As we were showing our concepts around, we realized two things: first, players today are not used to control a party and have freedom of movement in first person anymore. Their first reaction is “who’s my character?” or “why can’t I see my sword and swing it around?” In other words, it seems that for most players nowadays (even players who grew up playing Mandate of Heaven) a first-person game with freedom of movement means FPS-like gameplay or a Skyrim-like single character action-RPG.
However, when facing a grid-based, turn-based game like World of Xeen, those same players immediately say “oh I see, it’s old-school, it’s turn-based, I control a party, I’m moving on a grid.” Even young’uns players not used to this kind of RPGs could see that it was “kinda like a board game.” People were getting it immediately.
That’s something we couldn’t ignore. Our conclusion was that getting back to free movement could make sense for future installments, but didn’t seem to be the best move for the first Might & Magic RPG in ten years. We had to go back to the roots first: tile-based, turn-based, old-school all the way!
Going for a tile-based gameplay also means it’s easier to provide tools and editors for players to create their own adventures, which is one of the things we really wanted for this project. But we’ll talk more about this particular aspect in a future blog post…
And of course, there's no denying it also makes the development of the game easier for us as well, since we don't have to spend too much time on topics like pathfinding, hit detection, or collision detection, allowing us to focus on other aspects of the gameplay.