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Jon Van Caneghem (born 1962/1963)[1] is an American video game director, designer and producer. He is best known for launching development studio New World Computing in 1983, making his design debut in 1986 with Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum. During the company's 20-year lifespan, Van Caneghem was involved in the creation and direction of several franchises, including the Might and Magic role-playing series and the spin-off Heroes of Might and Magic and King's Bounty strategy series.

Early life

Van Caneghem was raised on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California, United States by his mother, an artist, and his stepfather, a neurologist at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He attended grade school at Lycée Français de Los Angeles and his collegiate alma mater is UCLA, where he started as a pre-med student and graduated with a degree in computer science.[1]


In 1983, Van Caneghem founded New World Computing, a publisher and developer of computer and console games.

Their first title was the medieval fantasy Might and Magic: Secret of the Inner Sanctum—one of the first role-playing games to feature detailed drawings of both indoor and outdoor locations.[2] It debuted in 1986 for the Apple II.[3] The series went on to include nine bestselling games, all of which Van Cangehem co-created. In 1990 Van Caneghem released King's Bounty, the forerunner of the Heroes of Might and Magic series of seven games which feature turn-based, fantasy-themed conflicts in which players control armies of mythical creatures.

In the following 20 years as president and CEO of New World Computing, Van Caneghem oversaw the publishing of more than 250 titles worldwide.

Van Caneghem sold New World Computing to developer and publisher 3DO in 1996 for USD $13 million.[4] He remained with 3DO as president and "lead visionary" until 2003 when 3DO filed for bankruptcy and eliminated its New World Computing division.[5] The rights to the Might and Magic name were purchased for $1.3 million by Ubisoft, which revived the franchise with a new series under the same name.[6]

From 2004 to 2005, Van Caneghem worked at NCSoft as executive producer of a massively multiplayer online game.[7] In 2006 Van Caneghem left NCSoft and launched Trion World Network, headquartered in Redwood City, California, after securing more than $100 million[8] in investment capital from Time Warner, NBC Universal, General Electric and Bertelsmann.[9] Trion produces server-side browser games.

Van Caneghem left Trion in 2009[10] and joined Electronic Arts Los Angeles where he collaborated on Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight.[11] He remained in the succeeding studio, Victory Games, as general manager, leading the development of Command & Conquer (2013) [12] On 29 October 2013, Victory Games closed and all staff was fired.

In 2014, Jon Van Caneghem founded VC Mobile Entertainment, also in Los Angeles, and unveiled its first title, Creature Quest, in January 2016.


Van Caneghem was inducted into the Computer Gaming World Hall of Fame in 2004 for Strategy and Role-Playing.[13] The first Might and Magic games is number 44 in Computer Gaming World's Hall of Fame,[14] and the Heroes of Might and Magic II is number 31.[15]


  • Might and Magic, 1986
  • Might and Magic II, 1988
  • Nuclear War, 1989
  • Tunnels & Trolls: Crusaders of Khazan, 1990
  • King's Bounty, 1990
  • Planet's Edge, 1991
  • Might and Magic III, 1991
  • Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen, 1992
  • Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen, 1993
  • Zephyr, 1994
  • Might and Magic: World of Xeen, 1994
  • Inherit the Earth: Quest for the Orb, 1994
  • Hammer of the Gods, 1994
  • Wetlands, 1995
  • Swords of Xeen, 1995
  • Multimedia Celebrity Poker, 1995
  • Heroes of Might and Magic, 1995
  • Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest, 1995
  • Anvil of Dawn, 1995
  • Spaceward Ho! IV for Windows, 1996
  • Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars, 1996
  • Empire II: The Art of War, 1996
  • Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Price of Loyalty, 1997
  • Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven, 1998
  • Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor, 1999
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia, 1999
  • Crusaders of Might and Magic, 1999
  • Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer, 2000
  • Heroes Chronicles: Warlords of the Wastelands, 2000
  • Heroes Chronicles: Masters of the Elements, 2000
  • Heroes Chronicles: Conquest of the Underworld, 2000
  • Heroes Chronicles: Clash of the Dragons, 2000
  • Legends of Might and Magic, 2001
  • Heroes of Might and Magic: Quest for the Dragon Bone Staff, 2001
  • Heroes Chronicles: The Final Chapters, 2001
  • Might and Magic IX, 2002
  • Heroes of Might and Magic IV, 2002
  • Heroes of Might and Magic IV: The Gathering Storm, 2002
  • Heroes of Might and Magic IV: Winds of War, 2003
  • Heroes of Might and Magic V (cancelled New World Computing production, 2003)
  • Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, 2010
  • Command & Conquer (cancelled, originally announced for 2013/2014)



  1. 1.0 1.1 AN EDUCATION IN GAME MARKET\33-year-old's magical touch has transformed passion for role playing\adventures into a lucrative reality from
  2. High score!: the illustrated history of electronic games from Google Books
  3. The History of Computer Role-Playing Games Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993) from Gamasutra
  4. [ 3DO and NTN Inc. Complete New World Computing Acquisition.}}
  5. [ 3DO files for bankruptcy|author=David Becker}}
  6. Namco, Ubisoft and MS carve up 3DO assets
  7. {{cite web|url= Q&A: NCsoft executive producer Jon Van Caneghem]
  8. Trion World Network Nets $70 Million More
  9. Q&A: Trion's Buttler Talks $30 Million Online World Funding
  10. [ Trion World Network plays executive musical chairs]
  11. Interview: Jon Van Caneghem on Reinventing Command & Conquer
  12. Interview: Van Caneghem Talks EALA's Vision, Command & Conquer
  13. Classic Personal Computer (PC) Games » The Computer Gaming World Hall of Fame from
  14. Computer Gaming World Hall of Fame from
  15. Computer Gaming World Hall of Fame from

External links

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