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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General RPG » Might and Magic VI pre-release beta video

Thumbs up Might and Magic VI pre-release beta video

May 21st, 2011, 17:26
I was searching through youtube one day to see if there were any betas of Might and Magic 6 recorded. As luck would have it, I found one here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjjZyZ3zxGU

There are a number of things that are different in the beta trailer:

1: Character portraits. I see that only 1 per character may have been put in because there are no facial expressions or winces when the fireball goes off in their faces.

2: Run might not have been implemented yet. Same with the colored monster gems and HP/SP bars.

3: The ranged fire attack graphics are different.

4: At one point, the fireball from a distance that comes towards you hits the peasant instead of you, something I've never seen before.

5: Water textures are different.

6: Inventories, items, and even the inventory GUI looks different.

7: What looks like the Abandoned Temple of Baa doesn't have a staircase leading down yet.

8: There are four statues that are never seen in the game.

If anyone finds any other betas like this, let me know.
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May 21st, 2011, 17:49
Nice one.

I still have first published screenshot on my disc. You can see some stuff not seen in the final game. Here you go


unofficial pre f.a.q. from 1997
http://www.filefactory.com/file/cb60…al_PRE-FAQ.HTM

official announcement from 1997
http://www.filefactory.com/file/cb60…d_Magic_VI.HTM
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May 21st, 2011, 18:30
Originally Posted by Dark Savant View Post
Nice one.

I still have first published screenshot on my disc. You can see some stuff not seen in the final game. Here you go


unofficial pre f.a.q. from 1997
http://www.filefactory.com/file/cb60…al_PRE-FAQ.HTM

official announcement from 1997
http://www.filefactory.com/file/cb60…d_Magic_VI.HTM
I just read through the whole thing. One thing I just want to say now is can you not use filefactory to upload files? Ads galore.

But it's very nice to see pre-release footage . In fact, I do believe I have some more in my own MM6 manual. A couple of screenshots that you would never find in the final release. One in P. 30 and one in P. 33. There are a few subtle differences that you don't see in the final release.

P. 30:

1: There's a stop sign behind the turn-based mode hand icon.
2: The automap looks different.
3: The HP and SP bars look like they're in glass tubes.

P. 33:

1: The glass HP and SP bars are there also.

I'll upload some pics of them when I can.
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May 21st, 2011, 19:14
Sorry for filefactory. Here are direct links

official announcement from 1997

unofficial pre f.a.q. from 1997

I also have official press release
Thursday April 30, 8:34 am Eastern Time

Company Press Release

3DO Announces the Highly Anticipated Release of Might and Magic VI
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—April 30, 1998—3DO today announced the retail availability of the epic new addition to New World Computing's Might and Magic series.

Might and Magic(R) VI The Mandate of Heaven comes from the same group of developers at New World Computing led by Jon Van Caneghem who redefined the genre with Might and Magic I through V. Unveiled to rave reviews at last year's E3 Show in Atlanta, gamers will finally feast their eyes on stunningly new technology and a brand new gameplay engine combining unique first person movement with both real-time and classic turn-based play.

``This is the best Might and Magic that I have ever made,'' said Jon Van Caneghem, President, New World Computing. ``It is by far the largest and most ambitious game in the history of role playing games (RPG) taking it to a level that has never been seen before with the combination of real-time and turn-based play. The game is literally huge and remains challenging all the way through the very end which is a testament to how the game design came together as we readied the product for retail.''

THE HISTORY
The Might and Magic series began with its first installment ten years ago and established itself as the most heralded RPG series of all time with an incredible story line and addictive game play model that kept its audience playing for literally hundreds of hours. The same team of developers has continued with this successful series, upping the ante in terms of fun and technologic advancement with every installment. Having sold over 3.5 million units, the series has won countless awards including garnering ``Game of the Year'' honors for each installment. Might and Magic VI The Mandate of Heaven is poised to follow this successful legacy and bring the PC gaming world once again to its knees.

THE TECHNOLOGY
Might and Magic VI takes computer role-playing into uncharted territory. Never before has a RPG had both a smooth-scrolling real-time engine and the ability to seamlessly switch between turn-based and real-time gameplay on the fly. The Labyrinth, and Horizon engines allow players full six degrees of freedom, including flight, in a 16-bit, high color world. This graphically rich environment will allow players to become fully immersed in the Might and Magic universe.

