Creature Quest

Might and Magic may no longer resemble its roots as a turn-based, sometimes silly role-playing game, with its mix of science fiction and fantasy and some goofy monsters (like the Cuisinart). That comes from its creator, Jon Van Caneghem. He’s the CEO of VC Mobile Entertainment, but he started his career 30 years ago, inspired by his love of fantasy and sci-fi.

These days, like hordes of other designers, Van Caneghem is working on a mobile game. It’s called Creature Quest, and it’s a strategy game for smartphones and tablets (it’s already soft-launched in some regions). It’s a strategy role-playing game, and it’s full of nods to Might & Magic and its Heroes strategy game series, with silly jokes, artwork, and map mechanics that echo these beloved franchises.

GamesBeat interviewed Van Caneghem earlier this year. This is the first part of our conversation and an edited transcript.

GamesBeat: I’ve been playing your games since the original Might and Magic.

John Van Caneghem: Oh, my gosh. That goes back a ways.

GamesBeat: I’m old, too. I know a lot of people, when they think of old role-playing games, their favorites are Ultima or Wizardry, but mine are Might and Magic and Bard’s Tale.

Van Caneghem: I get a lot of people like that. There are different camps of things people like from that period in terms of the style or the strategy, how difficult they were.

GamesBeat: Party compositions, tone and humor.

Van Caneghem: Tone and humor was a big part of the Might and Magic series, yeah. We always tried to be a lot of fun.

So, I recently started a new company, about two years ago, called VCME, VC Mobile Entertainment. Our focus is mobile games. Our first product is now in soft launch, in Australia and New Zealand. Our first partner was Tencent, who invested in us, in our A round last year, which I think—you guys covered the announcement. We recently announced the game, Creature Quest. This is a strategy-RPG creature collectible game. It’s kind of a blend between some of the creature collection games people are familiar with and a lot of stuff I brought from Heroes of Might and Magic.

GamesBeat: Heroes was always one of my favorites.

Van Caneghem: One of the challenges—mobile games are the renaissance of gaming, the future of gaming for me. People always asked me what platform I like, and I always said, to me it’s wherever the gamers are. Where can I get to the most players possible and make something they’ll enjoy? It was PC, it was console, and today there’s such an amazing amount of people playing mobile games. They’re becoming more sophisticated. They’re not just little casual things anymore. We’re getting to very deep games, some of which are even more complicated than the 80s and 90s games I made. It was intriguing. I’ve been addicted to a lot of games out there right now. People have been telling me that so many of them are based on what I invented with the Heroes series, so we should go ahead and make one. This is our first game with my new studio. It’s called Creature Quest.

GamesBeat: Is it going to be iOS and Android?

Van Caneghem: Yes. It’s available right now just on iOS in Australia and New Zealand.

GamesBeat: I can see some callbacks to Might and Magic in the art already.

Van Caneghem: Yes, of course. We have all the famous fantasy creatures.

GamesBeat: You definitely twisted the style for mobile, but you can see it some of the runes, or this character right here, this one here.

Van Caneghem: The pyromancer, yeah. Definitely wanted to bring in–

GamesBeat: And the stylized castle, right out of–

Van Caneghem: –Crown of Heroes, yeah. I’ll get started here. This is our throne room. This is where you start the game. There’s a few things going on here I’ll explain. First off, across the bottom, these are similar tabs that some of the other collectible games have. We wanted to maintain some consistency with home. We have our creature collection. All the creatures you can collect and your whole inventory of them. There’s a treasure section.

GamesBeat: I’m seeing–

Van Caneghem: –lots of stuff going on.

GamesBeat: I see a blend of art styles. Some of it’s what you’d get from Asian games, some of it’s what you’d get from western games.

Van Caneghem: The first creatures you get are kind of a little cutesy, like this kitten mage. All these little pirate guys, a little dragon in a shell. A lot of little fun creatures. Then you start to collect the more powerful ones, all the way up the knights and dragons and wizards, and there’s a transition from small and cute, medium and powerful, to oh my gosh, these are legendary, amazing-looking creatures. But we have little things like these bats, little goblins with bats, the dragon in a shell, the matador bee. Tons of little fun things. A little friar mantis.

Those kitty mages!

Above: Those kitty mages!

Image Credit: VC Mobile Entertainment

GamesBeat: That’s totally your Might and Magic-style humor there.

Van Caneghem: We have tons of those in the game. They all have their own sound effects. In fact, all the sound and music is done by the same guy who worked with me at New World and did all the Heroes stuff. There’s a lot of continuity there. Then you go all the way to the more ferocious stuff, like the dinosaurs and druids. You have to have a phoenix. Five hundred creatures in the game at launch, and all sorts of collectible paths. There are different color groups. Each one has their own ability that’s different from all the other creatures. There are tons of treasure to collect, items. I’ll get into that in a second. The usual shop where you can buy the paid currency, which you can earn in the game, or buy extra if you want to play more or speed things up. The premium currency is our diamonds, but we do give a lot just for playing, for logging in, for participating in events. You can play the whole game without putting money in it. We want to make sure that people who just want to play, they can. If they really enjoy it and want more stuff, they can buy things they want. Here’s the way you get new creatures. One of the ways. You do this little summon. You spend either tickets or diamonds and it’s a random—ring the gong and see what comes down. Okay, I got a little fairy dragon. That’s the summoning. We have all the social stuff with your Facebook and friends and guilds and whatnot. But also the bookkeeping stuff is pretty cool. We have a very pretty art style, I think. Not a very anime look, a very western, Heroes type of look.

GamesBeat: But a little blended.

Van Caneghem: Yeah, a little blended. We wanted to bring in something for everyone, try to make a worldwide game.

GamesBeat: Which is not an approach a lot of people take.

Van Caneghem: With the Heroes games, we tried to appeal to a worldwide audience without having any—there wasn’t any kind of anime feel to it, but it did have a lot of Eastern Europe, Western Europe, U.S., fantasy from all sorts of different mythologies. Anyway, that’s some of the basics. Here’s the main ways you play the game. There’s three ways to play. The first is our most innovative, our questing system. This is very new to this style of creature collecting game. Nobody really has something like this. We have all these daily quests, controlled on the server with a schedule. Some are available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. They rotate and new ones come and go. They all have a little story background. They’re very comical. They tie into the creatures. Each one has different items and stuff that you want to collect by playing through those quests. You choose a quest and it has a difficulty setting, just like Heroes. The higher the difficulty, the better the rewards.

Source :

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