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Proto:Might and Magic IV

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Might and Magic IV.

In 1992, New World Computing released a non-interactive game demo for their upcoming Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen. While the demo showcased some of the basic features, there are several noteworthy differences from the demo to final release.

Early Textures

Autoplay demo Final game
Simple, but effective Stylish, but lazily recolored

A completely different version of Jon Van Canegham's signature is used in the demo. The final game, as well as its sequel, uses a recolor of the screen used in the previous title.

Don't think there's beer, down there

This doorway leading into a cellar didn't make it into the final game. In fact, none of the five main towns even have any "dungeons" within the cities, unlike the sequel.

Autoplay demo Final game
Sidewalks? In my high-fantasy setting? I don't think so.

The final game uses a much different texture for pathways within cities. Also of note, there are no dirt pathways within cities, in the final.

Differences from Release

.....New World Computing, Inc. presents the Best in Fantasy Roleplaying.....
Might and Magic: Clouds of Xeen
The fourth installment in the award winning series of Might and Magic games.....

All throughout the demo, except for when Crodo is documenting his plight (due to captioned text), the caption bar repeats this text.

Autoplay demo Final game
It's pretty, but it sure does eat up hard drive space Mmm… space-saving animation cuts

In the demo, you see Crodo actually set his scroll down before opening it. In the final, he just opens it.

Autoplay demo Final game
That's kind of hard to read… That's a bit better

The global text font is shaded, much like the font from the previous game. The final game uses a solid-colored font. In addition, the final game uses a darker color for the text on Crodo's scroll. There are also captions on the cutscenes in the final, but the demo just skips over the scroll scene entirely, if the sound card isn't set to Sound Blaster or better.

Autoplay demo Final game
Too many brunettes and old dudes, not enough pretty girls See, isn't that better?

The default party has three completely different party members, compared to the final game. Although, you can create your own party and those portraits are in the final, so it may just be a custom "demo" party.

Autoplay demo Final game
That's a lotta arrows! Still a scary sight, if pointed at you

It's hard to see in the screenshot, but the party is firing eight arrows, despite only having space for six party members. In the final, you can only have six archers, maximum (or seven, via hacking/hex editing). Since Clouds of Xeen was built using the Isles of Terra game engine, this could simply be a carry-over from the previous game's eight-member party system, or it may be that the final game was intended to have eight party members, as well.

Autoplay demo Final game
A serene, moonlit tower Maybe a bit too on-the-nose, now…

After the demo finishes, it returns to Zardog's Tower (where Crodo is held captive) with the game's logo. In the final game, there's an actual title screen.

Demo-Exclusive Voice Samples

Within the Creative Labs VOC files of the demo are some lines for location guardians that didn't make it into the final game. While it's possible that they were placeholders for what the guardians would say in the final game, the wording seems to imply that the lines were recorded exclusively for the demo.

Autoplay demo Final game
"The towers I guard are the gateways to the cloud-worlds above. I'll be waiting for you."
"Without the proper key to this tower… you may not pass, mortals."

The guardian of the towers sounds completely different, in the final game. His voice is significantly less modulated and his voice is a bit more breathy. He's also a bit less chatty.

Autoplay demo Final game
"I'll go anywhere to find a bargain! Even these Dwarf Mines, as long as they have might and magic!"
"Step right up! This way, to the action-packed, treasure-filled mines of the Red Dwarf Range!"

The demo's line sounds like a blatant sales pitch for the Might and Magic games. In the final, the dwarf sounds much more excited about the mines, themselves, his speech mimicking a chipmunk-sounding carnival barker advertising his attraction.

What sounds like a random, half-second laugh can be found under the filename of "EVILLAFF.VOC." This sound is never used in the demo, nor does it show up anywhere in the final game, so its intended use is a mystery.