Might & Magic Heroes VI Screens, Details
The foolish renaming of the beloved PC turn-based strategy series aside, Might & Magic Heroes VI is looking good. We'll see whether the streamlining of some of the franchise's core gameplay systems works out in the end, but for now we're just glad that Heroes of Might & Magic isn't dead.
Heroes VI is being developed by European studio Black Hole Entertainment, which has previously worked on the mediocre Warhammer: Mark of Chaos real-time strategy titles. It retains the series' colorful visuals, the split between the overland strategic map and zoomed-in tactical battles, and the reworked factions from V. In all, it looks like a HOMM game.
The two major differences we've seen so far are a stripped-down town screen and a drastic change to the way mines work on the strategic map.
The town screen thing seems mostly cosmetic, where the 3D flythroughs in the background of a gigantic building and recruitment UI have been replaced with a animated 2D picture and a minimalist UI, both of which are changes I'm absolutely on board with. In addition, the 3D model of the town that exists on the strategic map itself holds more clues to the town's development than before; you can see how advanced a city is on many levels with a quick glance at the map rather than just being able to see the presence or absence of fortifications.
Mines, which previously would give their daily resource load to the last player to step on them with a hero, now key to the nearest fortress. To conquer an enemy mine for good, you have to take the fortress, which is likely to be defended, unlike the mines themselves. On the other hand, you can still steal resources by parking a hero on a mine. So long as your hero is standing on it, it'll divert the income to your treasury.
A few other details have surfaced, like the removal of camera swivel from the strategic map (a good thing, actually, as searching for items could be a real chore in Heroes V), the lack of randomness in hero progression, and the addition of more combat objectives like holding ground for a number of turns rather than always having to annihilate the other side. The official forums are probably your best bet for digging up more, if you're interested, and we should have a hands-on report soon.
I'm hopeful for Heroes VI. The change to mines is a departure, true, but it's more of a tweak than a dramatic re-envisioning of the core gameplay. We'll have to wait and see how it shapes up as its vague 2011 release date approaches.