t. And the criticism of the world as being “generic fantasy” is an anachronism. Everything was generic by today’s standards back then. with very few exceptions. That doesn’t mean the worlds were boring to play in.

  21. Menshai2013 says:

    This is probably the most excited I’ve been re: a game announcement than I have been in a long, long time.

    Might and Magic VII was, to me, an amazing game. Sure, it didn’t have, well, frankly *any* of the things say Baldur’s Gate 2 has going for it, but M&M7 was a completely different style of ‘RPG’ game. And I played it alot. From beginning to end (that I didn’t really get at first – it makes a lot more sense now I’ve read the story of the other games on the Wiki-pie-dia!)

    I drew out maps of the lands and the dungeons on *actual* paper! I listed the locations of all the trainers for the different skill levels so I always knew where to go. I would spend hours trying to determine the absolute best set of characters and skill combinations.

    I even (check this out!) spent the better part of an evening grinding away with bows and firebolts while frantically dodging fireballs, culminating in me successfully killing the dragon on the Emerald Island!

    I proceeded to do similar things for Might and Magic VIII.

    Actually, one of the things that stands out most in my mind for that game… The notes from the Vampire you find – the one whose trying to resist/combat the curse of vampirism, who eventually dies in despair in the cyclops lair I think. It was a heart wrentching story told through the medium of words on pieces of paper you occasionally find and it was superb.

    Might and Magic IX *should* have been amazing. With the improved graphics (still sub par for the era but better than previous games) and improved capabilities of modern machines, it should have been fantastic. It wasn’t. It was everything I loved about M&M sieved through a filter of horrifically bad storylines and utterly unfinished quest lines. I mean, there were times in M&MVII and VIII when I felt like they’d just left things hanging. Like there should have been more to it. In IX, there’s a city where, in the northern most sector, the guards are getting massacred by some huge beast that pwns you until the late stages of the game. No quest to kill it. No comment from panicked citizens.

    No.

    It’s just there. Minding it’s own business. Slaughtering.

    And don’t get me started on the whole ‘Oh! You have a Writ of Fate! Oh I have a Writ of Fate too!’ *facepalm*

    If they forget IX and essentially ‘remake’ the previous M&M games with modern graphics and gameplay, I will die happy.

    And fail my PhD….

    • Saarlaender39 says:

      Oh yeah,…all those maps based on a 16×16 grid.
      I did those too.
      Actually, I did one map of the complete world of one of the games (which one was it…M&M3…I think).
      Oh happy days, when I still had the time for such tasks.

    • Pony Canyon says:

      Great post. This made me remember the Barrows from – I want to say it was VII. What a nasty dungeon. The Barrows were a series of doors with codes above them and each door you entered led to another room. The exits of rooms often did not lead back to their entrances. You had to use the codes to navigate it. And if you weren’t paying attention to that, you quickly became lost with an increasing amount of undead chasing you around. My party died many grisly deaths down in there.

  22. NamelessNP says:

    Bland generic fantasy worlds?
    But the series had a science fiction slant… They were anything but generic compared to most other rpgs.

  23. zeroskill says:

    Well i’m not going to comment on the subjective tone of the article.

    However, if this turns out to be anything like Clouds of Xeen / Worlds of Xeen, then I’m in. I personally loved diving into this generic fantasy world, I enjoyed IV / V greatly. Let’s hope they can deliver on that front. But i’m surely going to wait what fans of the old classics have to say about this, once it will see the light of day, before I buy.

  24. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    As long as it isn’t some kind of F2P online silliness: Yay!

  25. Premium User Badge

    Surlywombat says:

    Apparently I should be either: outraged by the article, or outraged that it is coming back.

    Since I have never played a M&M game I feel I’m missing out. So will feel outraged at that.

