Might and Magic (MM) is a series of computer role-playing games from New World Computing, which in 1996 became a subsidiary of The 3DO Company. The producer of the series was Jon Van Caneghem.
Might and Magic is considered one of the defining examples of early computer role-playing games, along with the Bard's Tale, Ultima and Wizardry series.
The original Might and Magic series officially ended with the closure of the 3DO Company. The rights to the Might and Magic name were purchased for USD 1.3 million by Ubisoft, who "rebooted" the franchise with a new series with no apparent connection to the previous continuity, starting with the games Heroes of Might and Magic V and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.
There are nine games in the series, consisting of:
- Might and Magic: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum (1986; Apple II, Mac, DOS, Commodore 64, NES, MSX,PC-Engine CD-ROM)
- Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World (1988; Apple II, Amiga, DOS, Commodore 64, Mac, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Europe only), SNES (Japan-only, different from the European version), MSX, PC-Engine CD)
- Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra (1991; DOS, Mac, Amiga, SNES, Sega Genesis, PC-Engine CD-ROM)
- Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen (1992; DOS, Mac)
- Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen (1993; DOS, Mac)
- Might and Magic: World of Xeen (1995; DOS)
- 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)
- Might and Magic IX (2002; Windows; known as: Writ of Fate)
- Might and Magic Trilogy (1993), includes the German version Might and Magic games III, VI, V, and the fanmade Swords of Xeen.
- Might and Magic I, II, III, IV, V: Collection Classique (1998), contains the games I-V
- Ultimate Might and Magic Archives (1998), includes the first five Might and Magic games, World of Xeen and the fanmade Swords of Xeen.
- Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven - Limited Edition (1998), a collector's edition of Might and Magic VI that included the first five games on CD-ROM as well.
- Might and Magic Sixpack (1998), includes the first six Might and Magic games.
- Might and Magic Millennium Edition (1999), includes the Might and Magic games IV, V, VI and VII.
- Might and Magic (Platinum Edition) (2002), includes the Might and Magic games VI, VII, VIII and IX.
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, and the fanmade Swords of Xeen.
In August of 2003, Ubisoft acquired the rights to the Might and Magic franchise for USD$1.3 million after 3DO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Ubisoft has since released two new projects using the Might and Magic brand — a fifth installment of the Heroes series, developed by Nival Interactive, and an action-style game called Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, developed by Arkane Studios.
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 and situations encountered throughout the series tend to be well-known fantasy staples such as giant rats, werewolf curses, dragon hoardes and zombies, rather than original creations. Isles of Terra and the Xeen games featured a more distinct environment, blending fantasy and science fiction elements in a unique way.
Although most of the gameplay reflects a distinctly fantasy
genre, the overarching plot of the series has something of a science fiction
background. 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. References to a.o. Star Trek
- some quite overt - could indicate that the "Ancients" may in fact be humanity
in the far future.
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 flat worlds (which are implied to be giant spaceships) and Corak, thought to be a representative of the Ancients, with the assistance of the player characters, sees him off each time. Eventually both Corak and Sheltem are destroyed in a climactic battle on Xeen.
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 the Kreegan, the arch-enemies of the Ancients. It is also revealed that the destruction wrought by the Ancients' wars with the Kreegan may be why the worlds of Might & Magic exist as medieval fantasy settings despite being created by futuristic technology - the worlds have been 'cut off' from the Ancients and descended into barbarism. The Heroes of Might and Magic series traces the fortunes of the Ironfists in more detail, though none of the sci-fi elements appear in the Heroes series.