Age of Wonders 3 came back to life after a long absence, and we might just have Minecraft to thank for it. Lead designer Lennert Sas says that Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson not only helped finance the game, but provided valuable feedback as well.
Triumph had gained the rights to the Age of Wonders name and began selling the older games on Steam, and felt surprised with the steady revenue stream. It started building a playable sequel, and around that time, the team noticed that Persson had slipped a nice note about Age of Wonders in the Minecraft splash screen.
"And then by pure chance--this was in 2011 I think, right before Kickstarter became really popular--we noticed that Markus Persson had written something on the Minecraft splash screen that talked very favorably about Age of Wonders," Sas told Gamasutra. "Of course we knew about his success, and so we figured that if he was a fan we should send him a note and see if he wanted to do something with us. This was before Markus became super super busy, and he said 'Well, let’s meet so I can see the game. Come to Sweden!'"
Sas said that they met with Persson, who was "totally hands-off" on the project but did make a "significant financial contribution" to it. Less directly, Persson served as a test case for the old-school fan they were hoping to please. "He was an inspiration though, because he liked the game for what it was in the past, and so--just like our fans on the forums--he kind of represented the person we were making this game for. Markus has also been very inspiring to follow on the self-publishing path. The way he’s so open and engages with the community of his fans has been a great inspiration for this project."