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How Might & Magic X: Legacy is bringing back old school RPGing

Patrick Budmar | April 23, 2013
We talk to Ubisoft creative director, Erwan le Breton, about the return of the classic RPG series

What didn't make the cut?

EB: There are a couple of things we didn't keep from the Xeen games. First gems aren't needed to cast spells, a system that was not present in later games, and second, party characters don't age. It felt inconsistent that your characters could age and die while the world around them did not change. However, we kept the food/resting mechanic.

To you, which features are now outdated?

EB: One of the strengths of the Might & Magic RPG series is the fact the previous games always aimed for greater accessibility. Might & Magic II introduced the automap feature and the third game had one of the very first questlogs, maybe even the first one. The series quickly embraced mouse control, icons and colours to make the information clearer. Thanks to that, a game like World of Xeen remains very playable today and has aged better than other RPGs of its time, though not speaking of the technical side of course.

How do you keep the balance between "old school" sensibilities and today's "state of the art" standards?

EB: For Might & Magic X: Legacy, we tried to maintain this tradition of accessibility. Accessibility, by the way, is not to be confused with simplification. Accessibility is not about making the game less complex, but making it easier to use and understand. So Might & Magic X has detailed tooltips, clear signs and feedback, drag-and-drop interface, quick-action bar, and so on. Nothing extraordinary, but important features players are used to finding in modern RPGs. One thing we didn't keep from the older games is the need to "validate" your level-up by spending gold in a training center. This seemed a little too old-school and in a grid-based game would have meant a tedious amount of backtracking.

Might & Magic games have always been open-world and not just corridor-based, which distinguished them from other first-person RPGs such as Wizardry or The Bard's Tale. How open-world will Legacy be compared to the previous titles?

EB: Might & Magic X starts with a smaller area. This is the "beginning" area, which we call Act I. Here you'll explore your first town, get your first quests, complete your first dungeons, learning how to play along the way. When Act I is over, the rest of the world opens and what you do next is really up to you. If you want to go to that mountain over there despite the fact it's notoriously full of angry Cyclopes, nothing will stop you.

Will the game have level scaling of any sort? Will it scale the power or number of enemies in an area to your level like in Might & Magic II?

 

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