Heroes of Might and Magic IV is a fantasy turn-based strategy game developed by New World Computing and published by the 3DO Company. It takes the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise to a whole new world following the events of the story told in the Heroes of Might and Magic III expansion "Armaggeddon's Blade".
Heroes of Might and Magic IV introduced a number of radical changes to the franchise, interesting improvements for more hero customization, and daring twists on classic fantasy (such as partially mechanical devils) that resulted in weaker art direction overall as they tried to fit it all in visually. And for the first time the franchise got animated 3D models in-game.
Many other things remained the same, however, and the game was still recognizable as being of the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise. For example, factions continued to have a "Might Hero" who was better at leading troops, and a "Magic Hero" who could learn spells more easily.
Another significant change introduced to the game was that heroes were part of the battle and among their troops instead of just standing by casting spells. This also allowed Heroes of Might and Magic IV to have a mix of turn-based strategy war gaming and fantasy role-playing missions.
This roleplaying aspect was greatly reinforced with more skills for heroes and more control over skill development (for example, heroes could study in a town to develop new skills of choice immediately, instead of waiting for their experience and level to increase). Further, different skill combinations unlocked different special abilities, further personalizing heroes beyond their basic Might or Magic designation or the sum of their skills. But it would not be until Spellforce by Jowood/Phenomic that this mixed RTS/RPG idea was really done well.
Despite so many changes and what was generally considered poor game balance, the franchise remained very strong: The game received two expansions (The Gathering Storm and Winds of War), continued to be modded by fans to improve gameplay through better game balance, and finally received an overhaul which combined the best ideas in Heroes of Might and Magic IV with the winning style of the earlier games into Heroes of Might and Magic V.