Interviews// Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014

Posted 17 Jun 2013 15:40 by
Everybody loves a good card game. Wizards of the Coast knows this more than anyone, having seen phenomenal success with its multiple brands. Its prime franchise, arguably, is fantasy game Magic the Gathering, which in recent years has made the jump to PC and consoles.

With Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014, coming soon on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, iPad and Android devices, Wizards is hoping to refine the tactical gameplay which made the original video games popular and to satisfy some key requests from fans. I had a chat with brand manager Adam Dixon to find out exactly what those were.

SPOnG: First, could we get a little background information on yourself? What interested you about working on video games and how did you get into the industry?

Adam Dixon: My name is Adam Dixon, I am a Brand Manager for Magic: The Gathering. I grew up playing video games, RPGs, going to cons, etc., so gaming has always had a central role in my life. After graduate school I worked for several years in the banking industry while doing some consulting work on the side for a start-up digital game developer. Gaming is where my heart is though, so I eventually I found my way to Wizards of the Coast.

SPOnG: How successful have the Duels of the Planeswalkers video game series been, and how do they complement the main card game?

Adam Dixon: We have been thrilled to see the warm reception the game has received among both new and seasoned Magic players over the years. The entire Duels of the Planeswalkers franchise has easily become the best way for new players to discover and learn to play Magic which makes entry into the TCG quick and easy.

With Magic 2014, players are going to see an even more engaging storyline and a game play experience that will carry them straight into the Magic 2014 – Core Set.

SPOnG: How are you changing up the card play in Magic 2014?

Adam Dixon: With Magic 2014, we’re introducing a brand new game play mode – Sealed Play. In Sealed Play, players will be able to open six 14 card boosters and build a 40-card deck that they can use either in a Sealed Play campaign or in PvP. This is something players have been asking for for a long time, so we’re excited to be able to give them the deck building option.

SPOnG: Are you introducing new kinds of cards alongside the red, white, blue, black and green variety?

Adam Dixon: Magic 2014 and the Magic 2014 core set will feature several new cards that players will be excited about, but nothing we can reveal at this time.

SPOnG: Is it challenging to stay true to the franchise's roots while also making sure that each iteration feel fresh and new for players?

Adam Dixon: With Magic, we make sure to keep the game fresh by visiting new planes in the Multiverse each year and introducing new story elements, cards, art and mechanics. With so many creative people working on the game and so many ideas floating around, we have no trouble keeping Magic fun and exciting.

SPOnG: How do you overcome the issue of balance when introducing new cards and decks?

Adam Dixon: Our R&D team does an extensive amount of playtesting as part of the card and deck design and development process.

SPOnG: One feature that was sorely missed in the previous instalment was the ability to freely create decks, or mix and match cards. Has this feature been added in Magic 2014?

Adam Dixon: Yes, as I mentioned earlier, Magic 2014 will introduce the Sealed Play game mode that will allow players options for deck building.

SPOnG: What fan feedback did you take on board when considering improvements to the gameplay?

Adam Dixon: We are always listening to what our fans are saying. You saw this last year with the addition of optional manual mana tapping, and you can see it this year with the new Sealed Play game mode.

SPOnG: What's your opinion of digital distribution and the online games space? Do you think something like this series of Magic games would work on any other format or platform?

Adam Dixon: Magic 2014 will be available for Xbox, Playstation, PC, iPad and Android tablet for the first time this year. We have not announced any plans to expand beyond these platforms but we’re always exploring new options for Magic players to access and play the game.

Thanks to Adam for his time

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