  26. Subject 706 says:

    “Not to be confused with the far superior Heroes Of Might & Magic games, the Might & Magic series was an increasingly terrible run of first-person RPGs, set in the blandly generic fantasy worlds, always somehow managing to feel about five years behind the rest of the industry”

    John Walker, have you been drinking the Johnnie Walker!? MM9 and 8 were weak, but the rest were anything but generic and bland!

  27. caddyB says:

    I actually like the way it looks. Oh and I just finished playing M&M 7-8-9 so BRING IT ON.

  28. John Walker says:

    Apologies for the confusion – as I said in the piece, from the late 90s to the early 00s they were terrible. But I rather poorly didn’t explain that properly. Amended.

    Really I’m not sure why the real point of controversy here isn’t that I wrote “it’s” instead of “its”.

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Oh well, it was nice to rant anyway

    • Risingson says:

      Well, but the only terrible ones are 8 and 9. 7 has its redeeming qualities, 3 to 5 are excellent (simply excellent) and 6 is pretty good. So I don’t know what are you referring to when you call it a weak saga or a bland fantasy environment. It’s like saying that all the Aliens games have been terrible just because of Colonial Marines.

      You made a lot of people sad here, John.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        The combat and exploration seem pretty good in M&M 3-5, but I watched a let’s play of World of Xeen and some things are just awful:
        – Utterly generic quests that make MMO quests shine in comparison: Brother Alpha telling you to go see Brother Beta who tells you to go see Brother Gamma and so on and so forth…
        – Stupid elements in dungeons such as a bunch of barrels you can drink from: some poison you, some give you stats, without any clue of which does what. It just becomes a game of reloading the game until you know which ones will give you the good stuff.

    • Chris D says:

      “Really I’m not sure why the real point of controversy here isn’t that I wrote “it’s” instead of “its”.”

      Is it because the “it’s is always short for it is” grammar rule is, of all the archaic and unnecessary rules in the English language, the one most in need of being dragged out behind the bike sheds and being mercilessly bludgeoned into the ground with a baseball bat with nails in, then bludgeoned some more until it’s the consistency of a fine paste, burned to white ash, locked in a box, tossed into the deepest depths of the ocean and eaten by a f&*king shark.

      I mean seriously. “Always use an apostrophe when something belongs to something, apart from this single arbitrary case, in which the meaning is always obvious from the context anyway and serves no other purpose than to allow pedants to feel smug.” SCREW YOU, ENGLISH LANGUAGE! SCREW YOU!

      Sorry. I needed that.

      • Premium User Badge

        JamesTheNumberless says:

        But it makes no sense to say it’s for anything except “it is”. “it” is the neuter term equivalent to “he” or “she” or “they”. We do not say “he’s banana” or “she’s banana” or “they’s banana” when referring to a banana belonging to a person or group, we say “his banana” or “her banana” or “their banana” and the neuter equivalent to his/her, is “its” – “the monster sat peeling its banana”. You should always read it’s as “it is” just as you always read “he’s” and “she’s” as “he is” and “she is”! And, for that matter, “they’re” as “they are”. I seriously have never understood why this one seems illogical to people. It’s just tricky because its and it’s look similar, which isn’t a fault of logic :)

        • Chris D says:

          We say John’s banana, Jim’s banana, the man’s banana, the banana’s banana, that thing over there’s banana, or at least we would if we were painfully obsessed with bananas. We don’t use an apostrophe for his banana because the s is part of the word, not an extra. For her and their bananas there’s no s at all so there’s nowhere to put it anyway, but if a man has a banana it is the man’s banana so if it gets an apostrophe then logically it should be it’s apostrophe.

          Now, don’t make me use my bat with nails in. I have a lot of English-lesson based trauma to work out of my system.

          • Premium User Badge

            JamesTheNumberless says:

            Look, I was hungry, and there was a banana on my colleague’s desk, Thom’s banana to be precise. Somebody has to protect the English language against threats of violence.

            The thing I’m getting at is that, “its” is a whole word, just as his is a whole word. They are equivalent in this case. The only case in which “It’s” would mean belonging to “It” would be if you had a creature named “It” and it possessed something.