THE GAME
The Might and Magic VI world is huge, ten times larger than any of its predecessors with more than 1000 miles of virtual terrain, dozens of dungeons, caverns, crypts, and castles to explore. And, the world is alive through an integral time clock that allows for multiple plot lines to evolve simultaneously in real-time. In traditional Might and Magic style, players will explore a medieval world rife with intrigue, deceit, and surprise as they uncover the secret of what set them on this epic adventure. Might and Magic VI's living world allows players to interact with more than 500 non-player-characters, combat 200 monsters, and engage in hundreds of quests.
Another advancement in the RPG category is the ability of the player to control an entire party of adventurers. Each player has the chance to create a unique party of four adventurers composed of definite individuals with the free form character development system. The six character classes provide thousands of character possibilities and combined with the countless number of authentic weapons, armor, items, and robust spell schools make the replay value of this game infinite.

THE STORY
Since the mysterious disappearance of Good King Roland, the dynasty of child Prince Nicolai Ironfist I totters on the brink of ruin. Calamities, natural and otherwise, wrack the country while an ineffectual High Council and Regent concern themselves only with lining their pockets and winning petty power struggles. A doomsday cult has formed, pointing to the disappearance of Roland, the floods, the earthquakes, and an invasion of demons from the sky as evidence that the end of the world draws nigh. The people have begun to whisper that the Ironfists have lost the Mandate of Heaven — the divine right to rule. Can you put right what is wrong, or will the Ironfist lose its grip?

RETAIL AVAILABILITY
New World Computing proves once again that they have not lost their ``divine right to rule'' this category with the introduction of Might and Magic VI. The series has been a crowd-pleaser since it was first published in 1986 and since then has sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide. Might and Magic VI The Mandate of Heaven is now available with an expected retail price of $49.95 or $64.95 for the limited edition that includes a collector's edition CD, cloth map, and exclusive strategy guide. More information can be found on the Internet through the game's website located at http://www.3do.com/mm6. It is also available through 3DO direct sales at 1-800-336-3506 or online at the 3DO website at http://www.3do.com.
This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Potential risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, the Company's ability to develop and ship future products, market demand and acceptance for the Company's current and future software products, and the consequences of competitive factors in the marketplace. Further information on potential factors which could affect these forward looking statements and the Company's financial results are included in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company's Reports on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 1997 and the Company's Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal quarter ended March 31, 1998.

New World Computing, a division of the 3DO Company, is a worldwide designer, developer, and publisher of entertainment software. Founded in 1984, New World Computing is renowned for its technologically advanced products, offering the highest level of graphics and audio presentation to enhance the gaming experience.
The 3DO Company, headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment software for personal computers, the Internet, and advanced entertainment systems such as the PlayStation. 3DO markets and publishes its products worldwide under multiple brand names including New World Computing, Cyclone Studios, and Team .366. More information about 3DO products and the full text of certain press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.3do.com.

Note to Editors: 3DO, Might and Magic, Heroes of Might and Magic, New World Computing, Team .366, Cyclone Studios, and their respective logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of The 3DO Company.
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May 21st, 2011, 19:21
Darksavant,

It would be helpful to the community to make this available on GOG.

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May 21st, 2011, 19:29
Also have this interesting pre release interview with JVC by desslock
Interview with: Jon Van Caneghem, President and founder of New World Computing and designer of the Might and Magic series.

Some Questions about the Plot:

Desslock: I understand that plot of Mandate of Heaven begins in the Kingdom of Enroth with the Ironfist Dynasty on the brink of ruin. Floods, earthquakes, demon invasions - You're having a bad day. Can you give us a few other plot tidbits concerning Mandate of Heaven? Does the story begin shortly after the end of the Xeen games?

JVC: No. The world of Enroth and the world of Xeen are two distinct worlds in the same story "universe". Some of the same elements that were in previous Might and Magic games are retained in Might and Magic VI, and veteran Might and Magic players will know what I mean by this. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for newcomers to the Might and Magic story by describing them here!
This Enroth, however, and the Enroth of Heroes of Might and Magic are the same world. The story takes place roughly ten years after the Succession Wars of Heroes II, and things are not going well for Roland’s kingdom (Yes, the good guys won). Disasters, floods, demonic invasions, all these things have caused the people to question the legitimacy of the Ironfist dynasty. People have begun to say the Ironfists have lost the "Mandate of Heaven"—the divine right of kings to rule.

Desslock: One of the more interesting aspects to the storyline of Mandate of Heaven is the potential for the plot to branch in different directions depending upon the actions of your party. Can you elaborate on how your party's actions will affect the development of the plot?

JVC: As with all previous Might and Magic games, the Mandate of Heaven will permit players to go pretty much anywhere they want in the world, even if their characters aren’t up to the challenge. Obviously, we can only create a few endgame movies, but there are many legitimate ways to finish the game. Players are pretty much free to be good or evil and to pursue their own character development goals at their own pace.

Desslock: Will there be multiple endings to the game?

