It has been eleven years since we've seen a main entry in the Might & Magic series. There have of course been spinoffs in that time, such as the well received Heroes of Might and Magic or the ho-hum Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, but no release since 3DO's collapse has been able capture the essence of what made the series great in the first place. Ubisoft has chosen to make a grand return to the series' roots with Might & Magic X Legacy — an RPG being primed to please fans and newcomers alike. RPGamer recently had the opportunity at PAX East to chat with the game's Creative Designer & Writer, Julien Pirou, about this upcoming RPG and the legacy of the Might & Magic franchise.
Trent Seely (RPGamer): Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat with us about Might & Magic X Legacy.
For those of our readers who aren't well versed with the Might & Magic series, could you provide a brief rundown and why it is now coming back?
Julien Pirou (Creative Designer & Writer): Might & Magic was an RPG series that started in the 80s and was one of the franchises to really define the RPG genre. There was Ultima, Wizardry, The Bard's Tale, and Might & Magic — those were the big four. Might & Magic was built around first-person, turn-based combat with a party of adventurers. This evolved a bit over time; Might & Magic VI, VII, and VIII offered the possibility to play real-time as well. The last released game in the Might & Magic RPG series was Might & Magic IX in 2002. It wasn't very successful and was one of the last games published by 3DO, which was the owner of the brand at that time, as it was getting out of business. It was rushed and it was sad that the core series ended on a sad note.
All this time I was a really huge fan of the Might & Magic games, so I really wanted to give the series another shot. When I joined the team three years ago, the first thing I said was, "Okay, Might & Magic X — when?" Since then I've been pestering pretty much everyone about it, and its finally getting done so I'm quite happy.
TS: What is the approach you took with this new entry in the long-running series?
TS: So what is the overarching narrative of Might & Magic X Legacy? Does it pick up directly where Might & Magic IX left off in 2002?
JP: I can't go into too much detail on the story at the moment, but I can say that there has been a reboot of the Might & Magic universe since Ubisoft acquired the license in 2004. The older games have a science fiction element to them, but the Ubisoft universe is pure high-fantasy. So, it's not a direct sequel to Might & Magic IX — it takes place in the Ubisoft Might & Magic universe, ten years after the events of Might & Magic Heroes VI. It does not require having played Heroes VI, but if you have played Heroes VI and the adventure packs there will be some familiar characters and events. At the same time, since it is Might & Magic X, if you are familiar with the lore and characters of the older 3DO games there might be a few surprises in the game.
Might & Magic X Legacy's story is set in an area of the world of Ashan known as the Agyn Peninsula. In this land, there is a huge city (Karthal) that belongs to the Holy Empire, which is one of the main political powers of Ashan, but is out of the borders of the Empire and trying to gain its independence. There are many other powers attempting to influence or capture the city. The player, at first, is not really involved in these events, but as you grow in power and become in different factions your actions have a greater effect on the future of this city.
TS: It's exciting to see this series make a grand return, but you have to wonder how newer players will react to this gameplay where the RPG landscape has changed so much. How has the reaction been so far at PAX East?
JP: We're really overjoyed with the feedback. Many RPG players have stopped by to check the game out and fans of the series have said that they turned up at PAX East just to see what the game was like. It's overwhelming.
TS: What are your favourite elements of Might & Magic X?
JP: There are many things that I'm pleased with, but its mostly smart changes to the formula. We are roughly 70% World of Xeen, in gameplay terms, but have also included elements of Might & Magic VI and later games as well. The skill system is very similar to that of Might & Magic VI — novice, expert, master, and grandmaster tiers where you had to find trainer to get the next level. I really love that. It's a little different [in Might & Magic X Legacy], but the basics are the same. Another game that I really liked, which was released on the PlayStation 2 quite a while ago now, was Wizardry: Tale of the Sacred Land. It added the very neat idea where party actions could be used during combat. A character could cover his comrades and block attacks with his shield. It's something that I thought was very tactical and interesting, so we've implemented [the same concept] in Legacy's battles as well. Now, you don't only have magical abilities — you also have melee actions, like defending your party. I feel like it adds a bit more to the gameplay.
TS: Is there much DLC or post-campaign content planned for the future?
JP: Right now? No. It could definitely happen in the future, but we're currently focusing on delivering the best product possible. Something fans can appreciate and new players can get into.
TS: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
JP: If you love RPGs where you have to think and tactics play an important part, you should keep an eye open for Might & Magic X Legacy.
RPGamer would like to thank Julien Pirou for participating in this interview. Might & Magic X Legacy looks like the game long-time fans of the series have been waiting for. Check out the official website for further details and media.