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Catching up with Might & Magic Heroes VI

5:00 AM on 10.01.2010 // Chris Morris

We caught our first glimpse of Might and Magic Heroes VI at this year's gamescom, but further details since then have been fairly sparse. Fortunately, I was able to sit down with producer Erwan LeBreton at Ubisoft's Digital Day and get a closer look at the game.

Although the Might & Magic franchise has grown to encompass multiple different genres over the years, the Heroes series is best known for its unique blend of turn-based strategy and RPG elements. While Heroes VI appears to remain faithful to the series, preserving many of the gameplay mainstays, great effort has been made to implement changes and improvements that fans have been clamoring for.

Might & Magic Heroes VI (PC)
Developer: Black Hole Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
To be released: 2011

Upon sitting down to start the demo, the first and most obvious improvement was the brand-new engine and art direction for this title. Heroes VI is running on Black Hole's own in-house engine and sports a more realistic visual style, as opposed to the "cartoony" look of Heroes V. Models and textures were sharp and detailed, the effective use of color and contrast in overworld exploration was gorgeous, and the attention to detail in the combat animation blew me away. You may be wondering what type of rig you are going to need to run something like this, but I've been assured that the engine has actually been optimized to run well on laptops!

In terms of gameplay, Heroes VI appears to remain true to the series. The classic gameplay loop of building, exploration, resource collection, combat, and character advancement has been faithfully recreated. Everything appears to have been built from the ground up to be more streamlined and responsive, giving the game a truly "next-gen" feel.

Some of the changes will include:

  • The new interface is clean and unobtrusive, and manages to make movement and combat a pleasure rather than a chore.
  • Hero progression has been completely retooled, giving the player more freedom to choose how they build and customize their character. Gone are the days of choosing to take the experience reward and crossing your fingers that you will actually unlock something decent.
  • Resource gathering no longer requires that you use up precious action points, constantly backtracking to recapture or harvest previously controlled nodes. Once captured, they will now link to a nearby player-controlled fortress and funnel into your stock each turn. Opposing players must physically capture a fortress in order to gain control of linked resources.
  • Also new is the ability to convert captured cities into any faction that you currently control. There's no more trying to make angels and demons play nice in your party!

If you are a fan of any of the previous Heroes titles, or even RPG and strategy games, this is definitely one to look forward to!

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