4Players: Mr. Le Breton, would you like to introduce yourself?
Le Breton: I am Erwan Le Breton, Associate Producer of Dark Messiah and also coordinator for the Might & Magic world as it is being recreated at Ubisoft.
4P: You have the license "Might & Magic” and you have worked with what had been done with it before. Is there anything you had to change?
Le Breton: When we had gotten the license, the first question we asked ourselves was: "As we have a fancy license we need a strong fantasy world. There is one already. Is it the one we want to use?” And we decided it was a risk to do it, because we didn't have all the assets of these games, of this world given to us by 3DO and New World Computing.
So we were not sure how accurate the former Might & Magic games were. We had to pick information by going onto the web and see the sites built by fans, we have the old manuals, and of course we could play the games ourselves to write everything down. But that would take hours and hours and hours. But we found the fans are really dedicated – some of them had played the first Might & Magic games – and they know everything and we don't. And if we did a mistake, did something wrong, they would be upset. So we decided it was saver to create a new world and just try to keep what we felt were the core values.
|Erwan Le Breton at his workplace.|
So we analyzed what we knew. We especially asked the fans: "What do you like when you play Might & Magic, what do you remember as being memorable, as big moments?” And we discovered that we had a couple of elements we really needed to keep: The fact that it is a high fantasy world with trolls, elves and so on – the archetypes – the fact that it was epic, that the world was huge, that you explored beautiful landscapes which were very open. You would go after artifacts that had the power to save the world or destroy it and you would become very powerful in the end. We wanted to keep that epic dimension. The world was split into factions: We have the demons of the Inferno, the dead of the Necropolis, the wizards of the academy – we wanted to keep that, too. And also, the final touch was the fact that in the old Might & Magic games you were often asked to choose between good and evil. And you played characters who were not paladins hiding in a shining armor but something more in shades of gray. We liked this ambiguity in the former titles. We felt these were the core values of this brand and we wanted to keep them.
Then we decided that we were not really happy with some of the features, for instance the science fiction undertone. When you completed the game you often discovered that behind the angels and the elves and the powerful magical artifacts there was technology. There were spaceships, there were blaster guns, and we felt it was not quite wanted for this new world of Might & Magic. We really wanted hardcore fantasy with no
science fiction or technology in it.
The assassin from the multiplayer mode. His blades may be small, but you won't see him coming.
This is the kind of choices we had to make very early on. And once it was done the other task was: "OK, WHO will do it?” *laughs* So, we had to hire a team of writers and graphic artists...
4P: Anyone who had been working on the former Might & Magic games?
Le Breton: No. For good reasons, because there were two or three people who were really important within the Might & Magic brand, like the CEOs of New World Computing, the Executive Producers, but they didn't want to get involved just to be a writer for the background document. It was not very exciting for them. And in case of the writers who had worked on the former games, they were hired for certain tasks, but they weren't really part of the creative team. So we said we are going to find people who have a background in creating worlds and stories and who have played the Might & Magic games and liked it and who are really into fantasy but also with the more modern edge that we want to give to the world.