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Dark Messiah Of Might And Magic: Elements

Platform(s): Xbox 360
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Annecy

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'Dark Messiah Of Might And Magic: Elements' (X360) - Developer Q&A

by Rainier on July 3, 2007 @ 4:57 a.m. PDT

In Dark Messiah of Might and Magic: Elements, players will be introduced to the dark and unforgiving world of Ashan, scarred by a bloody history and threatened by the apocalyptic prophecy of the Dark Messiah. The game will sport a refined experience thanks to several improvements in gameplay, design and other technical aspects. Players will embody the young hero Sareth and choose his evolution path to acquire spells, skills and abilities that will set his destiny.

Hello, first of all could you introduce yourself?

I’m Daniel Palix, producer. Prior to joining the Dark Messiah of Might and Magic team, I was producer of the online mode on Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (Xbox), Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (Xbox, PS2) and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent (Xbox, PS2).

What are the biggest changes you are bringing to the game for the Xbox 360?

For the Xbox 360 version, we are providing a variety of new content, as well as improving on the existing levels.

On the solo part, new scenes have been added, thus providing an additional hour of game experience. These will be “epic” optional zones, offering a bit more challenge and different gameplay than the rest of the game and granting special rewards.

A lot of rebalancing has been done, in order to keep the challenge level equal from start to end. The graphics were enhanced, focusing on lighting and post treatments.

The multiplayer was also completely reworked.

The game will be powered by the Source engine. Are you working with Valve for the Xbox 360 adaptation?

Yes. There is a strong collaboration, as there was with Arkane Studios. This helps us utilize the Source engine to its fullest potential. It’s a powerful engine on PC, but on Xbox 360 it creates miracles…

Are you working with Arkane Studios for this adaptation of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic?

Definitely. We came with our own ideas about what to do with the X360 game but we worked closely with Arkane to make sure these changes would not cause new problems. Their knowledge of the game and the engine is very valuable to us. They also made some of these changes themselves.

How are you adapting the Dark Messiah of Might and Magic gameplay to the console? Will we notice any significant change?

The console gameplay focuses on the same mechanics that are so attractive in the PC version. We realized that the pad control together with the new autolock and d-pad quickbelt systems enabled you to play even more naturally and let you focus even more on your tactics as well as on the experience itself. It confirmed our first feeling that Dark Messiah of Might and Magic would be an incredible experience to bring to a home console system.

What is the greatest challenge for you on this project?

The biggest challenge was having to rebalance the whole game because of all the changes we introduced. It is tricky to reach a good balance for all players, no matter what specialty they choose. We also had to ensure that the difficulty and challenge level would remain the same from beginning to end, meaning that getting a big sword and making extensive use of the environment with the kick move would no longer be an easy option to finish the game.

What about the multiplayer? You say it will be a brand new experience. Can you give us any details?

We kept the fundamental core gameplay of the original multiplayer, based on five classes and a campaign game mode. Apart from that, we totally reworked about all that could possibly be reworked or tweaked (skills, maps, effects…) in order to maximize the fun factor, teamplay, and accessibility. For instance regarding the fun factor, we decided to switch from a level-up system to a profile creation mechanic. We did this because we felt it was interesting to let players get all the skills they love from the beginning, rather than to have them level up for several rounds to gain them. So now you just pick up a class and a set of skills (not all of them, of course), and off you go to dive into battle. This fundamentally changes the way the game’s multiplayer is played and leaves room for many other innovations that we’re working on.

What about the achievement points in the game, will there be new secrets to discover?

Lots of achievements have been implemented and a few will particularly reward the players who explore all the levels and secret passages in quest of a special relic item. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is about action, but it is also about experimenting with creative kills and exploring the areas you are crossing. We want to encourage that.

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic released on PC last year, and received mixed reviews and reactions. Can you tell us how the Xbox 360 version addresses some of the issues raised?

Some gamers were indeed a bit annoyed by some bugs that were still present in the master version. Most of these have since been fixed with patches, and many of them were quite PC-specific, because they were related to hardware compatibility issues. We don’t have to worry about that on the Xbox 360 version. Along with fixing previous issues properly, we have also put a lot of focus on providing new content that will provide a richer experience and a wider variety of gameplay.

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