What originally appeared to be little more than a generic fantasy turn-based strategy game is fast becoming a great little title with much to recommend it. As well as tea drinking generals, RPG element-infused armies, and an art style that collides fantasy with steam punk, development of Age of Wonders III turns out to have been largely funded by Minecraft's creator Markus 'Notch' Persson.
Eurogamer first brought up the topic of funding with developer Triumph Studios when they could find no word of a publisher funding the project. The developer would not say who it was, only that they were a "big partner". Eurogamer then suggested it might have been Epic Games, who have previously been involved with developing the series.
It turns out it was in fact Notch.
In 2010 development on the Age of Wonders III was already under way though Triumph had yet to be successful in securing a publisher to see production of Age of Wonders through to completion, when they saw that "Minecraft's random title-screen blurb mentioned Age of Wonders," Lennart Sas, co-owner and managing director of Triumph, told Eurogamer. "So I thought what the heck and I sent Notch an email."
"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."
Age of Wonders III is currently on track for a PC release this Autumn.