Return of the old school RPG part IV: Might & Magic X Legacy

I am scornfully resenting my inability to have attended this year’s PAX East convention because there were some great announcements: SuperGiant’s next game, Transistor, was shown off; The official name for the Double Fine’s Kickstarter Adventure, Broken Age, was revealed; Capcom announced they would be remaking the classic platformer Duck Tales (which elicited such nostalgia-soaked hysteria from twitter it was almost allarming); but in keeping with the spirit of this column, I want to focus on one announcement in particular: Ubisoft’s upcoming Might & Magic X Legacy.

When the title leaked a couple days prior to the official PAX announcement, I figured it would be yet another strategy game spinoff Heroes of Might and Magic — which to be fair are absolutely great games, but they’re not exactly the old school RPGs. The role playing series as been on hiatus for nearly 12 years, ever since Might & Magic 9 hit back in 2001.

Might and Magic X looks and sounds undeniably old-school.The game take place in a massive world filled with indoor and outdoor dungeons to explore, turn-based combat, and a first-person perspective the dungeon-crawling series is known for. The graphics are lush and the art distinct and charming. From the sounds of the skill system and character building, it sounds very much like a classic dungeon crawler.

What surprises me most here is that this is Ubisoft releasing the game. At a time where most publishers are looking for massive hits and sure-things, Ubisoft seems to be striking a balance. Sure, they’ve got Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, and Splinter Cell as their big, primary franchises moving them forward, but other games like ZombiU, Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends, and now this Might and Magic sequel give me the impression that the company isn’t quite as averse to new ideas or niche markets as other big-name publishers. I would have expected this to have been a Kickstarter project or an indie studio before I ever would’ve guessed Ubisoft was actually taking the reins. It gives me hope that maybe things are changing, and for the better. Between this and the recent announcement that the Legend of Grimrock folks at Almost Human are working on Grimrock 2, it looks like we can add dungeon crawler to the list of resurrected RPG sub-genres along with Rogue-Likes and CRPGs.

Until our next meeting, mortals!