Julien: Hi, my name is Julien Pirou, I’m the Lead Level Designer of the game here at Ubisoft.
Max: Hi, I’m Max von Knorring, the Associate Producer on the game working at Ubisoft.
Hooked Gamers: The Heroes of Might & Magic series has an incredibly rich history and is one of the most beloved Turn-Based Strategy titles of all time. What is it like to work on such a game?
Julien: For me it is really exhilarating to be working on this game because I’ve been a huge fan of the Might & Magic series – not only Heroes, but the original RPGs as well - for years. I’m the “promoted fanboy” of the team :) I’ve been doing fan maps for years now – starting with Heroes II – so it does feel a bit weird to be drafting maps for the “real thing”.
Max: I have to say it’s a mix of pure pressure and excitement! Both come from the Might & Magic legacy and the love and respect I have for all the previous games. The main objective for us is to deliver an experience that will avoid altering the essence of the game system while bringing it one step forward in terms of immersion and fun.
Hooked Gamers: What sort of challenges did you face being the 3rd studio to work on the series? Do you feel you’re missing input from its original creators or does it just free you from restraints the original studio would have?
Max: Ubisoft has been working on Might & Magic titles since 2004, so I think we’re starting to have some experience with the brand now :) We have our own long term goals for Might & Magic but we don’t intend to betray the foundations established by New World Computing.
Julien: Also a lot of members of the dev team (Black Hole) are big fans of the series so it was easy to find a common vision with them. We think they were really the perfect guys for the job.
Hooked Gamers: The storyline sees the Necromancer and Haven factions working together with Orcs against an Inferno invasion. With little love lost between any of those, the alliance must be very fragile. How is this depicted in the game?
Julien: Well for starters our storyline is a little bit subtler than that ;) This time around Inferno is not at the center of the intrigue. Yes, there’s a Demon invasion, and yes, that’s quite a threat to all the peoples of Ashan, but there are a lot of things going on behind the scene.
So yes, there will be alliances between some of the factions, but as you guessed, it won’t be without downsides and sacrifices as well.
Max: One important thing to take into account is that there are different “political groups” inside each faction. Not all Necromancers think the same way, some Orcs are friendlier than others, and in Haven there are both chivalrous heroes and fanatical Inquisitors. So there’s a lot of inner politics and conflicts this time around. It allows us to flesh out the nations of Ashan much more than in Heroes V where they were pretty monolithic.