            “his” makes sense to you because there is no word “hi” – “its” only doesn’t make sense to you because there IS a word “it” but it’s purely that and that alone that causes the confusion.

            So “it’s”/”its” is confusing because you’re easily confused, not because it doesn’t make sense ;)

            John ate his banana
            Sue ate her banana
            The dog ate its banana
            The dog then ate It’s banana, and It was really pissed off, so she ate the dog… Yes, It is a girl.

  29. Premium User Badge

    JamesTheNumberless says:

    Well done, first RPS article in a long time that’s made me bother to log in.

    Granted, the way the M&M series developed from 1998 onwards was dreadful but the games they produced in the early 90s were amazing. In the golden era of grid based RPGs. You have Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder on one side, being realtime, and the M&M games being turn based offered a different style of gameplay and a HUGE open game world with much more traditional roleplaying detail which was refreshingly different in many ways.

    The writing/setting may not have been the best, but the world was extremely detailed and the battles you could have were huge and tactical. Furthermore you could pick up and drop off characters as often as you liked, swapping party members in and out for specific quests – there were a ton of non-combat skills and the whole exploration side of the game, with so many quests I don’t think I ever played a single one of the early games to “completion”.

    The overworld map was cleverly done and made up for the somewhat boring dungeon design. Exploring the world, there was a perfect sense of progression from the beginning of the games where you can’t even swim, and you’re more or less dead if you leave the main roads, to the endgame where you’re teleporting around and roaming accross lava fields.

    A new game that truly does homage to those mid-series (91-94) M&M games is an exciting prospect. Obviously, I’m not terribly hopeful because every M&M game since Mandate of Heaven has been atrocious and I don’t expect them to own up to where they went wrong and go back to the old format. However, you’re doing the series, and the history of computer RPGs a whole a terrible injustice if you dismiss what was good about the M&M series on account of how they botched the transition from 2D turn-based to 3D realtime-with-pause. That’s the real issue with the later games. Out of so many developers who got it right in the early-mid 90s, how many of them couldn’t make that transition, and how many of them tried? How many of them are coming back now that both 2D and turn based are acceptable forms of game again?

    I demand a video of John Walker being forced to play World of Xeen! Or even M&M III on the SNES :)

  30. Einherje says:

    Hell yes! Wasteland 2, Torment, Project Eternity and now the awesomeness that is Might & Magic! The nineties are back in all their glory! That’s a good thing, right?

    … right?

  31. derella says:

    I don’t know if the game looks good or not, because the entire trailer was basically a giant X.

    I never really got into the M&M games myself… But I didn’t like the first person “cube of adventurers” dungeon crawlers, in general.

  32. Soberbandana says:

    I am really excited about this. Spent countless of hours playing through M&M 6 and 8. M&M 8 was especially awesome since you could have dragons in your party! DRAGONS! I had so much fun flying around and peppering enemies with my fiery breath while they watched helplessly from the ground below.

  33. Premium User Badge

    kdz says:

    I was born in 1994 and have no idea whatsoever what this article is about. I always thought that the older M&M games (especially VI: Mandate of Heaven) where classics. I don’t know if John’s opinion is for real or just a joke. Guess I’ll have to read all the comments and try to figure it out.

    Ooor some wiser, more experienced (which is just an euphemism for “old”, of course) reader could enlighten me. Please?

    • Soberbandana says:

      Might and Magic VI was indeed a classic and had a very favorable reception when it was released. I recently replayed it when GOG released it and it still plays very well. The interface is pretty clean and intuitive. The leveling up system is quite addictive and the story is really cool (it involves aliens of all things). The graphics surprisingly are not too bad. The game can be incredibly difficult at times though.

  34. Faceinstien says:

    I have been reading RPS for a long time and this is my first ever comment. And it is a comment of RAAAGGGEEEE!!! M&M VI (or 6 as I like to call it) was one of the only games I played when growing up.

