Heroes of Might and Magic is a series of video games originally created and developed by Jon Van Caneghem through New World Computing. As part of the Might and Magic franchise, the series changed ownership when NWC was acquired by 3DO and again when 3DO closed down and sold the rights to Ubisoft. The games feature turn-based, fantasy-themed conflicts in which players control armies of mythical creatures. The series began in 1995 with the release of the first title, and has most recently seen a release in 2007 with an expansion to the fifth title. A sixth installment, Might and Magic: Heroes VI, is due for release in June 2011.
The series is directed primarily at the DOS and Windows platforms, with sporadic support for Mac OS over the years. New World Computing closed after the production of Heroes of Might and Magic IV, and since then the rights to the franchise have been owned by Ubisoft. Nival Interactive developed the first game in the series since the changeover, Heroes of Might and Magic V, while Black Hole Entertainment are developing its sequel. Heroes III was ported to Linux. GameTap has carried the first four games in the series since 2006. Remakes have appeared on the Game Boy Color.
The Heroes series is within the genre of turn-based strategy. The titular heroes are player characters who can recruit armies, move around the map, capture resources, and engage in combat. The heroes also incorporate some role-playing game elements; they possess a set of statistics that confer bonuses to an army, artifacts that enhance their powers, and knowledge of magical spells that can be used to attack enemies or produce strategic benefits. Also, heroes gain experience levels from battle, such that veteran heroes are significantly more powerful than inexperienced ones. Experienced heroes may persist through a campaign, but do not carry over between single scenarios.
On a typical map, players begin a game with one town of a chosen alignment. The number of different alignments varies throughout the series, with the lowest count of four appearing initially in Heroes I and peaking at nine in the Heroes III expansion Armageddon's Blade. Each town alignment hosts a unique selection of creatures from which the player can build an army. Town alignment also determines other unique traits such as native hero classes, special bonuses or abilities, and leanings toward certain skills or kinds of magic.