Forge was a town type planned for Armageddon's Blade. It was a predominantly technologically oriented town, stylistically being a mix of Star Trek-esque high technology already known from the Might & Magic universe, as well as dieselpunk, cyberpunk and art deco. Its unit lineup included Goblins, Zombies, humans and other creatures "borrowed" from other factions, armed with, among other things: chainsaws, guns, jetpacks, and rocket launchers. However, the town was scrapped in the end and replaced with Conflux town (which was supposed to appear later, in an untitled expansion, according to an interview with Gregory Fulton) – due to fan backlash, which involved threats of boycotting the game and even letters with death threats towards the developers. The issue was exacerbated by a few bloggers who encouraged the fans to hate the faction even more. In the end, the faction was scrapped and Conflux's release moved to Armageddon's Blade expansion, as 3DO was in financial dire straits and couldn't afford to take the risk of even a projected 5% of potential buyers boycotting the game.
The Forge in the lore
The Heavenly Forges themselves were machines much akin to universal constructors (or glorified 3D printers), capable of producing extremely intricate, durable and effective equipment based on pre-loaded blueprints, seemingly out of thin air - as well as scanning the molecular structure of any existing equipment and duplicating it flawlessly and in what appeared to be unlimited numbers. Even low-tech, traditional weaponry such as daggers or spears turned out by the Forges was of such quality, that it looked as new as the day it was made even over a thousand years later. The Forges were created by the Ancients, a futuristic race that exists in the HoMM and MM universe known for having established a glorious civilization of high magic and technology and for conducting planetary-scale experiments on seeding worlds with life. Several such Forges were also present on Enroth, however after the intergalactic web that connected the Ancients' worlds with the Spinward Rim (the quadrant of the galaxy where Enroth and Axeoth, among others, are located) was heavily damaged by the alien race of Kreegans, the Ancients lost connection with the entirety of the Spinward Rim - an event known as The Silence. Without contact with the Ancients, no proper maintenance could be offered to the Heavenly Forges and one by one they eventually either failed and became inoperable on their own, or got destroyed in raids and stripped down for raw materials. The last Heavenly Forge ceased functioning in year 113 A.S. (after the Silence), and without the know-how from the Ancients, they couldn't be rebuilt and the entirety of the high technology they afforded was eventually lost, bringing a definitive end to what was later termed the Age of Wonders and kickstarting Enroth's long descent into barbarism.
Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor - The party of Might and Magic III's eight "Ultimate Adventurers" from Terra, strayed off course when pursuing Corak and Sheltem and crash landed on planet Enroth, in the sea east of the town of Spaward in Avlee. They donned their high-tech wetsuits and made their way out of their spaceship, The Lincoln, to the surface - where they were noticed by a Deyjan Goblin raiding party and an elven border partrol from Avlee, who had been engaged in a skirmish. The "sea people" were seen to engage in an argument, and promptly split into two factions, a "good" and an "evil" one. The good adventurers, led by Resurectra and joined by Crag Hack, Sir Caneghem and Robert the Wise, made their way to Bracada and became advisors to king Gavin Magnus. The evil adventurers, comprised of Kastore, Maximus, Dark Shade and Tolberti, instead travelled to Deyja and installed themselves as advisors to as-of-then king of the land, Archibald Ironfist. Uninterested with progress in studying the art of necromancy and more leaning towards ambitions of world conquest, Kastore and his fellows betrayed Archibald, formed a splinter faction in Deyja, and eventually managed to oust him and usurp his throne (with Kastore serving as the figurehead), casting Archibald out to a small island off the western shores of Avlee. During the events of Might and Magic 7's Dark path (the one originally intended as canonical), they soon turned their attention to recreating one of the Heavenly Forges with the intention of duplicating the Ancient weaponry (laser blasters and rifles) they had brought with them in their spaceship. The goal was to raise a technologically superior army and conquer the planet for their own benefit. They were able to find all necessary materials and parts on Antagarich, with the exception of one, known as the "Oscillation Overthruster", which they tasked the protagonist party with retrieving after the latter returned from assassinating the Kreegan leader Xenofex and rescuing Roland Ironfist from the Kreegan lair in Eeofol. The party later donned the Terrans' high-tech wetsuits and took a dive in the shoals just east of the town of Spaward in Avlee, where the Lincoln lay hidden beneath the sea; entered it, defeated the security droids, retrieved the Overthruster and thus the Heavenly Forge was successfully completed. Not long afterwards, rumors of an army of goblins armed with ancient weaponry being amassed in Deyja swept the land.
Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon's Blade (Original) - In the original script for the Armageddon's Blade campaign, Gelu, Catherine and Roland, cornered by the superior military might of the Forge faction and on the brink of defeat, were supposed to obtain the Armageddon's Blade from of one the Ancients' vaults, and then use it to destroy the Heavenly Forge itself, which in turn would also immediately destroy all Forge towns and remove any evidence of the technology from the face of the planet once again. The threat of the Kreegans was initially supposed to have been neutralized with the assassination of Xenofex, thus making room for the new Deyjan army to be a world-threatening force and the antagonist of the campaign.
While being individually stronger than other towns' units of the same level, the Forge creatures would have been produced in lower quantities, some of the non-level 7 units also costing special resources to hire. Out of all Forge creatures, only the 3 lowest tier ones and their upgrades were showcased in the E3 screen. However, their line-up was public, containing:
- Tier 1: Grunt –> Foot soldier (Goblins with blaster pistols; the base unit would have had some kind of dagger in his off hand for melee; the upgrade would use a two-handed rifle instead)
- Tier 2: Cyber-dead –> Cyber-zombie (Zombies with prosthetic arms with a single chainsaw or dual circular saws, respectively)
- Tier 3: Pyro –> Pyromaniac (bare-chested Humans armed with flamethrowers, sporting goggles over their eyes)
- Tier 4: Stinger –> Bruiser (Ogres armed with rocket launchers)
- Tier 5: Jump soldier –> Jump trooper (Minotaurs flying with the use of jetpacks)
- Tier 6: Tank –> Heavy tank (Nagas upper bodies mounted on the frames of tanks; while the leaked concept art presented them as topless, it was later confirmed that they wouldn't have been naked in-game, and that the artwork was a bit extreme in that regard; besides this, the artwork also shows the creature attacking in a wide angle, which could suggest either a Cerberus-like or all-around attack)
- Tier 7: Juggernaut –> Dreadnought (According to one of the HoMM3 developers, it would have been similar to the Dragon Golem from the next game, HoMM4; another parallel can be made with the Droids guarding the Lincoln spaceship at the end of the campaign's prequel story - Might and Magic 7 (which were somewhat similar in appearance to HoMM4's Dragon Golem)).
NOTE: Out of these, artworks for all but the level 1, 5 and level 7 creatures were made public.
|Grunt Grunt||1||?||?||?||?||?||?||??||???||???||Ranged (?? shots)|
|Foot Soldier Foot Soldier||1+||?||?||?||?||?||?||??||???||???||Ranged (?? shots)|
|Cyber Dead Cyber Dead||2||?||?||?||?||??||?||?||???||???|
|Cyber Zombie Cyber Zombie||2+||?||?||?||?||??||?||?||???||???|
|Pyro Pyro||3||??||??||?||?||??||?||?||???||???||Breath attack|
|Pyromaniac Pyromaniac||3+||??||??||?||?||??||?||?||???||???||Breath attack|
|Stinger Stinger||4||??||??||?||??||??||?||?||???||???||Ranged (?? shots)|
|Bruiser Bruiser||4+||??||??||?||??||??||?||?||???||???||Ranged (?? shots)|
|Jump Soldier Jump Soldier||5||??||??||??||??||??||?||?||????||????||Flying|
|Jump Trooper Jump Trooper||5+||??||??||??||??||??||?||?||????||????||Flying|
|Heavy Tank Heavy Tank||6+||??||??||??||??||???||?||?||????||????|
The supposed structure of the town, together with the showcased units: