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Might & Magic X Update: Julien Pirou on the Origins of Might & Magic X

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Might & Magic X Update: Julien Pirou on the Origins of Might & Magic X

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Thu 1 August 2013, 18:13:21

Tags: Julien Pirou; Limbic Entertainment; Might & Magic X: Legacy; Ubisoft

In an update posted today on the Might & Magic X Legacy open development blog, creative designer Julien Pirou tells us a bit about his background, about previous attempts to create a Might & Magic sequel (one of which became Arkane Studios' action-RPG Dark Messiah of Might & Magic) and about the genesis of the current Might & Magic X.

Creating a video game is a huge endeavour mobilizing the energy and effort of dozens of people, so nobody can really say “this is my game”. This is also the case for Might & Magic X. However, I can at least brag that I’m the one responsible for Might & Magic X being in development in the first place.​

Might & Magic X: Legacy has been in development for more than a year now (the first proof-of-concept prototypes were created in May 2012), but this is only the culmination of an arduous journey, the latest chapter of a long adventure that, for me, started in January 2004. Back then, I was an 18 years-old geek having just graduated in Applied Arts, dreaming of working in the video game industry.​

I had been a fan of the Might & Magic series since the early nineties, having started with Might & Magic II on the Sega Mega Drive. So when I learned that Ubisoft (whose offices were virtually two streets from my small, one-room flat) was buying the rights to Might & Magic from the then-dying 3DO Company, I was at first thrilled. All I had to do was to be hired by Ubisoft to work on my favourite series, right? How hard could that be?​

So I started writing the first draft of a story for a potential Might & Magic X, which I planned to send to Ubisoft. My story would take place on Axeoth, tying together several plot points that I considered "loose ends" of Might & Magic IX and Heroes IV.​

After a few weeks of work, I eventually gave up. It was the result of what you could call a “reality check”: after all, I was a freshly graduated 18 years-old with no experience in the writing or making of video games whatsoever, apart from creating mods and maps for my favourite games on my spare time. So I ended up working in a different sector entirely.​

Sometime after that, Ubisoft announced they were dropping the "Ancient universe" to create their own continuity and their own setting, Ashan. Because I believed the Ancient universe deserved a proper send-off, my old MMX story draft became the basis of a campaign I created for Heroes V, Legends of the Ancients. And as it turned out, that campaign would get me hired by Fabrice Cambounet of Ubisoft to work on a map for Heroes V (the "Dark Messiah" map included in the Heroes Complete box); then, two years later (in late 2009), to be invited by Erwan Le Breton to officially join the Heroes VI team as level designer. Funny how life works sometimes…​

But I was still thinking of Might & Magic X. Why was Ubisoft not making a new Might & Magic RPG? Well as I learned, there had actually already been several attempts to create the long-awaited tenth installment...​

Julien reveals that, while MMX was conceived and pitched months before the release of Almost Human's Legend of Grimrock, one of that game's prerelease trailers was instrumental in successfully selling the concept to Ubisoft's upper management. Good thing they didn't notice it had real-time combat, eh, Julien?

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