Stardock, maker of numerous utilities and several games -- notably Galactic Civilizations -- asks a very leading question on their galciv.com site:
"Would you pre-order on-line a Master of Magic 2?"
It is posted on our Forum that Stardock is interested in developing MoM2 but wants to see around 5000 people stating interest in pre-ordering to feel comfortable committing. More information can be had from this thread at galciv.com. The two major points of interest would be that they would be true to the original Master of Magic rather than reinventing the game, and that Stardock would be acquiring the rights to MoM outright:
"[This] is essentially what we would do. Take the original game and enhance the graphics (3D engine still top down but now you could zoom in and out on the map at will) and give it a good AI..."
"...[T]he risk ON US would be high for doing a MOM2 would be precisely because Stardock would have full control over the game.
That's the trade off. Stardock would self-fund the project (i.e. 7 digit budget). The reason Galactic Civilizations was done in the way it was was because we self-funded that. That gives us a lot of flexibility. But that flexibility comes with a price.
5k pre-orders at $45 apiece would be less than a quarter of the game's budget. But at least it would give us a good inkling that there was a demand for this game still. After all, some might argue that Age of Wonders and HOMM and other games have filled this niche (I don't personally agree with that)..."
"...For Stardock, the risk is too big to acquire the rights (Stardock would own the rights to a Master of Magic 2 so we would have creative control) if there isn't enough demand.
I am not certain that there is enough demand for a MOM 2 at this point to justify the expense.
We'll be deciding whether to pursue this or not in the next week or two.
Release date would be Fall 2006."
You must register on Stardock's site before you can vote in their poll (this is not immediately clear on their site). Please look at the two forum threads linked above for a diversity of opinions and information about Stardock.
My personal opinion, as posted in the forums, is as follows:
"I trust Stardock. They did an excellent job with GalCiv, in making a good turn-based game, in being clever and breaking ground with opponent AI, and in supporting the community. Three big pluses.
If they do get ... the MoM license from Atari, and I think that is the biggest if, it is my gut feeling that the game will be in good hands."