Heroes of Might and Magic

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Heroes of Might and Magic
Heroes of Might and Magic logo.png
Logo for the Heroes of Might and Magic series
Genre(s) Turn-based strategy
Developer(s) New World Computing (1995-2003)
Nival Interactive (for Heroes V )
Black Hole Entertainment (for Heroes VI )
Limbic Entertainment (for Heroes VI and VII )
Virtuos (for Shades of Darkness )
Publisher(s) New World Computing (1995-1996)
The 3DO Company (1996-2003)
Ubisoft (2003-)
Creator(s) Jon Van Caneghem
Platform(s) DOS, Linux, Game Boy Color, Mac OS, Windows, RISC OS
First release Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest
1995
Latest release Might & Magic Heroes VII
2015
Spin-offs Heroes Chronicles
Kingdoms
Clash of Heroes
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

Might & Magic Heroes, known as Heroes of Might and Magic prior to 2011, is a series of video games originally created and developed by Jon Van Caneghem through New World Computing. As part of the Might and Magic franchise, the series changed ownership when NWC was acquired by 3DO and again when 3DO closed down and sold the rights to Ubisoft. [1] The games feature turn-based, fantasy-themed conflicts in which players control armies of mythical creatures. The series began in 1995 with the release of the first title. A seventh installment, Might & Magic Heroes VII , was released on September 29, 2015. [2]

Jon Van Caneghem American video game designer

Jon Van Caneghem 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.

New World Computing

New World Computing, Inc. was an American video game developer and publisher founded in 1984 by Jon Van Caneghem, his wife, Michaela Van Caneghem, and Mark Caldwell. It was best known for its work on the Might and Magic role-playing video game series and its spin-offs, especially Heroes of Might and Magic. The company was purchased by and became a division of The 3DO Company on July 10, 1996 from NTN Communications, after NTN purchased New World Computing for $10 million in stock.

<i>Might and Magic</i> series of role-playing video games

Might and Magic is a series of role-playing video games from New World Computing, which in 1996 became a subsidiary of The 3DO Company. The producer of the series was Jon Van Caneghem.

Contents

New World Computing closed after the production of Heroes of Might and Magic IV , and since then the rights to the franchise have been owned by Ubisoft. Nival Interactive developed the first game in the series since the changeover, Heroes of Might and Magic V . Black Hole Entertainment developed its sequel Might & Magic Heroes VI , but Limbic Entertainment developed later patches and the DLC, as well as Might & Magic Heroes VII . Virtuos developed the Shades of Darkness standalone expansion for Heroes VI.

<i>Heroes of Might and Magic IV</i> video game

Heroes of Might and Magic IV is a turn-based strategy game developed by Gus Smedstad through New World Computing and published by the 3DO Company for Microsoft Windows-based personal computers in 2002. A Macintosh port was subsequently developed by Contraband Entertainment and released by the 3DO Company. The fourth installment of the popular Heroes of Might and Magic franchise, it is the sequel to Heroes of Might and Magic III, and was the last to be developed by New World Computing.

<i>Heroes of Might and Magic V</i> turn-based strategy video game

Heroes of Might and Magic V is the fifth installment of the Heroes of Might and Magic fantasy turn-based strategy video game series. The game was released by Ubisoft in Europe on May 16, and then in the United States and Canada on May 24, 2006, with the publisher guiding Nival Interactive in its development. Following the closure of The 3DO Company, Ubisoft bought the rights to the Might and Magic franchise, and used Heroes V as a means to reboot the series with a brand new setting, called Ashan, and no continuity to previous titles.

Black Hole Entertainment was a Hungarian video game developer, founded in 2001 in Budapest by seven young game enthusiasts.

The series is directed primarily at the DOS and Windows platforms, with sporadic support for Mac OS over the years. In addition to Windows and Mac platforms, Heroes II was ported to RISC OS [3] and Heroes III was ported to Linux. [4] GameTap has carried the first four games in the series since 2006. [5] Remakes have also appeared on the Game Boy Color.

DOS group of closely-related PC-compatible operating systems

DOS is a family of disk operating systems, hence the name. DOS primarily consists of MS-DOS and a rebranded version under the name IBM PC DOS, both of which were introduced in 1981. Other later compatible systems from other manufacturers include DR-DOS (1988), ROM-DOS (1989), PTS-DOS (1993), and FreeDOS (1998). MS-DOS dominated the x86-based IBM PC compatible market between 1981 and 1995.

Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Windows families include Windows NT and Windows Embedded; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Embedded Compact or Windows Server. Defunct Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

RISC OS computer operating system by Acorn Computers Ltd

RISC OS is a computer operating system originally designed by Acorn Computers Ltd in Cambridge, England. First released in 1987, it was specifically designed to run on the ARM chipset, which Acorn had designed concurrently for use in its new line of Archimedes personal computers. RISC OS takes its name from the RISC architecture supported.

Games

Timeline of release years
1990 King's Bounty
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995 Heroes of Might and Magic I
1996 Heroes of Might and Magic II
1997
1998
1999 Heroes of Might and Magic III
2000
2001
2002 Heroes of Might and Magic IV
2003
2004
2005
2006 Heroes of Might and Magic V
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011 Heroes of Might and Magic VI
2012
2013
2014
2015 Heroes of Might and Magic VII
Screenshot from Heroes of Might and Magic II HoMM2 screenshot.png
Screenshot from Heroes of Might and Magic II
Screenshot from Heroes of Might and Magic V HeroesV Gameplay.png
Screenshot from Heroes of Might and Magic V

King's Bounty (1990), an earlier game from New World Computing, largely precipitated the design of Heroes and is included in some Heroes anthologies. It was later remade and branded as a Heroes title for the PlayStation 2 game, Quest for the Dragon Bone Staff. A sequel to King's Bounty was released in 2008 as King's Bounty: The Legend .

<i>Kings Bounty</i> turn-based fantasy computer and video game

King's Bounty is a turn-based fantasy video game designed by Jon Van Caneghem and published by New World Computing in 1990. The game follows the player's character, a hero of King Maximus, appointed with the job of retrieving the Sceptre of Order from the forces of chaos, led by Arech Dragonbreath. King's Bounty is notably considered the forerunner of the Heroes of Might and Magic series of games, while it was itself clearly "inspired" by the game Chaos: The Battle of Wizards for the ZX Spectrum.

PlayStation 2 sixth-generation and second home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment

The PlayStation 2 (PS2) is a home video game console that was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the successor to the original PlayStation console and is the second iteration in the PlayStation lineup of consoles. It was released in 2000 and competed with Sega's Dreamcast, Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox in the sixth generation of video game consoles.

<i>Kings Bounty: The Legend</i> video game

King's Bounty: The Legend is a fantasy Tactical role-playing video game, developed by Russian studio Katauri Interactive, published by 1C Company, and released for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X in 2008. The game is based upon the King's Bounty property released by New World Computing in 1990, and blends elements of the original game with a modernized interface and gameplay elements. The game's story sees players taking on the role of a special treasure hunter for a king, who soon becomes embroiled on a quest to save their daughter and prevent their world from being destroyed.

Main titles, expansions and adventure packs

<i>Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest</i> video game

Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest is a turn-based strategy game developed and published by New World Computing in 1995 for DOS. A spin-off of New World Computing's Might and Magic series of role-playing video games, the success of Heroes of Might and Magic led to a number of sequels.

<i>Heroes of Might and Magic II</i> video game

Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars is a turn-based strategy video game developed by Jon Van Caneghem through New World Computing and published in 1996 by the 3DO Company. The game is the second installment of the Heroes of Might and Magic series and is typically credited as the breakout game for the series. Heroes II was voted the sixth-best PC game of all time by PC Gamer in May 1997.

<i>Heroes of Might and Magic III</i> video game

Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia is a turn-based strategy game developed by Jon Van Caneghem through New World Computing originally released for Microsoft Windows by the 3DO Company in 1999. Its ports to several computer and console systems followed in 1999-2000. It is the third installment of the Heroes of Might and Magic series. The game's story is first referenced throughout Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven and serves as a prequel to Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor. The player can choose to play through seven different campaigns telling the story, or play in a scenario against computer or human opponents.

Spin-offs

Anthologies and special editions

Gameplay

The Heroes series is within the genre of turn-based strategy. The titular heroes are player characters who can recruit armies, move around the map, capture resources, and engage in combat. The heroes also incorporate some role-playing game elements; they possess a set of statistics that confer bonuses to an army, artifacts that enhance their powers, and knowledge of magical spells that can be used to attack enemies or produce strategic benefits. Also, heroes gain experience levels from battle, such that veteran heroes are significantly more powerful than inexperienced ones. Experienced heroes may persist through a campaign, but generally do not carry over between scenarios.

On a typical map, players begin a game with one town of a chosen alignment. The number of different alignments varies throughout the series, with the lowest count of four appearing initially in Heroes I and peaking at nine in the Heroes III expansion Armageddon's Blade. Each town alignment hosts a unique selection of creatures from which the player can build an army. Town alignment also determines other unique traits such as native hero classes, special bonuses or abilities, and leanings toward certain skills or kinds of magic.

