With Heroes V, Ubisoft created a new universe for the M&M series: Ashan. As the writer for Heroes V and Dark Messiah, did you take part to the conception of this setting?
[RD] I was very much a part of the re-imagining of the world, which was really tremendously fun to do. The goal that we had from the beginning was to create a universe that could support a wide range of stories and games, one that felt like a real world instead of a color-by-numbers map. We really looked to more mature fantasy as our inspiration - George R.R. Martin, P.C. Hodgell, Michael Moorcock - and worked hard to come up with a world where everyone had a believable agenda. In Ashan, orcs and elves have rational self-interest - they're not just generically "good" or "evil".
[JS] When I came on board Richard and Erwan (Le Breton) had already done quite a bit of the world building. They had some exceptional ideas and created a strong backbone with the world timeline. Since then we have been filling in the details, deepening the histories and cultures of the different factions, etc. I hope to end up giving the players a world that has both wit and weight, along the lines of tales by Neil Gaiman, Jack Vance, and Roger Zelazny as well as the "pure" high fantasy authors that Richard mentioned.