While Ubisoft claimed to start a whole new Might and Magic universe without any ties to the previous one (and its science-fiction elements), the game contains lots of references to old stories and heroes. Characters Sandro, Solmyr and Crag Hack are referred to, as are the refugees from Erathia (from Heroes of Might and Magic IV) in a town's description. Not to mention the storyline which begins in a very similar way as the one of Heroes of Might and Magic III (even if it takes a different direction later on). Fans have had mixed feelings about the inclusions of those "easter eggs", often considering it a cheap way by Ubisoft to appeal to the older fans audience.
Prior to the release, scheduled for 3rd April 2006, there was an open beta. The overall quality was perceived poor, and major fan sites decided to launch the "Save Heroes" movement at saveheroes.org (now also wesavedheroes.org) to persuade Ubisoft with a petition to push back the release to fix all the major bugs first.
A news entry by GameSpot, however, revealed that the game had already been delayed before the beta test even started. This is what the movement wanted, but as it had happened silently, they signed a "News Suppression Pact" to not post about the game anymore until Ubisoft would publicly announce the delay.
The postponement was eventually announced, but afterwards it was suggested, yet unproven, that the delay and the Save Heroes movement was an orchestrated Ubisoft PR tactic to draw attention to the game.
The game was originally meant to be 2D and based on the Heroes of Might and Magic IV engine, but The 3DO Company went bankrupt along with the development division New World Computing, Inc., and the license was acquired by Ubisoft. They let Nival, Inc. handle the development and used a 3D engine right away.