JVC: Yes! Besides death, there are three distinct ends to the game. More, I cannot reveal at this time.

Desslock: Will there be any characters, locations or items that will be familiar to Might & Magic veterans?

JVC: Actually, the most familiar characters will be the ones that have shown up already in Heroes. There will be some story elements that will put in an appearance for this game that have been used in the past. Specifically, Guardians come to mind as the most memorable story element we’ll be using.

Desslock: Does the game take place entirely within the Kingdom of Enroth? Will time travel or science fiction elements play a role in the story?

JVC: I can tell you the Mandate of Heaven story takes place entirely within the Kingdom of Enroth. I can also safely say we do not intend to use any time travel. More would be spoiling our secrets.

Some Questions on Gameplay:
Desslock: Have you made any significant changes to the character creation system compared to the Xeen games? How much of an opportunity will gamers have to individualize their four characters?

JVC: Gamers will be able to pick faces, classes, skills, and distribute statistic points for our standard seven character stats. We’ve taken a step away from the recent gaming trends in that not all characters will be able to do all things. Knights, for instance, will never be able to cast spells, and sorcerers will always suck when it comes to fighting.

Desslock: I've got to admit, I'm particularly impressed with the manner in which you intend to breathe "life" into the non-player characters ("NPCs") featured in Might and Magic VI. Can you elaborate on how NPCs will interact with your party and pursue their own "autonomous agendas", as your press material has stated?

JVC: NPC’s will have knowledge on topics that are appropriate for their professions, and will receive and transmit news about topics they are "interested" in. They will in many cases be willing to hire on and follow you around, or let you hire them to go and perform a specific task. They have personal schedules and travel itineraries, close their shops at the appropriate times, and refuse to speak to people they don’t like. Some of them are willing to take bribes, or are susceptible to begging or threats. Some only talk to characters with high fame or rotten reputations. We have all types.

Desslock: I understand that up to two NPCs will join your party. How much choice do you have over which NPCs tag along with you?

JVC: It is possible to have more than two followers, but if you have more than two, the excess will be quest NPCs that you are escorting or rescuing or arresting. You can hire up to two NPCs on a weekly basis. These hirelings will have some sort of benefit for having them along (usually) and you can fire them any time you like.

Desslock: I understand that there will be over 300 NPCs in the game? Will there be different types of NPCs (i.e., relatively static, minor ones as opposed to "major" characters)?

JVC: Absolutely. Our basic rule is this: Anyone walking around can be hired and is expendable as far as winning the game is concerned. Otherwise, it would be possible to ruin your game by killing an important NPC before you got to talk to him. On the other hand, many NPCs that you will speak with in what we call "town events" will be indestructible because we have no combat in such areas. These are the ones who will hand out important quests and be given complex text.

Desslock: I understand that certain NPCs may treat you radically differently depending upon the nature of your previous actions in the game. Can you elaborate on the manner in which your actions can affect the behavior of NPCs?

JVC: If your reputation is low, or the NPC you are speaking with has actually seen you commit some heinous crime, that person may refuse to speak with you unless you strong-arm them somehow. If you are known to be a horrible mass murderer of innocent peasants, most people will attack you or run from you on sight. Exactly how they react will be dependent on their personality, their profession, how powerful they are compared to you, and whether they are good, neutral, or evil.

Desslock: Can you elaborate on the manner in which M&M VI will be playable in "real time" mode, as opposed to traditional "turn based" mode (which is also available)? Is the default the "real time" mode, which essentially can be stopped and played "turn by turn"?

JVC: The default is real time. Whenever you want, you can quickly hit the enter key and start turn based mode, which means that you don’t have to make combat decisions based on reflexes alone. Unless you are rather powerful, you won’t want to fight monsters in real time because you won’t have time to react to their attacks with anything but readied spells, bows, and swords.

Desslock: Can you elaborate on some of the changes you have made to the "skill based" character development systems?

JVC: Our character development system is, in my humble opinion, simple, yet elegant. Characters begin the game with a few skills appropriate to their class and a few development points to spend on them. To get one rank in a given skill costs the same number of development points as the rank you’re advancing to. For instance, increasing your skill in Swords from rank three to rank four costs four development points.
Skill ranks are used to make all sorts of calculations. Everything from the chance to hit with your sword to the damage you do with a fireball is covered. It is also possible to become an expert or a master in a given skill (independent of skill rank). Expert or Master status comes with additional abilities, such as being allowed to use a dagger in your left hand and a sword in your right, or repair magic armor, or expand the radius and duration of your fire spells.