    Having a not very good computer, nor much money as a child I was forced to buy, play and enjoy those Sold Out Software games you can buy from PC World for £5.99. M&M 6 was the one that I enjoyed the most, so much so that I introduced it to my friend and we would take 2 characters each and play together for hours on end.

    I oft read the “Gaming Made me” articles and if I were an RPS writer I think this, along with Age of Empires 2 would be the two “Games that made me”.

    The best thing about MM6 was that it was open world, this was the first time I experienced the joys of being told “the world is falling apart and only you can save it” and then going off to punch some goblins and old men instead! Skyrim does it well, but MM6 will always be my favourite…

    And the LOOT! The best armour in the game wasn’t some giant spiky thing, or something with dragons on it. No, it was quite simply GOLDEN ARMOUR!

    And the SPELLS! I am of the opinion that every RPG ever should include the “Finger of death” spell, purely because the sound effect for it was “DIE!”, who can forget the legendary battle against Q?!

    And the QUESTS! There were more massive quests/puzzles than you could shake a stick at, there was the obelisks, and that one with the golden statues, and one about a gong, and one about a harp, so many quests!

    And the SOUND! There is almost no situation I have encountered where I can’t quote or use a sound from MM6, be it “It won’t work!” from the potion crafting to “GOT IT!” from open trapped chests to “DIE!” from the Finger of Death. The music is also pretty nice!

    I am aware, Mr Walker that you said the games in the late 90’s and early 00’s were rubbish, but for me, being a, slightly younger gamer than some folk here, in the early 00’s I was playing MM6 and so still take offence at your words! (but yes, number 9 sucks!)

    Consider my exposition/rant/sermon/educational article at an end.

    • Pony Canyon says:

      My friends and I still say “Hitch up the horses!”, (used as “let’s go”).

      And the MUSIC! Although it didn’t really match the setting it was used in (Freehaven), this is still an incredible tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ5XjRBTEpU

      • Anders Wrist says:

        Not to mention some of the classical music that was played in the dungeons – Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor is one I enjoy in particular.

  35. pally says:

    Whoa, autor did not even make any research on M&M universe. I always thought that RPS does not allow that kind of biased, low quality articles on their site. i’m disappointed…..

    • Premium User Badge

      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Part of what makes RPS good, IMO, is precisely that the writers know games pretty well and react to industry news usually in more or less the same way as I do – without having to go through a corporate editorial filter first. That’s why you get a lot of good honest articles that really strike a chord with readers like me. Some are mad, some are enthusiastic, some are hillarious, some are profound and every so often one upsets me :) It’s easy to see where he’s coming from though, I have to admit that it’s been a very long time since I’ve been excited to learn about a new M&M game – I’ve come to expect crap from the series, and from HOMM I’ve come to expect that nothing they do will ever be better than HOMM III. However, what upset me was the way the entire series was apparently dismissed as though the only value M&M ever had was the fact that it spawned HOMM, when in fact there was a lot of merit in those early 90s M&M games and of all the long running game franchises I can think of, few are more deserving of redemption.

  36. leQuack says:

    M&MV is pure nostalgia for me, never got that far (unlike a friend of mine who was battling titans and stuff which made me super jealous), but I always remember this bit in a completely empty temple where there was this gong in the middle.

    If you sounded it, thousands of enemies would appear. Creepy as hell for a boy in his early teens :)

    • Pony Canyon says:

      Hm, that sounds like VI? But yea, that was a fun dungeon. Temple of Baa, I think?

      • Premium User Badge

        JamesTheNumberless says:

        No, it was a very un-fun dungeon in a very un-fun game. Every encounter in that game was the same. Huge group of monsters, in a huge open space, best encountered at range. As far as M&M VI and onwards goes John is justified in any degree of abuse he wants to give them. VI was the beginning of the end for the series and killed everything that was good gameplay-wise from the earlier games.

  37. malkav11 says:

    This feels a bit like dismissing the Ultima series on the strength of Ultima IX crashing and burning.

