New World Computing is currently at work on Might and Magic IX for the PC, the next
entry in one of the longest-running RPG series for any platform. With this installment, NWC has
its focus aimed at improving the graphics engine, acknowledging that recent offerings have lagged
behind the contemporary scene in terms of visual technology. Specifically, NWC will implement the
LithTech engine that, according to designer Tim Lang, makes for a more detailed game world with
increased latitude for interaction. For Might and Magic IX, this will include a preponderance of scripted events similar to
those found in games such as Half Life and No One Lives Forever. The player can listen
in on bantering characters to find out more about the story, and Lang mentioned that in one area there is a staged, interactive play.
The game's areas are connected by an overworld map screen that provides short-cuts to various locations in lieu of extraneous loading.
Other features include a new branching dialogue system, as well as a class system allowing for flexible character development, wherein
classes can be swapped during play. Might classes include paladins, rangers, crusaders and mercenaries, while
magic classes include mages, druids, liches and priests. A multitude of classes can now utilize spell-casting, rendering
magic-using a more accessible art. Furthermore, a unique range of skills are available to each class as they develop. Combat offers real-time and turn-based modes, and the LithTech engine is said to allow for a more "action-oriented" feel.
While no release date for Might and Magic IX is etched in stone, RPGamer will report as soon as that information becmes available. Kudos go out to Jon Runheim for the heads-up.