"I doubt it," said the Carpenter, And shed a bitter tear.
In response to questions on their board, Stardock clarified that they aren't using the MOM license for their game:
Posted by kryo (Stardock)
October 18, 2007 11:58:33
Wikipedia's MOM page states:
Game Informer stated in its November, 2007 issue that Stardock has announced it will be developing a Master of Magic remake for a 2009 release.
wiki citation: "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly", Game Informer, Game Informer, November, 2007, pp. 56. (English)
Well, well. The last time I posted, about 2 years ago, Stardock wasn't getting anywhere obtaining the MOM license. They put their MOM attempt on the back burner in favor of other projects. Without the article in front of me I can't say if they're making a clone or have the license, but at least it sounds like they're starting things up again!
Posted by prosper
Here is a good article from late last year with Stardock's Brad. The first couple pages cover their ambitions and problems with MOM, or more accurately, with the Atari as the license holder of same.
Gamasutra: Master of the Galaxy: Stardock's Brad Wardell
Nothing really new, but in summary: Atari demanded awkward things for the license, and wouldn't sell it. Then Atari ran into financial problems, distracting negotiations. Sad Brad.
Posted by Prosper
Stardock continues to pursue the Master of Magic license, but development of Stardock's fantasy TBS game, which may be the next MoM, is on hold. Stardock is now focused on completing Galactic Civilizations 2 and the newly announced massively multiplayer RTS, Society. "MoM2" is now in queue for future development attention.
Posted by Prosper
It appears that Stardock and Atari are still in talks over the Master of Magic license. With Atari's announced reorganizations and the duration of these negotiations, it's a feat that the process hasn't broken down.
Posted by Prosper
Last month, Atari decided to close its California and Massachusetts offices due to the company's financial difficulties. (story here.) The company has historically been reluctant to make use of its old IP and titles. With a new stated focus on a "strategic mandate" to return "results beyond expectations," it seems reasonable to assume that Microprose titles will continue to languish unused.
How Stardock's negotiations for the MoM license are impacted by this we do not know.
Posted by Prosper
Regarding obtaining the license, Stardock says:
Just a matter of all the legal stuff."
Posted by Prosper
To keep you up to date if you haven't been following this thread:
"There is nothing official going on yet with Master of Magic. We're still in negotiation with Atari on it. There probably won't be "news" real soon as these kinds of licenses tend to be lengthy and complicated to nail down and agree to (how many "Expansion packs" are allowed, can it be distributed electronically? How will it be handled on TotalGaming.net?, etc.). But we will try to set up MasterOfMagic.com soon so that there's a forum there for people to discuss things. Until then, it's oaky to talk here about what you'd like in there. But for those people looking for a radical change, that's not going to happen. We *like* Master of Magic. We just think it needs updated graphics and effects and a better computer AI and maybe a few new building and units or something. We don't want a MOO3 type scenario where the basic game is being changed. Stardock diabolical plan is to bring turn based strategy games back to the norm. And one way we think that can be helped is with a new Master of Magic done RIGHT. And that means not messing around with what made it a good game in the first place. And unlike most developers, Stardock can pay for its own development on its own so no would-be publisher can force us to "modernize" the game play. We're going to focus on making a fantasy strategy game that adheres to the spirit. That doesn't mean a MOM from Stardock is going to just be a MOM clone down to the nth degree. I'm sure there will be lots of nitpicking because we'll make some tweak to the game (for instance we might mess around with some of the spells a bit)."
Negotiations for the MoM license and other Microprose titles have broken down in the past. Keep your fingers crossed, true believers.
Posted by andrew
Stardock people say:
"I think we're going to do it."
We'll probably hear something definite within the next couple months, and hopefully sooner.
Stardock, maker of numerous utilities and several games -- notably Galactic Civilizations -- asks a very leading question on their galciv.com site:
"Would you pre-order on-line a Master of Magic 2?"
It is posted on our Forum that Stardock is interested in developing MoM2 but wants to see around 5000 people stating interest in pre-ordering to feel comfortable committing. More information can be had from this thread at galciv.com. The two major points of interest would be that they would be true to the original Master of Magic rather than reinventing the game, and that Stardock would be acquiring the rights to MoM outright:
"[This] is essentially what we would do. Take the original game and enhance the graphics (3D engine still top down but now you could zoom in and out on the map at will) and give it a good AI..."
"...[T]he risk ON US would be high for doing a MOM2 would be precisely because Stardock would have full control over the game.
That's the trade off. Stardock would self-fund the project (i.e. 7 digit budget). The reason Galactic Civilizations was done in the way it was was because we self-funded that. That gives us a lot of flexibility. But that flexibility comes with a price.
5k pre-orders at $45 apiece would be less than a quarter of the game's budget. But at least it would give us a good inkling that there was a demand for this game still. After all, some might argue that Age of Wonders and HOMM and other games have filled this niche (I don't personally agree with that)..."
"...For Stardock, the risk is too big to acquire the rights (Stardock would own the rights to a Master of Magic 2 so we would have creative control) if there isn't enough demand.