  38. Crosmando says:

    Guys, he’s not being serious, Walker is LARPing the video-game critics/journalists of the late 90’s, who were often noted to criticize the games of Might & Magic 6’s 3D engine as outdated

  39. bwion says:

    You couldn’t really accuse the Might and Magic games of being high art, and if your RPG sensibilities are the sort that thinks of the Baldur’s Gate games and Fallout as “old-school”, then these massive dungeon crawls with a million trillion fights and comparatively few conversations must seem positively antediluvian by comparison. They’re solid RPGs of their particular style, though, and it’s a style that even the so-called old-school have largely abandoned, so I’m happy to see something new in that vein that isn’t Legend of Grimrock. (I have nothing against Legend of Grimrock. I just never really played its predecessor so it hit no nostalgia buttons for me).

    Might and Magic IX was indeed terrible, though. I’m told it got less terrible some ways into the game, but I cannot vouch for this being true; it may be a form of dementia brought on by too much exposure to Might and Magic IX.

  40. Roderick says:

    Rubbish? 3DO did a magnificent job with parts VI,VII and VIII, which shaped my childhood.. Part VI being all retro and one of the largest RPGs I’ve ever played and part VIII with far more interesting features and different approach of starting solo and picking up a party as you play.

    Can’t wait to try this one out.

  41. tyren says:

    I really miss the setting that was used for Heroes 1-3 (and later M&M games but I didn’t play those). I wish Ubisoft had started over there instead of scrapping it and using their own setting.

    Also, while I’m in fantasyland, I wish they’d stop farming out Might & Magic franchise development to relatively unknown developers that are “huge fans of the series,” because that really hasn’t been working out all that well. The games aren’t terrible but whenever I play them I feel like they could be so much better than they are.

    Looking forward to checking this out though.

  42. Tom Servo says:

    I agree with all the outrage here and say that M&M 4-6 were actually very good games and I still have the boxed versions of them in my personal Hall of Fame. I think the series’ only problem was that there was really no innovation or changes to the gameplay after 6 and it grew increasingly repetitive.

  43. Daniel Diaz says:

    Clouds of Xeen and Darkside of Xeen are among my fondest gaming memories. I especially remember the sense of wonder when walking on the clouds after climbing the top of a tower. Good times.

  44. x1501 says:

    Not to be confused with the far superior Heroes Of Might & Magic games. . . If they’re relying on nostalgia, they’ve really picked the wrong series.”

    Might & Magic’s turn-based strategy spin-off began in 1995 and went downhill after 1999’s superb HoMM3.

    On the other hand, the Might & Magic series began in 1986, with M&M VI: The Mandate of Heaven still being hailed as a major critical success and a much-beloved beloved RPG classic. The series has been enjoying overwhelmingly positive reviews up until 2000’s lackluster M&M VIII.

    So talk about being confused. If they are trying to bank on nostalgia, there are few better choices out there than the classic Might & Magic series.

  45. Casimir's Blake says:

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be a first person action RPG dungeon crawler.

    That’s all I’m asking. If it’s even vaguely like the previous games in the series (just don’t make it grid-based), this will be more than we’ve had in the way of “first person dungeon crawlers with mouselook” in years. My god, I want this. And King’s Field 5, but that’s an even bigger ask, I suppose.

  46. oasis789 says:

    This is wonderful news to anyone who has played the previous games, some of which are absolute classics, like Clouds of Xeen and Dark Side of Xeen that combined into one giant game! Brilliant combination of fantasy and scifi. And they’re still available to play on modern hardware at GOG.com

  47. Strangerator says:

    Open worlds with texture
    Might and Magic got open world RPGs right in ways that modern games are unable or unwilling to reproduce. The thing that makes open worlds interesting is that the various parts of the world have a fixed character to them, independent of the player. Yes, that means sometimes the party is not ready for the dungeon right down the street from the first town. Players of mostly modern games would feel that if they can see a dungeon, they must be immediately able to tackle it. So designers now tend to instruct players of exactly where to go next, in very linear fashion. But I think the most tragic development in open-world game design has been the advent of constant enemy level-scaling. It turns what could be a wonderful world full of peaks and valleys of challenge into a flat desert. Individual locales lose their character since none of them have more or less “teeth” than others. The player also loses the agency of being able to choose whether they want to try something a bit over their head, or whether to play it safe with the easier dungeons. Also the Might and Magic open worlds were pre-GPS, so you would have to explore around a little bit.

