After 25 years, Master of Magic has finally been summoned again. After a stint languishing at Atari, the rights to the formative fantasy 4X game have been acquired by Slitherine, the publisher also responsible for bringing back the similarly ancient Fantasy General.
Despite having a rocky start, Master of Magic carved out a comfortable spot for itself in the history of the strategy genre, inspiring plenty of 4X games and consistently appearing on nostalgic 'best of' lists. While it doesn't feature on our own best strategy games on PC list, its influence is still there in games like Endless Legend.
Originally published by MicroProse, it was part of a wave of exceptional turn-based strategy games, including Civilization, Master of Orion and X-COM. Each of them went onto have sequels, but not Master of Magic. Other fantasy 4X games carried the torch, but no proper follow-ups managed to get off the ground. That looks set to change.
"We are looking forward to working on this immensely popular franchise", said Slitherine development director Ian McNeil. "We know there is a high level of responsibility when we try and develop sequels or successors to popular IPs. We have proven it is possible to fulfil players expectations with the likes of Panzer Corps when it comes to work on these legendary products."
Slitherine didn't reveal specific plans in the announcement, but McNeil tells me that we can expect something new in the near future, "like we did for Fantasy General". A sequel seems very likely, then.
Maybe being in stasis for the last quarter of a century has been a good thing. I can hardly remember the bugs or rubbish bits, and most people now just know it through its reputation, which hasn't been tarnished by Master of Orion 3-type disasters.
The original is available on GOG and perfectly playable thanks to DOSBox.