Had it been up to me, the Heads of Houses would not have grown very far beyond the pampered aristocrats we saw in Chapter 3: I felt like too much of them might slow the story down. Phil saw it very differently: he was always about adding more detail and texture. The Hall of Houses we ended up with is probably the best argument in the series for doing things his way.

Continuing a tradition I had established off the cuff, he generated an entire ruling class with names taken from semi-famous game designers. Not the big, big names, who might’ve been too distracting: there’s no Gygax or Wright or Meier here. But Dean Reynolds takes his name from Brian Reynolds, the lead designer on a lot of Meier properties and some of Zynga’s addictive “Ville” games.

Jon Van Caneghem, appropriately enough, made his game designing debut with Might and Magic. I wouldn’t read too far into these characters as a comment on their namesakes, though: neither Phil nor I were plugged into the video game industry enough to do more than these cute little nods.