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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Might & Magic I - Retrospective @ RPG Codex

Default Might & Magic I - Retrospective @ RPG Codex

August 19th, 2012, 00:10
RPG Codex has done another one of their retrospective interviews. This time they've talked to Jon van Caneghem from New World Computing, the company behind the Might and Magic games. Today Jon van Caneghem works at EA as a general manager for Command and Conquer. Thanks Crooked Be
And with this introduction, onto some quotes from the interview, first about if he would have changed anything:
RPG Codex: As one of the most distinguished game developers, what was the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? Looking back at your career now, is there something you would have done differently? JVC: The biggest challenge for me was being the designer / creator of the games and the CEO of the company. This dual role always created personal conflict. On the one hand I wanted to make every game perfect, more features, better polish… and on the other I had to pay the bills. My ongoing compromise was: if I stayed profitable, I will always be able to make another game. Doing something differently, would have to be not giving up programming. In the early days I did all the coding, but as the projects got bigger I had to focus on overseeing the teams. I really enjoyed programming.
A quote on how Might and Magic would be different from Wizardry.
PG Codex: In what ways did you intend Might and Magic to be different from Wizardry and Ultima, design-wise? What did Wizardry and Ultima lack that you wanted to do in your games? JVC: Wizardry and Ultima were great inspirations for me. But I wanted to make my own vision for a CRPG. I wanted more of an open world feel with quests, puzzles and an emphasis on exploration and discovery. I wanted party based tactical combat, tons of magic items to find and an ever increasing feeling of power as you leveled your characters. Most of all I wanted players to feel free to experiment with all the "tools" I put in the game so they could enjoy playing any way they wanted to.
A quote about the marriage of MM4 and MM5 came about in the World of Xeen:
RPG Codex: What gave you an idea to bundle Might and Magic IV and V together into World of Xeen in such a unique way, and why did you not handle any other games in the series in the same manner? To elaborate, usually expansion packs added something "on the side", but with World of Xeen you could tell that, when Clouds of Xeen shipped, all the connection points were already there. JVC: I thought to myself as a player, what would be cool if a new version of this game comes out, so I came up with the crazy combining scheme that would be magical to the consumer. This was a monumental task especially in those days. But I thought it was an amazing idea and we keep working on the concept until we figured out how to do it. Thank you for recognizing that feature, we were very proud of that accomplishment and to this day I don’t think anyone has repeated it.
A quote on what Jon van Canegham views as most important in crpgs:
PG Codex: In your view, what makes a good role-playing game and what are the defining elements of the genre? Is it combat mechanics, character development rules, exploration, story, puzzles, or something else? Does what you are looking for in a cRPG now differ from what you were looking for back when you designed the Might and Magic games? JVC: I would say all the above, my preference is for open world, freedom to explore and let players be creative. Strategy and great games systems is what I look for the most.
More information.
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August 19th, 2012, 00:10
Really wish JVC was doing RPGs again. Might and Magic was my favorite series back in the day and he was no small part of that. Saddest part of that interview:
Later, when 3DO started to have financial difficulties, the relationship became strained and things went downhill from there. I did try at the end to keep NWC alive, we had several offers to buy my division away from 3DO, but The Company did not want to sell off the pieces in the hope to sell the entire entity. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.
Oh what could have been…
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August 19th, 2012, 01:36
RPG Codex: What do you think about the current state of the cRPG industry? Are there certain trends that are worrisome to you or, on the contrary, that you especially appreciate?

JVC: Besides stand alone CRPGs being completely overrun by MMOs, the move towards "movie games" is worrisome to me; I enjoy game systems, open worlds and exploration. I like to play games, not watch them.
hallelujah!

I really miss NWC. The more I glean from this interview, the more I come to hate 3DO. Really great interview.
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August 19th, 2012, 02:09
Yeah, I like his views on things. I bet if he put his mind to it he could still make another great RPG. Too bad I have zero interest in Command & Conquer. Hope he finds his way back to RPGs again someday.
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August 19th, 2012, 02:51
I could only dream of Jon C. doing an open RPG with the tools today's developers have at their disposal. That would be one sweet game. ahhh, to dream . . .
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August 19th, 2012, 03:19
If only there was some crazy sort of site where he could pitch an idea for a new RPG directly to the fans of his old games and get funding to do it that way.
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August 19th, 2012, 03:42
Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post
If only there was some crazy sort of site where he could pitch an idea for a new RPG directly to the fans of his old games and get funding to do it that way.

Eh, not sure if being sarcastic But, he did sort of evade part of the Kickstarter-related question dealing with that very possibility.
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August 19th, 2012, 07:32
I wish he would've gotten a little more in depth with some of his answers. It also came off almost like he was dodging questions at times. Still, you can't fault an interesting interview with JvC….
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August 19th, 2012, 08:50
After what he is doing to the Command and Conquer franchise everything he says will fall on my deaf ears. Can't say I like him right now.

