Back in 2006 Marzhin announced that he was working on a Heroes V project named 'Legends of the Ancients'. A four-part campaign for Heroes V taking place in the old universe (of Heroes IV - Axeoth). The campaigns takes place after the original stories in Heroes of Might and Magic IV, and were to follow the stories of iconic characters such as Nicolai Ironfist, Lord Harke, Lysander, Malustar and Gauldoth Half-Dead to name a few.
The first 2 campaigns, also refered to as 'Book 1 & 2', were released back in 2007-2008.
The project recieved Ubisoft's 'Seal of Approval' earning the acknowledgement of being Approved Might and Magic Content.
Having to admit time had become scarse, Marzhin released Book 3 as a digital version in Decemeber 2009. The following year 2010 still beared hope that Book 3 & 4 would be released as campaigns, as others like, Corlagon/Cepheus had stepped in to help finish the project.
The last hope of seeing Book 3 & 4 released as campaigns, were buried near the end of 2012. Shortly after, the last part, Book 4 was released by Marzhin as a digital book, complete with art work.
Marzhin later came to work for Ubisoft on titles such as Might and Magic X. and Heroes VII. and took another trip back to Axeoth with the Heroes VII expansion Lost Tales of Axeoth - featuring 2 previously unreleased campaigns/stories written for Heroes 4. The title of the expansion was also a reference to his former LotA project.
In January 2017, Markkur attempted to revive the project by reaching out to former team members, hoping some of them would still be active and in possesion of any of the work already made on Book 3 & 4.
Having just released his map Demonic Defense, mctronic stepped forth and offered his help to the LotA project in the spring of 2017. With the aid of former team members Zenithale and Corlagon, work began locating maps and story parts.
In February 2018 mctronic called out for texture modders to help with the project and in September we got the next update.
Now following our month of Advents news, we asked mctronic from the LotA team to fill us in on the current status of the project. In addition he also provided us with the background story of how he became part of the project.
2/14/18 Progress update:
The work on Book 3 is progressing. Maps 1 to 3 have been balanced on hard difficulty.
There’s also a desire from the LotA Team to balance the map on impossible difficulty and we are recruiting testers. Those that are interested may send an email to mctronic[a]hotmail.com.
We are also currently searching for texture modders to complete the project. Those that are interested may send an email to mctronic[a]hotmail.com.
Background Story of how mctronic joined the LotA team
I was approached for the scripting of Book 3 of Heroes of Might and Magic 5: Legend of the Ancients (HOMM5 – LotA) around April 2017. Markkur and Corlagon/Cepheus were searching for scripters to complete the maps. Funny thing is I didn’t even know what HOMM5 – LotA was at that time.
Before joining, I reviewed the entire LotA story in order to fully sink myself. The story is well written and intriguing.
I also reviewed scripts of previous maps (book 1 and 2) to be sure that I could script book 3 at least to the same level. Fortunately, Lua scripting is not a difficult programming language and has a lot of similarities with C/C++. Like all programming languages, lua comprises of variables, arrays and statements. It’s just a matter of learning the syntax.
The team decided to start with the first map of Book 3 and work our way up. Along the way, we added secondary quests and made improvements to the map design and gameplay in order for the player to get the best experience. Like previous books, players will hear themes from previous games.
Map testing for obvious bugs is relatively easy but balancing a map is much harder and takes longer as not all players play HOMM 5 the same way.
I think I can speak freely by saying that the team has grown to be less critical towards the HOMM 6 and HOMM 7 as we’ve come to understand some of the challenges that come from making a game. Properly designing and balancing a map takes time: a luxury that an actual video game studio, that has a schedule and limited resources, may not have.
-McTronic, LotA Team
You can read more about the LotA project on their website https://lota.celestialheavens.com