Desslock: I understand that you hired an architect to help you design some of the layouts of the dungeons and certain other locations in the game – an outstanding idea, by the way. One of the worst aspects of some role-playing games is the manner in which dungeons and other locations are strewn together illogically (but of course that orc wants to live next to that gargoyle, next to the skeleton, next to the dragon, next to Richard Simmons, etc.), ruining the immersive nature of the gaming world, in my opinion. Can you elaborate on the contributions of your architect?

JVC: One of the primary level designers has a background in architecture. And, we hired two graphic design specialists with lots of CAD experience, and they’ve helped quite a bit with getting the look of the dungeons and towers up to snuff. We’ve had a lot of experience designing dungeon levels, so rest assured that we won’t be putting the dragons next to the Richard Simmons’.

Desslock: How many different enemy or monster types do you anticipate including in the game?

JVC: There are a total of more than 180 types of monsters. This does not include different kinds of "human monsters" that you’ll run into, such as bandits, bounty hunters, and other kinds of miscreants.

Desslock: How many spells do you anticipate including in the game? What changes have you made to the spell system since the Xeen series?
JVC: There are 99 spells in the game, and the spell system is very different from previous Might and Magic games. There are 9 schools of magic (fire, air, earth, water, light, dark, spirit, mind, body) that are accessible to different classes of spell users, and it is possible to know each school to different skill and expert/master rankings. There are no material components necessary to cast spells, and your spell points regenerate after a sound night’s sleep. By sound, I mean at an inn. Camping is worse, and being hungry when you rest is worthless.

Desslock: Can you elaborate on how the new combat system will work?

JVC: That’s a pretty broad question, but I’ll take it to mean "How does your turn-based combat system work?" Taking any action in combat requires a short period of recovery. Skill in the weapon will shorten that period of recovery and better your chances to hit. Different characters will be allowed to take actions at different times, depending on their individual speed statistics and how slow their previous action was. Monsters will attack on their turns based on their own speed and recovery rates. There are no real "rounds" in our system—combatants simply take actions when it’s their turn. Quick fighters will eventually end up taking more actions than slow ones, and this can get as extreme as taking three dagger attacks to every one axe attack. Spells are considered attacks under this system, so each spell has a recovery rate associated with it. Sometimes expert and master status can reduce the recovery penalty from a weapon or spell.
The real-time combat is more of the twitch model using whichever default attack you have set for your characters and their speed is dependent on their rate of recovery.

Desslock: How interactive is the world of Mandate of Heaven? I understand that certain buildings will open into 3d environments, while others will simply "open" to a graphical depiction of the inside of the building. How detailed is the object interactivity in Mandate of Heaven? For example, will there be 3d objects you can interact with, such as bookcases with real books?

JVC: We really have three places you can be in the game. You can be outside using our Horizon engine (similar to a flight sim engine), you can be inside using our Labyrinth engine to explore dungeons, or you can be in a shop or other special location that is a simple graphical representation of a place. If you are in the either of the game engines, you are able to pick up and manipulate any reasonable item. Physics are modeled accurately for purposes of falling objects, light casting, and objects bouncing.

Desslock: I understand that your characters will both have an "actual" reputation, based upon actions they've done, and a "perceived" reputation, based upon NPCs knowledge (or perception) of your characters' actions. Please elaborate on the role reputation will play in Might & Magic VI.

JVC: True. Sometimes a NPC will not have heard of your crimes or your good deeds before you speak with them. This means that it is possible to outrun your reputation, although eventually everyone will have heard about the things you’ve been doing.

Desslock: I understand the "word based puzzles" from the earlier Might & Magic games will be making a return in Might & Magic VI. How big a role will they play in the game?

JVC: Yeah, you should expect to see at least a few word games in Might and Magic VI. Word games have always been a hallmark of the series, and we wouldn’t think of not including some in this game.

Desslock: You have indicated that the world of Might & Magic VI will truly be "dynamic", with locations growing, becoming re-inhabited, etc. Can you give us a few details concerning how the world will change throughout the game?

JVC: Just because you clean a dungeon out doesn’t mean that some other enterprising monsters looking for a new home won’t move in at some later date. Also, we will have weather, fluctuating shop prices, and a small population of traveling NPCs. Time marches on with or without you, so quests given out will sometimes go sour if you wait to long to finish them.

Desslock: How many hours of do you anticipate it will take the average gamer to complete the main story in Mandate of Heaven?

JVC: We have been pondering that ourselves as all of the elements are coming together as a whole. With the new real-time aspect of the game we really won’t know until we get a chance to play a complete build. Previous Might and Magic games have had broad ranges that have taken people anywhere from 30 hours to 200+ hours. We are shooting for 50-100, but it may take longer to complete it, depending on the player’s skill.

