Ubisoft is expanding into China in a big way with the upcoming release of Might & Magic Heroes: Era of Chaos, a mobile game created exclusively for China. Developed by Playcrab and published by Tencent, Era of Chaos transforms the classic gameplay of Might & Magic Heroes into a strategy card game tailored to the tastes of Chinese players. Slated for a June release on iOS and Android, the game’s arrival marks an important step for Ubisoft as it expands into the dynamic, intensely competitive Chinese mobile market.
“Playcrab was among the first studios we selected based on this strategy,” says Aurélien Palasse, head of licensing and publishing at Ubisoft Mobile China. “First, they had an impressive track record of high quality and commercially successful mobile games. Then they really convinced us all by showing a genuine passion and enticing vision for the Might & Magic franchise.”
Playcrab is an award-winning studio that previously developed the mobile version of the classic fighting game King of Fighters 98 (also published by Tencent), which ranked at the top of China’s biggest app stores at launch. Meanwhile, Tencent’s diverse portfolio includes WeChat, a multipurpose app that boasts more than 889 million users, and which can be used to distribute exclusive games.
“In addition to having access to the largest pool of players in China through Wechat, QQ, their other apps, and their sprawling networks of websites and subsidiaries, Tencent is one of the very few publishers with the resources and know-how to truly help developers significantly improve their games’ benchmarks during the final stage of production and turn them into immensely successful juggernauts at launch,” says Palasse. “It is definitely an incredible opportunity for Ubisoft to have them onboard, and also a very good sign regarding the prospects and future performance of our game.”
With its vast experience in developing action and RPG mobile games for Chinese players, Playcrab has an excellent track record of titles that top the charts on iOS and Android stores. According to analysts, the mobile gaming market in China generated over $10 billion in 2016. The mobile segment is growing rapidly and experts estimate that the overall gaming market in China may have already outgrown the US, formerly the world’s largest market.
“We couldn’t have dreamed of better partners than PlayCrab and Tencent to bring the saga of Might and Magic Heroes to mobile players and to the Chinese market. Tencent is a world-leader and a hit maker when it comes to mobile games in China, and this deal shows that they are confident our rich portfolio of brands can appeal to Chinese players”, said Jean-Michel Detoc, executive director, Ubisoft mobile. “This is a significant step forward in our mobile strategy, working hand in hand with Chinese developers and publishers to create games based on our existing franchises that are tailored to Chinese players and can tap into the market’s enormous potential.”
“We’re thrilled to have Ubisoft’s Might and Magic Heroes: Era of Chaos in our lineup of games”, said Steven Han, project operations manager, Tencent. “The franchise is already supported in China by a highly engaged community of millions of fans, and we’re convinced that this new game will appeal to both fans and mobile players.”
“We’re proud to have developed, in collaboration with Ubisoft, the very first mobile installment of the Might and Magic Heroes series”, said Kevin Ye, CEO, Playcrab. “We believe this addition to the franchise is a great fit for the booming mobile game market here in China. By bringing the franchise to mobile, we offer both fans and newcomers alike an experience they can enjoy at their own pace, anywhere and at any time”.
The mythic Might and Magic Heroes series was released in 1995 and since, millions of fans around the world and in China have played its seven installments and its numerous spin-offs. The new mobile title features all the elements that contributed to the success of the series, including strategic PvP gameplay, fantastic creatures, and magic skills. In Might and Magic Heroes: Era of Chaos, Queen Catherine Ironfist embarks on a quest to unite her ravaged homeland and retake the kingdom of Erathia. While remaining faithful to the core tenets of Might and Magic Heroes, the battlefield has been transformed into an epic strategy card game, which is more suitable for mobile, and a passion for Chinese players.