Website content – M&M Chronicles Celebrating 25 years of Might & Magic

Part 3: The Ubisoft Era

Ubisoft was no stranger to Might & Magic. For years, the French company had been publishing the Might & Magic and Heroes games in Europe. Knowing how strong this brand was, Ubisoft chose to buy the rights to Might & Magic from the now-closed 3DO. A new Might & Magic team was assembled. Jon Van Caneghem was approached to join the team, but he declined to pursue other projects.

One of the hard decisions Ubisoft had to take was putting aside the old universe for a new setting: the world of Ashan, where the forces of Order and Chaos wage an endless battle through their respective Dragon-Gods. Ashan was the brainchild of novelist Richard Dansky and producer Erwan Le Breton. Like its predecessors Varn, Terra and Enroth, Ashan offered its own background and flavor while staying true to the pillars of what made Might & Magic unique and compelling: its factions, rich bestiary, epic storylines and enchanted atmosphere.

The first game to be released by Ubisoft was Heroes of Might & Magic V in 2006, 20 years after the release of the original Might & Magic. Developed by a Russian team - Nival Entertainment - Heroes V ushered in a return to the classic gameplay of Heroes III, with such new ideas as faction abilities, a new skill system and several new creatures. Six factions competed for dominance this time: Haven, Dungeon, Necropolis, Inferno, Academy and Sylvan. However, the biggest change was the passage to 3D graphics.

Heroes V became the highest-selling Might & Magic title of all time, and would receive two add-ons: Hammers of Fate introduced the Dwarves of the Fortress faction, while Tribes of the East featured the return of the Orcs of the Stronghold.

2006 saw the release of a new first-person game, Might & Magic: Dark Messiah. Taking place two decades after the events of Heroes V, Dark Messiah takes the player to the Free City of Stonehelm where sinister plots are being hatched. Created by the French team Arkane Studios (the company behind the critically-acclaimed Arx Fatalis) and using Valve's groundbreaking Source engine, Dark Messiah offered a unique mix of RPG and action. The player could complete the game as a wizard, warrior or assassin – or create their own way to play. The game also featured dynamic swordfights, a multiplayer mode and a powerful soundtrack composed by Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan.

Ubisoft returned to the world of Ashan in 2009 with two very different titles.

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, developed by talented Canadian team Capybara Games, proposes a unique brand of puzzle-game, RPG and strategy. The game was released on DS to worldwide critical acclaim, and will return in 2011 as Clash of Heroes HD on XBLA and PSN.

Might & Magic: Heroes Kingdoms, imagined by Heroes V producer Fabrice Cambounet, is a massively-multiplayer online strategy game, entirely browser-based. Heroes Kingdoms is now available all over the world.

2011 will mark the 25th anniversary of one of the most beloved and enduring series of fantasy role-playing, adventure and strategy with the release of Might & Magic: Heroes VI