Some Questions about the Graphics, Sound and Interface:

Desslock: Might & Magic VI features not one, but two new 3d engines, the Labyrinth engine (for indoor locations) and the Horizon engine (for outdoor locations)- both of which look very impressive. Can you elaborate on the differences between the two engines? What are the relative advantages of the different engines? Will the change between engines change the manner in which your characters interact with the gaming world?

JVC: The Horizon engine allows us to do tricks with the terrain that we otherwise couldn’t have done with a single engine. I think the biggest difference this engine makes is allowing us to have complete towns that you can walk through without having to do some sort of simple town representation on the map. The Labyrinth engine permits a much more constricted viewpoint than the Horizon engine would allow, so it permits us to build dungeons with it. As far as the player is concerned, however, there is no real play difference between the two.

Desslock: You've been demonstrating some pretty impressive AVI cutscenes with Might & Magic VI. What's the role of these cutscenes in Might & Magic VI? Do they occur just as part of the Introduction and at the Ending?

JVC: No, there is one other place in the game where we use a lengthy movie scene. In other circumstances, we use the same technology that created the movies to illustrate shops, temples, throne rooms, and other miscellaneous, complex scenes with animation, only more conservatively.

Desslock: What kind of music to you anticipate including in the game? Will it be Midi or CD digital? Any particular type or style of music?

JVC: CD digital, of course. And the style is medieval or classical using the same musician who did the Heroes II music. No opera this time.

Desslock: There's no doubt that between the Labyrinth and Horizon engines, Might & Magic VI will definitely be the most graphically impressive game in the series. I noticed at the e3 that weather effects, animated water effects and dynamic lighting were all supported. One of the things which gamers may not appreciate from looking at screen shots is that there's virtually no pixelation of the objects in the 3d environment. What trickery is this <grin>? How'd you do that?

JVC: We use big textures and we don’t allow the player to get so close to a texture that pixels blow up enormous size. We also mip-map (resize) distant objects and textures so they appear better at long, medium and short ranges.

Desslock: I understand it that the engines will create a true 3d environment although, like most games of the genre, the monsters, etc. will appear as "sprites", and not polygonal objects?

JVC: Correct. We don’t think monsters and objects look good enough as polygonal objects to build an engine around that yet. When that technology finally catches up the quality of a simple sprite, then we’ll switch over.

Desslock: I understand that Might & Magic VI will include a detailed automap feature. Is there any "note-taking" feature to keep track of conversations with NPCs?

JVC: Of course. If an NPC says something significant, notes will be taken automatically. Maps, as in all Might and Magic games, are also handled automatically.

Desslock: I'm sure you realize that you just can't have a first person perspective game these days without getting asked the following question (even though it is more appropriate in respect of action based games with lots of polygons): Are you contemplating any support for 3d accelerator cards? If so, will you support specific cards or general APIs such as Microsoft's Direct 3d?

JVC: Yes. We will be supporting Direct 3D and through it the cards Direct 3D supports. [Editor's Note: Since the interview was conducted, 3DO has decided to nix the 3D accelerated version.]

Desslock: What are two features (perhaps among many) which you believe will set Might & Magic VI apart from other computer role-playing games?

JVC: I would say the most important feature is the technology of the two graphic engines. With this split in focus, we are able to get excellent models of both the indoor world and the outdoor world. Most first person games have to choose to focus on the outdoor world or the indoor world (usually the indoor) and the depiction of the other suffers.The second item is our skill system. We think that it smoothes out the progress of the game so that it is nearly equally difficult to play all the way through. Often a game is either very easy or very hard for certain levels of characters—usually very hard in the beginning and then ridiculously easy at the end. Might and Magic VI won’t suffer from this.

Desslock: How close is the game to commercial release? What is your current target release date?

JVC: March ‘98

Desslock: Hey, what's with that Minotaur king guy we keep seeing around?

JVC: Marketing seems to like that monster a lot, and I guess we in development are notorious for resisting their persistent requests for more graphics…so they reuse it a lot. I guess.

Desslock: You’ve announced that you’re working on Might & Magic Online. What do you have planned for this ambitious project?

JVC: Not ready to talk much about Might & Magic Online right now. What I can tell you is that it is a collaborative effort between New World and the Internet group from 3DO that have been working on Meridian 59. We are excited about the project given the expertise at 3DO and the RPG expertise at New World. The combination, we anticipate, will lead to a phenomenal "massively multiplayer" FRPG experience. Stay Tuned!