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August 19th, 2012, 11:07
Fascinating little interview and a good read, thanks for posting.

I'm a little surprised though that given it was a Codex interview, one or two questions regarding his opinions on what Ubisoft is capable of doing with the franchise weren't asked. We've seen the Heroes series get its modern love so to speak, what about the classic RPG series, hmm Ubisoft?

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August 19th, 2012, 13:26
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
Fascinating little interview and a good read, thanks for posting.

I'm a little surprised though that given it was a Codex interview, one or two questions regarding his opinions on what Ubisoft is capable of doing with the franchise weren't asked. We've seen the Heroes series get its modern love so to speak, what about the classic RPG series, hmm Ubisoft?
Asking an EA employee what he thinks Ubisoft can do is bound to get a flawed answer, if any at all.

Anyone notice I was credited for my (ridiculous) contribution to the interview? I'm giddy

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August 19th, 2012, 15:23
JVC: Besides stand alone CRPGs being completely overrun by MMOs, the move towards "movie games" is worrisome to me; I enjoy game systems, open worlds and exploration. I like to play games, not watch them.
Great comment, but pretty ironic that it's his own company (EA) doing most of this - from releasing the vast majority of "movie RPGs" (under the Bioware label), to being at the forefront of forcing CRPGs into an MMO format (Ultima -> UO, KoTOR -> TOR).
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August 19th, 2012, 16:00
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Eh, not sure if being sarcastic But, he did sort of evade part of the Kickstarter-related question dealing with that very possibility.
Yeah, I noticed that too. But I don't know if it was evasion or in the editing.

In any event, he might not be up to doing a Kickstarter project. I got the feeling that coding got to be too much for him back in the day. And those Kickstarter projects are like a one (or two or three or four) member band. He probably needs some funding to get a decent RPG off the ground.
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August 19th, 2012, 16:15
Originally Posted by Charles-cgr View Post
Asking an EA employee what he thinks Ubisoft can do is bound to get a flawed answer, if any at all.
That's a weak assumption in my opinion. This is the Codex interviewing JVC about one of his beloved creations after all. To be honest, any response on the topic would have been interesting to read.

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August 19th, 2012, 17:27
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Great comment, but pretty ironic that it's his own company (EA) doing most of this - from releasing the vast majority of "movie RPGs" (under the Bioware label), to being at the forefront of forcing CRPGs into an MMO format (Ultima -> UO, KoTOR -> TOR).
I am pretty sure he is not happy about that at all. But it is out of his hands anyway.
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August 19th, 2012, 20:26
I suspect that if he is thinking of doing a Kickstarter it would have to wait til he was done with his current project at EA and quit his job there. So it's not surprising he would keep quiet on the subject. Then he'd have to form a new studio, gather a team, etc - it's a big undertaking. Unless he was going to do something totally retro (M&M 1 style) and do it solo or with a very small team.
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August 20th, 2012, 00:01
Not a fan of JVC. His games kept me awake until all hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping and instead of exercising he made me sit infront of my c64, amiga and finally the pc playing. He even made me take sick days off work when I wasnt even sick.

He's a bad influence.
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August 20th, 2012, 00:33
Originally Posted by Ryder View Post
Not a fan of JVC. His games kept me awake until all hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping and instead of exercising he made me sit infront of my c64, amiga and finally the pc playing. He even made me take sick days off work when I wasnt even sick.

He's a bad influence.
^That. I hate that man.

Originally Posted by Dajjer View Post
Yeah, I noticed that too. But I don't know if it was evasion or in the editing.

In any event, he might not be up to doing a Kickstarter project. I got the feeling that coding got to be too much for him back in the day. And those Kickstarter projects are like a one (or two or three or four) member band. He probably needs some funding to get a decent RPG off the ground.
He says the opposite in the interview. That he really missed coding but going into management forced him to leave it to others.

Originally Posted by Myrkrel View Post
I suspect that if he is thinking of doing a Kickstarter it would have to wait til he was done with his current project at EA and quit his job there. So it's not surprising he would keep quiet on the subject. Then he'd have to form a new studio, gather a team, etc - it's a big undertaking. Unless he was going to do something totally retro (M&M 1 style) and do it solo or with a very small team.
That's a terrible idea. Nonononono. Leave that MM1 remake garbage for the little folk

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August 20th, 2012, 03:55
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
Fascinating little interview and a good read, thanks for posting.

I'm a little surprised though that given it was a Codex interview, one or two questions regarding his opinions on what Ubisoft is capable of doing with the franchise weren't asked. We've seen the Heroes series get its modern love so to speak, what about the classic RPG series, hmm Ubisoft?
Why would we have asked that? Ubisoft doesn't make classic cRPG's.
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August 20th, 2012, 04:35
Originally Posted by Charles-cgr View Post
That's a terrible idea. Nonononono. Leave that MM1 remake garbage for the little folk
Hey - get the old and new together, kickstarter from JVC & Charles of Olderbytes!
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