    Enjoyable Dungeons
    Speaking of characterful, can you really argue that a game like Skyrim does dungeons better than Might and Magic? Skyrim had what seemed like an infinite number of dungeons full of Draugr, and they were so damned samey, with brain-dead puzzles. I never finished Oblivion for the same reason, got bored of the oblivion gate missions. Might and Magic dungeons (the good MMs anyway) all had different themes and enemies and traps. They had character, and though they might be fewer in number, they were each more memorable for it.

    Random Loot
    Might and Magic 3 was the first game I played that had random loot drops, although it was comically difficult to determine what weapons were better than others. Do I use the “obsidian bardiche” or the “diamond flail”? Usually this led to some trial and error by the player, and you’d just use whichever seemed to be working better. In some ways I miss this, in other ways not. MM6 struck a balance where you’d need to identify (which was a trainable skill) items in order to see their damage/armor stats or magical properties.

    Trainers
    One bone to pick with the trailer for X is the goofy looking “level up!” that pops up out of the character portraits. There were solid design reasons for the in-town trainers from the series, and I particularly enjoyed going out at level 1, coming back with experience, and then getting to train up to level 4 or something. It also provides a better setting for the thoughtful progression of all of your characters at once. Since you’re in a non-combat town setting, you can think about what skills you want and do more of a “big picture” level up session, especially since all of your characters are likely advancing a couple times each. I like this especially for party-based RPGs, since otherwise you will be stopping every ten minutes or so as a single character levels up and you make a hasty decision about some skill or another in isolation.

    Blasters
    Blasters were a skill in MM6. You know, space pew-pew guns. The only thing I think I need to add is that the skill didn’t appear on your character sheet at the beginning of the game. It really was shocking when you started uncovering them later on! Sorry if I just spoiled it for anyone. But yeah, there was a theme of exploring pyramids only find that they were ancient alien buildings filled with death-robots.

    • Premium User Badge

      JamesTheNumberless says:

      This. I miss the days when weapons and armour 1) were rare 2) were interesting 3) didn’t come with a manual detailing their attributes. I also lament the fact that most action RPGs nowadays have become more to do with balancing weapon and armour stats, than anything else. Anyone remember Dungeon Master? All you knew about a weapon was how heavy it was, what it looked liked, and what different ways you could swing it. You had to start using it to figure out what extra things you could do with it, how rapidly you could attack with it, and how much damage you could do with it. You didn’t even know intrinsically which skills it would improve. This led to so many interesting choices by players, sticking with weapons they liked rather than with what the cold hard statistics demanded was better.

  48. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    X marks the spot, X-men, do do de doo de roo doo doo….

    I wish the showed a bit more game instead of that weird X business.

  49. namad says:

    4,5,6 were all pretty good actually, 7 was decent, 8 was worse, 9 was awful, the company died,yeppers…

    unfortunately ubisoft’s might and magic (heroes) games are so far worse than 3do’s that I’m scared that MM10 will be worse than MM9!!!!! hoMM6 was pretty bad compared to oh say 3do’s homm3.

    plus? the plot of homm6 is nothing special at all, they should’ve done a plot more similar to the original series.

  50. MadTinkerer says:

    A new Might & Magic game. Huh. Well, Etrian Odyssey IV is pretty good, and Grimrock as well(as others have said), so it can be done right.

    Now if Wizardry gets revived, that’ll really be something to party about.