Desslock: One last, long question coming up, which ties into the theme of this RPG article on upcoming games. Deep breath: A lot of role-playing game fans are concerned that there have not been many RPGs produced over the past several years. After all, it has been several years since the release of the Xeen series, for example (although you've made two very well regarded Might & Magic strategy games), and there hasn't been a release of a core "Wizardry" or "Ultima" game for several years either.
One of the reasons cited for the recent dearth of role-playing games is the perception that such games only appeal to a limited, although devoted, number of gamers. In other words, the commercial market for traditional style role-playing games is perceived to be smaller than the potential market for computer games of other genres, such as first person action games or strategy games.
Given the fact that you've decided to go back to the core Might & Magic series and create another role-playing game in this environment, what did your development team do in order to entice more gamers to try a role-playing game?

JVC: We know the role-playing audience is unhappy about the low numbers of good games aimed at them. There is a feeling that role-players are a small audience and some game companies think there isn’t much money to be made selling to them. We think the role-playing audience is quite large. You just have to make a game that people want to play. Build it and they will come. So we’ve done that. And we make no assumptions that our players have played a role playing game before. We obviously want to draw in as many new players as we can while holding the interest of the veteran RPGer’s. It’s a tight wire to walk, but it can be done. Wish us luck!

Desslock: Thanks again for taking the time to consider these questions.

JVC: No problem! Always happy to answer a few questions.
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May 21st, 2011, 19:32
Originally Posted by shaf View Post
Darksavant,

It would be helpful to the community to make this available on GOG.

Shaf
How do you mean? To post at their forums? Unfortunately I am not registered there but you can always link to this topic.
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May 21st, 2011, 19:39
I have an account on GOG. What do you want done?
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May 21st, 2011, 20:15
Another interesting post m&m6 and pre m&m7 interview with JVC by Jonric of RPGVault fame. Date of this file on my disc is October 28. 1998
In late April, New World Computing and 3DO released Might & Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven, the only high-profile CRPG to reach store shelves during the first part of this year. Well-crafted and nearly bug-free, it provided legions of hungry RPG fans with hundreds of hours of solid gameplay. It's a few months later now, and with Might & Magic VII: For Blood and Honor well into development, I thought it might be a good time to follow up on the recent past and on the future with NWC's Jon Van Caneghem, the driving force behind the entire Might & Magic series.

Jonric: Let's start at the beginning of Might & Magic VI. What factors led you to decide to revive the series at a time when the RPG genre was not exactly thriving?

Jon Van Caneghem: The lack of competition was certainly a factor, as well as the simple fact that we had not made a Might and Magic for quite some time. With our fans clamoring for another Might and Magic, it was the perfect time to make an RPG.

Jonric: Overall, the reviews of Might & Magic VI rated it as very good, but not at the level to become a "classic" of the genre. Do you think this was a fair assessment? Are there any areas that you think the reviews under- or over-emphasized?

Jon Van Caneghem: Sure. Only so many games can become classics! On the whole, we felt that both our fans and reviewers treated us fairly. When you are so close to a project for so long, it's hard to tell what's going to work in the game and what's not. After a lot of reflection on the comments and criticisms of the public, we found that we agreed with most of the popular opinions.

Jonric: Perhaps the most frequent criticism of the game was that it was too combat-intensive, and that combat was too repetitive - you fought one group of monsters, then went only a short distance before having to fight another group of the same monsters. Care to comment?

Jon Van Caneghem: I think so too - for the most part. There were too many monsters in general, and it could get tiresome fighting the same group of monsters over and over, especially if they did something that "conditioned" your characters, like poison or break armor. In Might & Magic VII we intend to reduce the number of monsters you have to fight, and it will be quite common to talk or bargain your way out of fights if you want.

Jonric: That sounds like a change which will add nicely to the new game. If you could have added, changed or improved one more thing before releasing the last one, what would it have been, and why?

Jon Van Caneghem: It seems small, but I would have liked a re-mappable keyboard. A lot of players said that they couldn't get used to the default keyboard setup. We had originally intended to include this feature, but we just didn't have time before the game shipped.

Jonric: On the positive side, Might & Magic VI drew quite a lot of praise for having few bugs. Did you do anything special in terms of QA?

Jon Van Caneghem: In the last few weeks before any major product ships, just about everyone in the office is playing the game and reporting bugs. You could say our QA department quadruples in size at this time. It really helps work everything out.

Jonric: OK, that's what the media and the public said. As the game's developer, what do you feel the game's major strengths were?

Jon Van Caneghem: Although controversial, I feel the most important thing was turn based/real time system of combat. We really gave this a lot of thought, and I think this was the key to bringing Might and Magic's party based system into the post-Doom 3D world. The only adjustment I would like to make to that system is permitting movement in turn-based combat. I was also very happy with the skill system and the combat balance.

Jonric: Are you happy with sales of Might & Magic VI? Did you release it in any other languages, and are any more planned?

Jon Van Caneghem: Sales have met expectations, and we are quite satisfied with the game's retail performance. And yes, it has been translated into Dutch, French, Japanese, and German. I think that all other translations (Spanish and Italian) are in the works, and we won't be making any more.