I am not certain that there is enough demand for a MOM 2 at this point to justify the expense.
We'll be deciding whether to pursue this or not in the next week or two.
Release date would be Fall 2006."
You must register on Stardock's site before you can vote in their poll (this is not immediately clear on their site). Please look at the two forum threads linked above for a diversity of opinions and information about Stardock.
My personal opinion, as posted in the forums, is as follows:
"I trust Stardock. They did an excellent job with GalCiv, in making a good turn-based game, in being clever and breaking ground with opponent AI, and in supporting the community. Three big pluses.
If they do get ... the MoM license from Atari, and I think that is the biggest if, it is my gut feeling that the game will be in good hands."
A quick un-update on MoM2 news: Our queries to Atari contacts about Microprose titles are being met with silence. This supports the belief that Atari's current policy is to sit on all the classic Microprose titles (that Sid Meier doesn't want.) If you know anything further, let us know!
"Representatives of French publisher Atari have confirmed that the company has closed down its Hunt Valley development studio, now that work on Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes is complete. All thirty-five jobs at the studio will go, although the company has indicated that the services of a few key staff could be retained elsewhere.
The studio was previously known as MicroProse, before it was bought by Habsro Interactive and then Atari (nee Infogrames). As such it was responsible for a number of classic PC titles, including Sid Meiers Civilization, Pirates! and Railroad Tycoon.
Posted by andrew
If you're having trouble running Master of Magic or any other older game on your system, take a look at DOSBox. DOSBox is a DOS emulator simulating a 286/386 realmode CPU, Directory FileSystem/XMS/EMS, and a SoundBlaster card -- in short, everything you need to get old games running like they used to.
DOSBox has been successfully tested with Master of Magic, so if Windows' compatability mode isn't doing it for you, give DOSBox a try.
Rantz Hoseley, current Art Director of Quicksilver, has posted a couple of Master of Magic 2 concept art images on his new(ish) website, Death March. Death March is a comic strip, rants, and miscellania all pertaining to Rantz's reflections on life at game companies and in the industry.
The two images are from Quicksilver's initial MoM2 proposal to Infogrames, back before they were given Master of Orion 3:
Microprose IP is still on hold at Infogrames while the company decides what to do with the old Microprose titles. We don't know how active internal consideration of the properties are; Master of Magic and other titles might be a subject of frequent conversation, or not.
The following points of interest correct and expand on our A Brief History of Master of Magic 2 information.
- In the A Brief History of Master of Magic 2 post below, it was speculated that Quicksilver discussed MoM2 with Infogrames when they were obtain the rights to make Master of Orion 3. It turns out that Master of Magic 2 was the first title Quicksilver asked for, but these discussions date back before Infogrames involvement to the Hasbro days, when Alameda was still making MoM2. With MoM2 not (then) available, Quicksilver happily took MoO3.
- It appears that Master of Orion 3 sales are an important litmus test for Infogrames. In the past couple years, several interviews and statements have tied MoM2s short-term future (to some degree) to the success or failure of MoO3. However, it seems that Infogrames is holding not only MoM but all the old MicroProse titles close until MoO3 is out. Think classic titles like Pirates!, Railroad Tycoon and XCom.
- Certainly many development houses would be interested in the old MicroProse licenses and will have approached Infogrames since the point when Infogrames acquired the rights to em. A rather unconfirmed rumor is that one of these developers is Sid Meyer/Firaxis, and that Master of Magic may have been one of the points of interest. (editorial: Ask em for Pirates!, Sid! Id love to see Firaxis working on that one.)
here's looking at you
The following is a history of the false starts of Master of Magic 2, pieced together from fragmented sources and memory. If you know any more, or see any errors, please drop us an email.
- Master of Magic is released by SimTex, led by Steve Barcia. MicroProse publishes the title.
- speculation: MicroProse and/or SimTex begin serious work on designing the sequel.
- spring 1997
- CNET's Gamecenter posts news of Master of Magic 2. The design seems pretty well spelled out, and the title is listed as a spring 1998 release. Estimating an 18 to 24 month development cycle, the title has been worked on for several months. However, no futher news ever surfaces. Aborted MoM2, take 1.
- August 1998
- Hasbro, Inc. buys MicroProse for around $70 million through a subsidiary, gaining control of the Microprose brand and titles.
- late 1998 - 1999
- rumors float about that MicroProse's Alameda offices is working on Master of Magic 2.
- late 1999
- Hasbro/MicroProse is down for the count. Result? Reorganization; oodles of layoffs and office closures, including MicroProse Alameda. Master of Magic 2 is canned. Aborted MoM2, take 2.
- December 2000
- Infogrames acquires Hasbro Interactive, gaining control of the Microprose brand and titles.
- late 2000 - early 2001?
- Quicksilver Software gets Infogrames' nod to work on Master of Orion 3. One can speculate that Quicksilver also wanted to know about Master of Magic, but that Master of Orion was deemed the stronger title.
- April 2001
- Constantine Hantzopoulos (aka Chantz, Senior Producer at Infogrames US) states that he's a huge advocate of Master of Magic within Infogrames in response to repeated questioning about MoM2.
