Turns out the "big partner" helping fund Age of Wonders 3 isn't Epic Games but is Notch, creator of Minecraft, real name Markus Persson.

He's contributed to such a degree that Dutch developer Triumph Studios (Overlord) doesn't need a publisher for Age of Wonders 3, although distribution and co-publishing deals aren't ruled out.

Why is Notch doing this? Because he's a fan of the Age of Wonders series.

notch
It's summer 2012 and Notch and two Triumph developers enjoy a beer and a joke, by the looks of it.

Lennart Sas, co-owner and managing director of Triumph, explained the unconventional way the partnership came about.

"We noticed Minecraft's random title-screen blurb mentioned Age of Wonders," he told me, "so I thought what the heck and I sent Notch an email.

"We had a demo for Age of Wonders 3 and talked to various parties including traditional publishers. There was certainly interest but the prospect of having Notch help fund was a dream come true, as he's a fan of the game and didn't insist on owning it like many of the publishers do these days when they fund development.

"It certainly didn't happen overnight," he added, "and he kept a healthy business sense towards the project. His biggest concern was that it would cost him a lot of time, so it helped that we made this sort of game before and were at an advanced stage of development.

"Notch is pretty much hands off. He's a super busy man, now even more so then when we approached him."

Age of Wonders 3, unlike so many resurrected PC series of late, has avoided Kickstarter and opted for a more traditional and probably more expensive development approach.

Work began in 2010 and the turn-based strategy RPG looks to already be in good shape. It's due out this autumn on PC. A Mac version is planned and may even launch simultaneously. A tablet version is on the cards as well but will take longer to make.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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