|Might and Magic|
The global logo for the brand under Ubisoft Entertainment.
|Publisher||New World Computing (1986-1996)|
The 3DO Company (1996-2002)
|First release||Might and Magic Book One: Secret of the Inner Sanctum (1986)|
|Latest release||Might and Magic IX (2002)|
"Fantastic adventures await you. Challenging quests abound and battles innumerable must be fought. Do you have the might to emerge victorious? Only time will tell..."
—Corak the Mysterious
The Might and Magic RPGs (formally named Might and Magic) are a series of nine computer role-playing games developed and published by New World Computing until 1996, after which point The 3DO Company assumed the role of publisher. Consisting of nine entries, the series was created and produced by Jon Van Caneghem. The Might and Magic RPGs were the original installments in the Might & Magic franchise, and are considered one of the defining examples of early computer role-playing games, along with the Ultima, The Bard's Tale and Wizardry series. Their success generated multiple spinoffs, including Heroes of Might and Magic, King's Bounty and the Ardon series. The first entry, Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum, was first released in 1986, while the most recent game, Might and Magic IX, was released in 2002, the next release, Might & Magic X: Legacy will be released on September 2013 as a reboot.
Each Might and Magic RPG consists of a full free-roaming gameworld set in a first-person perspective, and the series shares a continuous storyline and universe. All the games - primarily turn-based until 1996's Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven - feature a party of user-generated characters, the same base statistics, and common interactive elements including their towns, monsters, quests, dungeons, time progression and skill systems. The storyline follows the search for a powerful "progenitor race" of space-travellers known only as the Ancients. In each of the games, a party of characters fights monsters and completes quests on one of the Ancients' colonized planets, eventually becoming involved in the Ancients' affairs.
Although the first seven installments were received positively, it was considered that the series entered a decline with its latest entries Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer and Might and Magic IX. Financially, the series achieved success, having sold in excess of 3.5 million copies by 1999 alongside Heroes of Might and Magic. In 2009, the first six RPGs was on the Good Old Games digital download service. The games also maintain a committed fanbase, which has spawned several modifications and total conversions including Might and Magic: Swords of Xeen, Might and Magic Tribute: Book of Ceth and Might and Magic VI: The Chaos Conspiracy.
There are 9 games in the series, consisting of:
- Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum (1986; Apple II, 1987; DOS, Commodore 64, Mac, NEC PC-8801 (Starcraft), 1988; MSX (Starcraft), NEC PC-9801 (Starcraft), 1991; NES (American Sammy), 1992; PC-Engine CD (NEC Avenue))
- Might and Magic II: Gates To Another World (1988; Apple II, DOS, NEC PC-8801 (Starcraft), NEC PC-9801 (Starcraft), 1989; Commodore 64, MSX (Starcraft) 1990; Amiga, Mac, 1991; Sega Genesis (Electronic Arts), 1993; SNES (Elite Systems, Europe only), SNES (Japanese version))
- Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra (1991; DOS, 1992; Amiga, NEC PC-9801 (Starcraft), 1993; Mac, PC-Engine CD (Hudson Soft Company), Sega-CD (CSK Research Institute), 1995; SNES (FCI/Pony Canyon), Sega Genesis (Never release, prototype ROM image on internet))
- Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen (1992; DOS, 1993; NEC PC-9801 (Starcraft))
- Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen (1993; DOS, NEC PC-9801 (Starcraft))
- Might and Magic: World of Xeen (1994; DOS, 1995; Mac)
- Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven (1998; Windows)
- Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor (1999; Windows)
- Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer (2000; Windows, PlayStation 2)
- Might and Magic IX: Writ of Fate (2002; Windows)
- Might & Magic X: Legacy (September 2013, Windows)
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, Might and Magic: Swords of Xeen and Might and Magic Tribute (under development).
In August of 2003, Ubisoft acquired the rights to the Might and Magic franchise for $1.3 million USD after 3DO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Ubisoft has announced two new projects using the Might and Magic brand — a fifth installment of the Heroes series, developed by Nival Interactive, and a game called Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, developed by Arkane Studios. Another Spinoff is in the works called Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, developed by Capybara Games.
In September 2009, the Might and Magic Sixpack was re-released via the digital distribution service, Good Old Games. In March 2011, The seventh and eighth installments of the series were also added to Good Old Games.
The majority of the gameplay takes place in a medieval fantasy setting. 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 scrolling three-dimensional environment similar to that of Doom. 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 encountered tend to be well-known fantasy staples such as giant rats, medusas, dragons and zombies, rather than original creations.
Although most of the gameplay reflects a distinctly fantasy genre, the overarching plot of the series has something of a science fiction flavor. The series is set in an alternate universe where planets are overseen by powerful beings 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.
The first five games in the series concern a renegade planetary guardian named Sheltem who has a penchant for throwing planets into their suns. Sheltem establishes himself on a series of weird planets and Corak, a representative of the Ancients, with the assistance of the player characters, sees him off each time. Eventually both Corak and Sheltem are destroyed.
The sixth, seventh and eighth games take place on a single planet ruled by the Ironfist dynasty, and chronicle the events and aftermath of an invasion of Kreegan. The Heroes of Might and Magic series traces the fortunes of the Ironfists in more detail.
- MobyGames' entry for the Might and Magic Series
- The plot and history of the Might and Magic series on Celestial Heavens
- Might and Magic Tribute
- List of Might and Magic releases including games, books and other collectibles
- The Erathian Liberation Party (TELP)
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