Jonric: Blizzard recently announced that their RTS, Starcraft, which was also released earlier this year, has sold over a million copies to date. Diablo, which many class as "RPG Lite" has sold even more, and is still going strong. Do you think it's possible for a "hard-core" RPG to sell that kind of quantity? Why or why not?

Jon Van Caneghem: Certainly. I believe that the Final Fantasy series has achieved that level of success, and it is a complex role-playing game with a higher than average learning curve. With the ever-increasing spread of the PC, we have a better chance of meeting those figures with each passing year.

Jonric: Do you have any research or feedback to tell you whether people are playing Might & Magic VI through more than once?

Jon Van Caneghem: There's no formal research, but from what I can tell by reading message boards and news groups (as well as talking to friends), I would say about 20% of those who finish the game play it through again. Most people who replay are looking to play a different class of character or go through the game stressing different kinds of skills to see how it plays.

Jonric: The idea for the NWC dungeon was a lot of fun. Where did it come from?

Jon Van Caneghem: One of the level designers had made the dungeon as an internal joke during development, and we all thought it was pretty funny, so we threw it in as an Easter egg at the last minute.

Jonric: Glad you did. What major changes will you be making for Might & Magic VII? To what extent were any of these influenced by player and/or media feedback?

Jon Van Caneghem: We are VERY interested in the feedback we received on MM6. Here's a quick list of a few of the most important things we're going to change or add for MM7:
Monster vs. Monster combat: Players will see monsters fight with each other in MM7. They will often have a chance to intervene in a combat to help choose the winner. Players will also be able to summon monsters or charm them into fighting on their side.
Plotline: There will be several instances during the game where the players will be asked to make a decision that will radically alter the story for the rest of the game. Also, the characters will be persons of importance very quickly. This spells the end of "go fetch my staff from the woods for a reward" quests.
Classes and Races: Players can choose from three new classes (monk, thief, and ranger) and three new races (dwarf, elf, and goblin).
Castle Ownership: The players will get a chance to own and operate their own castle. They'll be able to make improvements, store treasure, and hire retainers at this castle.
There will also be 3D accelerator support, a re-mappable keyboard and movement during turn-based combat

Jonric: Sounds great. Are there any significant changes to the design team this time around?

Jon Van Caneghem: No.

Jonric: When can we expect Might & Magic VII to be released? Aside from its own merits, Might & Magic VI stood out simply because it was the only major RPG this spring, but the new game won't have that advantage. What will make it stand out?

Jon Van Caneghem: Might and Magic VI will be released in March of '99. It isn't a one-horse show - it doesn't rely on any single feature to make or break it. Might & Magic VII will stand out as a product that shines in all departments: excellent graphics, combat, story, music, and interface.

Jonric: Lofty goals indeed. What can you tell us about the storyline for Might & Magic VII? I understand it will tie into both Might & Magic VI and Heroes of Might & Magic III. Is that correct?

Jon Van Caneghem: Yes. The story takes place on the edge of the kingdom of Erathia just after the wars chronicled in HOMM3 reach their conclusion. There were a lot of loose ends (Archibald!) in Might and Magic VI that need tying up, and there will be a few loose ends in Heroes III that need tying as well. The story revolves around a conflict that arises between the Human and Elven kingdoms over a small valley kingdom that the PLAYER is in charge of. Although the war seems straightforward at first, there are plans within plans hidden behind the simple façade of a border dispute. In this story, even the puppet masters have masters.

Jonric: How far ahead are you looking? Assuming it would use a new engine, you would have to be thinking about Might & Magic VIII already if you want to release it before the end of 2000. Anything you can tell us at this point in time?

Jon Van Caneghem: One word: Ancients.

Jonric: Heheh. Interesting yet mysterious. I seem to recall that you were thinking of a Might & Magic Online game. Any plans along those lines? Any plans for a Might & Magic game with multi-player capability for a small group?

Jon Van Caneghem: Plans for an MM Online have not died, just been delayed. We are not convinced that the business model is a successful one. If we start to see other companies make profits, well start the idea up again. As for multi-player capability in the stand-alone Might and Magic game, we're thinking about it, but not for MM VII.

Jonric: Before we end, let me ask which upcoming RPGs, if any, you are most interested in seeing and playing.

Jon Van Caneghem: I, for one, am looking forward to Diablo II and Ultima: Ascension. Diablo isn't exactly a role-playing game, but I thought the first one was a lot of fun.

Jonric: Alright, last question. Any thoughts or predictions as to the future of the RPG genre?

Jon Van Caneghem: One day, we'll be bigger than movies!