Towns play a central role in the games since they are the primary source of income and new recruits. A typical objective in each game is to capture all enemy towns. Maps may also start with neutral towns, which do not send out heroes but may still be captured by any player. It is therefore possible, and common, to have more towns than players on a map. When captured, a town retains its alignment type, allowing the new owner to create a mixed army, although Heroes VI introduces the ability to change a town's alignment to the capturing player's. A player or team is eliminated when no towns or heroes are left under their control, or they do not control a town for seven consecutive days. Barring any special conditions, the last player or team remaining is the victor.

A side objective commonly appearing in the series is the acquisition of a powerful object called the "ultimate artifact" (Heroes I and II), grail (III and IV), or Tear of Asha (V, VI, and VII), buried somewhere on the map. In all games except Heroes VI, heroes visit special locations (called obelisks, or oracles in Heroes IV) to gradually reveal a map of the location of the artifact; in Heroes VI, a hero must instead collect four Fragments of the Moon Disc, which then causes the Tear of Asha to appear somewhere on the map. The ultimate artifact provides immense bonuses to the hero that carries it; the grail or Tear of Asha allows the hero to construct a special building in one of their towns that confers immense bonuses to the player.

Time and resource model

Each turn (consisting of all players' moves) is represented as a single day, and days are organized into cycles of weeks and months (measured as four weeks). The primary resource is gold, which is generated by towns on a daily basis. Gold alone is sufficient for obtaining basic buildings and most creatures. As construction progresses, increasing amounts of secondary resources such as wood, ore, gems, crystals, sulfur, and mercury are required. These resources, as well as gold, are produced at mines and other secondary structures, which are located on the map and require heroes to capture them. As with towns, mines can also be captured by enemy heroes, presenting an additional avenue for conflict.

At the start of each week (each day in Heroes IV), creature dwellings produce new recruits, and in most cases neutral armies will increase in size (by default; can be turned off if desired). In some of the games, the start of a new month causes neutral armies to spawn all over the map, providing fresh challenges and opportunities.

Combat

Whenever a player engages in battle, the game changes from the adventure map display to a combat screen, which is based on either a hexagonal or square grid. In this mode, the game mimics the turn-based tactics genre, as the engaged armies must carry through the battle without the opportunity to reinforce or gracefully retreat. With few exceptions, combat must end with the losing army deserting, being destroyed, or paying a heavy price in gold to surrender. Surrendering allows the player to keep the remaining units intact.

Creatures in an army are represented by unit stacks, each of which consists of a single type of creature, in any quantity. A limited number of stacks are available to each army, varying by game. Players generally maneuver their stacks attempting to achieve the most favorable rate of attrition for themselves. The games also have an automatic combat option that allows the computer to make tactical choices for a player. Heroes participate in battle as well: passively by granting bonuses to their army, and actively by engaging in combat and casting spells. In most of the games, heroes do not act as units, and cannot be harmed. However, in Heroes IV they do act as regular units and can be "killed"; these dead heroes are transferred to the nearest town's dungeon where they can be freed if their team captures the town.

Combat is affected by several random factors. In addition to simulating dice rolls to determine damage, a variety of influences including hero abilities and special bonuses determine a unit's luck and morale ratings, which affect the likelihood of those units triggering a bonus during combat. A unit that triggers good luck deals more (or receives less) damage, and a unit that triggers high morale receives an extra turn. In some other games, luck and morale can also be negative, with opposite corresponding effects. Luck and morale can be improved by hero abilities, artifacts, and spells. Morale may suffer with overwhelming odds in combat or by mixing incompatible unit types (e.g. Chaos with Order.)

History of changes

Knowledge allows heroes to cast more spells, either through a spell memorization (HoMM I) or spell point (II-V) system.

Heroes II introduced secondary skills. Heroes can learn a limited variety of secondary skills with several levels of proficiency. Secondary skills give specific, miscellaneous bonuses to heroes and their armies. For example, skill in logistics increases the distance a hero's army can travel, while skill in leadership gives their army a morale bonus.

Beginning with Heroes II, some creatures were able to be upgraded. By Heroes III, every creature (excluding those not found in any castle) was able to be upgraded.

Heroes III also introduced a new artifact platform; rather than having 14 spaces for any artifact, the player instead has a much larger backpack, but can only use a limited number. For example, only one headpiece can be used at a time, as well as only one pair of boots, etc.

Replay value

Games in the series often include a map editor and/or random map generator. Several fansites collect and rate user-generated maps.