- 2001 - 2002
- At several points, Quicksilver staff make mention of a Master of Magic sequel. It is hinted that the sequel is a project the studio would like, and that the success of Master of Orion will play a roll in whether Master of Magic 2 is considered by Infogrames and whether Quicksilver might be handed it.
- Quicksilver slips the Master of Orion 3 schedule several times. Buzz and presales are strong, but so is the movement of the release date. Quicksilver is rumored to be paying for the overtime development on their own dime. Impact to MoM2 chances: unknown.
- late January 2003
- Quicksilver and Inforgrames announce Master of Orion 3 goes gold. Fat Babies, a game industry rumor site, reports Quicksilver is laying off staff due to lack of new projects.
- late January 2003
- Inside sources state that Infogrames remains mum on a Quicksilver/Master of Magic 2 hookup.
What follows are some interesting data pertaining to MoM2's history:
"Master of Magic II
The isometric view of battlefields in Magic I will now become the standard world view in MicroProse's Magic II. Many enhancements are in the works. Instead of 5 types of magic there will be 13, and you will be able to design your own spells and monsters. Six planes of existence will replace Magic I's pair of planes, each with its own peculiarities. And while you could win Magic I only by destroying all other player wizards, Magic II will offer at least four ways to win.
The random world generator will still be at the heart of Magic II, but it will also include a variety of scenarios. Expect this game in spring 1998."
Spring '97 on CNET's Gamecenter
"When we asked about Master of Magic 2, which SidGames reported was cancelled several months ago, Nichols said that indeed, the game was being developed at the Alameda offices of Microprose but that when those offices were closed, the Master of Magic 2 project was cancelled. Incidentally, the team that was working on Master of Magic 2 was the same team that worked on Birth of the Federation. Nichols said that Microprose has not given up on the MOM franchise, and the company is considering the fate of the Master of Magic series."
By Elliott Chin, GameSpot - 02/16/00
"The game that I think deserves a sequel is a strategy game that I have mentioned frequently in previous Questions of the Week: Master of Magic. This game was a phenomenal strategy game that combined Civilization-style depth with tactical combat and a fantasy world. It had a deep technology tree rooted in magic; global enchantments that could shape the world; a slew of fascinating creatures, from dragons to angels to death knights; different races of spellcasters and schools of magic; and, of course, the tactical battles that just added another layer to the involving gameplay.
Since that time, some five or six years ago, there have been a litany of supposed successors, such as the Heroes series, Age of Wonders, Disciples, and so on. Heroes was by far the most successful and is a good - dare I say great - game in its own right, but none of them ever approached the depth, challenge, complexity, and sheer fun of Master of Magic. More so than Master of Orion, I consider Master of Magic SimTex and MicroProse's crowning achievement. The fact that so many turn-based fantasy games have surfaced in the past several years shows me that there is still a demand for a turn-based fantasy game. Many people at MicroProse realized this too, and that's why there were vocal developers in the now-defunct MicroProse Alameda studio who wanted to start work on a sequel to the classic. Unfortunately, when the reorganization of the company was finalized, among the casualties of the restructuring was MicroProse Alameda and the budding Master of Magic 2 project. For all intents and purposes, a game that had barely begun was now dead.
So I hope that by writing about Master of Magic, we can convince Hasbro that there are still legions of fans and a market that will wait with bated breath for a sequel to Master of Magic. With the exception of Warcraft II, this game is the most cherished and beloved fantasy-strategy game ever produced. I know that, fans know that, a few enlightened developers know that. Let's just hope we can convince Hasbro of that fact. Because no game deserves a sequel as much as this great classic does."
Elliott Chin, GameSpot - 04/17/00
"MOM is one of my favorite strategy games of all time. I'd be INSANE not to champion it here at Infogrames. Indeed, people tell me I'm like a broken record when it comes to MOM...heh..."
Constantine Hantzopoulos, Senior Producer, Infogrames US
April 10, 2001
"...Maybe Master of Magic 2 will be available when we're done with MOO3. That would be a fun project."
Alan Emrich, (former,) Quicksilver Software, Inc. (date unknown)
Q: Will there be a sequel to the Master of Magic series?
A: Not exactly. One does not necessarly FOLLOW the other. However, success with MOO3 makes is MORE LIKELY for their to me a Master of Magic II ( because if MOO3 is a hit, it will demonstrate that the strategy game genre should continue to besupported ), and more likelky to be done by Quicksilver ( because if MOO3 is a hit, Infogrames will know we can "deliver the goods" and should be worthy of developing MOM2 ).
'Official MOO3 FAQ' - 2001-2002
Home of the Underdogs, a place I can't say enough good things about, rates and preserves abandonware. Among the many outstanding titles available for download there is Master of Magic. If you don't still have all your MoM disks (or like me have them, but have stored them somewhere inconvenient), go grab the game from Underdogs and remind yourself why a second in the series would make you really quite happy. The archive is even patched to the last version.
Note that MoM has one of the highest User Ratings of any of the thousands of Underdogs titles, and that it's been granted the site's highest award, entry into the Hall of Belated Fame.