Jonric: Cool. And when I'm the Siskel and Ebert of RPG reviews, I'll be sure to invite you on my TV show as a guest. 8-) For the moment however, thank you very much for sharing some of your thoughts with me and with our readers.
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May 22nd, 2011, 13:28
The NPC things seems impressive but I suspect more a marketing trick than a point really that important in the game. I have never been much interested by this series after to have played 1&2&3 (and tried a little bit one much later perhaps the last). But I'm surprised to not have heard about this point if it is that significant in the game.
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May 22nd, 2011, 17:53
Here are some screenshots from what I assume was Might and Magic 6 during the beta testing:

MM6 beta.jpg

might-and-magic-vi-the-mandate-of-heaven_thumb350x198.jpg

mm6-320.gif

Did you know that there is an unused portrait for each playable character in the final version? You have to use a program called MMArchive to see it. It shows what look like the Diseased status.
Last edited by Blinn; May 23rd, 2011 at 00:51.
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May 22nd, 2011, 21:30
Lol. The first one is same as on my posted image and the skeleton is also in the same pose. I saw the second one in a local magazine preview in 1997, together with some other screenshots
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May 22nd, 2011, 22:07
Yeah, but isn't it nice to see them with a bigger size?
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May 23rd, 2011, 00:21
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
The NPC things seems impressive but I suspect more a marketing trick than a point really that important in the game. I have never been much interested by this series after to have played 1&2&3 (and tried a little bit one much later perhaps the last). But I'm surprised to not have heard about this point if it is that significant in the game.
I suppose that if none of the two experts of this game answered me, either:
  • a) they are blind.
  • b) they don't know read
  • c) they got irritated that I mention the series never interested me that much
  • d) I'm right, this NPC system is fake and just a marketing trick but an insignificant detail in the game
  • e) they hate me
What you think is the right answer?
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May 23rd, 2011, 00:44
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
I suppose that if none of the two experts of this game answered me, either:
  • a) they are blind.
  • b) they don't know read
  • c) they got irritated that I mention the series never interested me that much
  • d) I'm right, this NPC system is fake and just a marketing trick but an insignificant detail in the game
  • e) they hate me
What you think is the right answer?
How about f: I posted this thread to upload and attract images and footage of MM6's pre-release stages, not get into a big discussion about NPCs and marketing. That's not my cup of tea.

If you want to have a discussion about that, make a separate thread, but don't come on here and whine about your posts not being answered, because frankly, people have better things to do than listen to someone complain about people "ignoring" you.
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May 23rd, 2011, 02:19
Dasale, I'm deleting your previous post and issuing you a public warning to cease your trolling and to change your sttitude towards others, or I WILL take alternative action which you won't enjoy!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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May 23rd, 2011, 11:33
Originally Posted by Blinn View Post
make a separate thread, but don't come on here and whine about your posts not being answered, because frankly, people have better things to do than listen to someone complain about people "ignoring" you.
So Mr Corwin now posts are forbidden to not stick to the subject or it's just for me, LOL.

And moreover Trolling forbidden now? LOL. If that's the new rules of the forums you can do want you want I never lost time in such forums.

I perfectly know it's not a matter of justice or anything and just a matter of feeling, and you need keep some order but there's limit. So go on do what you think you must, delete all posts and ban me. I just can't accept such obvious lack of fairness.


EDIT: Moreover it's mad to think make a forum thread a reference, wake up it's just forum not wiki!

EDIT2: And if you want someone don't answer through a post to you order actions, I have a little advice:

Start yourself by not make it through a post. Now go one delete posts that embarrass you.
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May 23rd, 2011, 18:30
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
I suppose that if none of the two experts of this game answered me, either:
  • a) they are blind.
  • b) they don't know read
  • c) they got irritated that I mention the series never interested me that much
  • d) I'm right, this NPC system is fake and just a marketing trick but an insignificant detail in the game
  • e) they hate me
What you think is the right answer?
To answer your question in two sentences. NPC system is as described in interview but it sounds far better as it actually is. And yes, you are right, it is more or less insignificant part of the game.
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May 23rd, 2011, 20:27
Just out of curiosity, has anyone ever seen MM6 back in the day when it was being developed? A working beta of MM6 (though that's highly unlikely)? Or was the testing done internally? I may have overlooked someone saying that the testing was going to be done that way.

Perhaps someone should ask John Van Canegham if he still has the old, pre-release versions lying around somewhere. I for one would be very interested to see what was on there that didn't make it in the final cut.
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May 23rd, 2011, 20:43
3.9 Will 3DO have public beta testing for M&M6?
-I have asked them and the answer I got said that all beta testing would be done internally.
Personally I never heard of any M&M public available beta.
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