Storyline

Original universe

A single-player campaign map of Antagarich as seen in Heroes III: Armageddon's Blade. HeroesCampaign.png
A single-player campaign map of Antagarich as seen in Heroes III: Armageddon's Blade .

Up until Heroes of Might and Magic V , the Heroes series took place in the same fictional universe as the Might and Magic series, and later Might and Magic installments heavily referenced the games, with some taking place in the same world.

Heroes I and II take place on the planet of Enroth, on a northerly continent of the same name, and chronicle the adventures of the Ironfist dynasty. The protagonist of Heroes I is Lord Morglin Ironfist, a knight who discovers a portal to the realm of Enroth while fleeing from his throne's usurpers, and goes on to conquer and dominate the continent, establishing a unified kingdom and a new rule.

Heroes II featured a two-sided conflict between Morglin's sons, Roland and Archibald, both vying for their deceased father's throne. Canonically, Roland defeats Archibald, though the player can choose to align themself with either side. It was the first game in the series to feature playable heroes as campaign characters—the main characters of Heroes I were represented by the player's presence rather than as commanders on the battlefield.

The storylines of Heroes III and the Heroes Chronicles shift focus to the Gryphonheart dynasty on the southern continent of Antagarich, and introduces the Kreegan as playable characters and enemies. In Heroes III, Queen Catherine Gryphonheart, King Roland's wife, is called home to attend her father's funeral, to discover Antagarich being torn apart by various factions. Heroes III's expansions build on the setting with more prominent character development, featuring new and old heroes from the series in differing roles.

The events preceding Heroes IV precipitated the destruction of Enroth due to a clash between Armageddon's Blade and the Sword of Frost. The ensuing destruction brings about portals leading to another world, Axeoth, through which many characters escape. Heroes IV's campaigns focus on the scattered survivors from Enroth and Antagarich as they form new kingdoms and alliances in the new world.

Ubisoft continuity

Heroes of Might and Magic V was the first Might and Magic title to take place on the previously unheard of world of Ashan, as part of Ubisoft's franchise-wide continuity reboot. Its six campaigns are each centered around a faction leader, tied together by the character of Isabel Greyhound, Queen of the Griffin Empire. The Heroes V expansion packs both continued this storyline, leading into the events of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic . Heroes VI acts as a prequel, occurring 400 years prior.

Reception

Critical reception for the series has been generally positive, with GameRankings scores averaging from the high 70s to high 80s.[ citation needed ]

By October 1997, overall sales of the Heroes of Might and Magic series had surpassed 500,000 copies. [9] This number had risen to 1.5 million copies by December 1999. [10] The Might and Magic franchise as a whole, including the Heroes series, surpassed 4.5 million copies in sales by May 2001. [11]

Production

Related Research Articles

<i>Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven</i> video game

Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven, commonly abbreviated to Might and Magic VI or simply MM6, is a role-playing video game developed by New World Computing and published by 3DO in 1998. It is the sixth installment in the Might and Magic series, the sequel to Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen and the first of the Might and Magic titles to take place in the same world as Heroes of Might and Magic. It continues the storyline of Heroes of Might and Magic II, and takes place at the same time as Heroes of Might and Magic III in the series chronology.

<i>Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor</i> video game

Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor is a role-playing game for Windows published in 1999 by 3DO and developed by New World Computing; it was re-released in 2011 on GOG.com. The game follows on from both the events of Heroes of Might and Magic III, and those of Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven. Players form a party of four characters who win a castle in a scavenger hunt and soon become embroiled in political events on the continent of Antagarich, in the world of Enroth, before eventually choosing one of two paths and working alongside a number of characters, whose storyline continues on from the events of Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra. The game, Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer is a sequel to Blood and Honor.

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<i>Heroes Chronicles</i>

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<i>Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East</i> second expansion pack to video game Heroes of Might and Magic V

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<i>Might & Magic Heroes VII</i> turn-based strategy game in the Heroes of Might and Magic series

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References

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  3. "Heroes of Might and Magic 2". www.arsvcs.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
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  7. O'Connor, Alice (2014-08-13). "HOMMage: Might & Magic Heroes VII Announced". Rock Paper Shotgun . Retrieved 2014-08-13.
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  9. Staff (October 30, 1997). "3DO in Flux". PC Gamer US . Archived from the original on February 18, 1998.
  10. "3DO Ships Heroes of Might and Magic(R) III for Macintosh(R)" (Press release). Redwood City, California: PR Newswire. December 21, 1999. Archived from the original on April 25, 2001.
  11. "3DO Announces Heroes of Might and Magic® IV" (Press release). Redwood City, California: The 3DO Company. May 15, 2001. Archived from the original on June 11, 2001.