Posts Tagged ‘Dark Messiah of Might & Magic’

Dark Messiah Of Might & Magic Is Ten Years Old Today

Kick me in the pants, Dark Messiah of Might & Magic is ten years old. That’s ten years since Arkane released their first-person fantasy game about kicking men (or orcs) in the pants. And about slicking the ground with ice using magic, then watching men (or orcs) slip on it and fall off cliffs. Or about being knocked down yourself and being able to see your pants, because it was a rare-at-the-time first-person game in which you had a body.

It was good, except for the bits that weren’t, and in its creative slapstick murder there lies some of the roots of Dishonored. We’ve gathered a few thoughts below.

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Have You Played… Dark Messiah Of Might & Magic?

This would be a very sensible location for a safety rail.

Don’t play Dark Messiah of Might & Magic as an archer. You might think yourself a cool sneaky sniper, but you’re only ruining your own fun. No, be a warrior or wizard. Rebind ‘kick’ to a convenient key. Now mash that key. Kick soldiers into spikes. Kick barrels into soldiers. Kick orcs off ledges. Kick them through barricades. Lay an ice trap then kick your foe into a fire after they comically slip. Dark Messiah is Ragdoll Murder Physics: The Game – Secrets of Trapland.

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Dishonored Honours Us With Details

He looks like Napoleon in rags

Dishonored being, you might recall, the next game from Arkane (now augmented with Deus Ex mega-brain Harvey Smith), and one with a very pleasant whiff of the immersive sim about it. Meaty facts are reserved for the latest dead tree edition of Game Informer, but a new overview gives us the first screenshot and a better sense of what’s going on in this world of optional assassination and rodent-bothering.
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Dark’n’Ion Stormy: Arkane’s Dishonored

Strider!

New IPs? Nah, we don’t do that anymore, sunshine. Too risky, see. People only want to buy things they’ve already heard of. Or is it that publishers are only prepared to invest enormous marketing budgets in what they consider surefire hits already, thereby damning their less-established names to relative obscurity even before they make it out the starting gate? I forget. Bethesda’s one of few big publishers still prepared to take a risk. Granted, Hunted was a bit of a misfire and Brink didn’t quite scale the heights we were hoping, but that makes it doubly pleasing that Beth are continuing to push new names.

Just as excitingly, this is the highly mysterious new game from Arkane -they of Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. Bonus – they recruited Deus Ex veteran Harvey Smith as co-creative director. Bonus bonus: they also recruited the visual architect of Half-Life 2’s City 17, Viktor Antonov. It’s called Dishonored. We barely know anything at all about it. We’re really very excited.
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Making of: Arx Fatalis

[An unusual one this. Normally I interview the Project Lead or Lead Designer or similar. In this case, I was actually interviewing Christophe Carrier, who was Sound lead at Arkane on this Ultima Underworld-inspired RPG (Christophe, when asked for inspirations, simply stated “We wanted to make Ultima Underworld 3”). This was done when I was visiting Arkane before Dark Messiah of Might And Magic hit. And since I’m in Paris today, seems as good a time as any to repost it.]

Arx puns probably would be a good idea here.

How does a development team start? Where do they come from? How are they begat? They happen because of one thing: people decide that, actually, we’d like to do it our way for once. People coming together from different places, meeting and going forth. Arkane’s Christophe Carrier had worked in the games industry for most of the nineties, when not in bands. His first experience was in Quality Assurance (QA) “I was working for Electronic Arts as a QA person – fixing things, organising the testing, going to England to test games,” he recalls, on things like Bullfrog’s Theme Park. Then he moved into areas more relevant to his talents. That is, working primarily in the field of sonics. “I did all the sound for a game called Hexplore for Infogrames,” remembers Christophe, “Before a game for the PS1, which was where I met Raphael and we worked together.” That is, Raphael Colantonio, the future charismatic CEO of Arkane, it was the sort of fateful meeting which helps form a country. “He decided to do this game,” Cristophe says, “He created this company and I put money into it, and I worked on our first game. I made the sound and the SFX… and then got into the design”.

“This game” was a little thing called Arx Fatalis.
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