New World Computing's Heroes of Might & Magic series started out as a spin-off to their main franchise, the Might & Magic RPG series, but it ended up as one of the most successful turn-based strategy series to date. NWC produced 2 sequels to the game, all with more and more financial success, critical acclaim and expansion packs, catering to a shrinking, but very dedicated, niche market. However, after a rather weak 4th iteration and 3DO's drawn out struggle to stay alive, with its eventual demise in May 2003, the future of the series ended up in a state of limbo. Luckily for the fans of the series, Ubisoft saw enough potential in the games to purchase the rights to the entire Might and Magic franchise, and enlisted Nival interactive - a talented Russian developer team, responsible for games such as Etherlords and the Sudden Strike series - to develop a long over-due sequel.
This fifth installment managed to build heavily on the gameplay of Heroes of Might & Magic III (arguably the most successful implementation), but also absorbed some of the advancements made in the otherwise weak 4th game. Whilst the formula seemed to be exactly what fans wanted, a lot of minor (and not so minor...) annoyances spoiled the fun to some extent, robbing an otherwise great effort from its potential glory.
Leipzig GC 2007 Trailer
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Ubisoft set out to revive the brand by basically omitting the entire history / gameworld of the earlier games and creating Ashan, the fictional world in which HoMM V (and the spin-off game Dark Messiah of Might & Magic) is set. Unlike the original M&M universe, Ubisoft's goal was to create consistency in terms of geography, history, politics and even religion in this new world, whilst also giving it a much more mature and dark undertone. Every game in this new world would be a small fragment of an epic storyline, each being connected to the others in some way.
The entire HoMM V saga revolves around Isabel, the new Queen of the Griffin Empire (the human faction in the game) and her peers, battling a demonic invasion, and later on becoming tainted and replaced by a demonic force, unknowingly rendering the entire empire slave to the demon sovereign.
Tribes of the East picks up from where Hammers of Fate (the first expansion) finishes off, with Biara (a demon) ruling over the Griffin Empire and the future looking somewhat grim. Not all is lost though, since several heroes (all of which seem rather odd choices for saving the humans), a knowledgeable necromancer, a young Orc leader and Zehir, a from the core Heroes V game returning tongue in cheek wizard, rush to the rescue. The players will have to guide these three through a campaign each, all of which consist of five consecutive maps.
The story in general is pretty deep for a turn based strategy game, although it is filled to the brim with clichés. The Heroes series has basically gone from gameplay-only to a pretty harmonic mixture of that and storytelling.
News: New Heroes of Might and Magic V Patch Oct 19, 2007
News: Heroes of Might & Magic V: Tribes of the East Ships Oct 18, 2007
News: Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East Demo Sep 27, 2007
News: Heroes of Might & Magic V: Tribes of the East Announced Apr 05, 2007
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