The Ubisoft Era

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Postby XEL II » May 1 2011, 16:26

As for JVC, AFAIK Ubi contacted him after they have already scrapped the original universe. With that in mind, I can understand JVC (who basically single-handedly started the old universe with Might and Magic Book One back in 1986) turning them down.
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The Ubisoft Era

Postby MMXAlamar » May 1 2011, 16:31

$1.3M is a ridiculous amount of money for a single brand...at least the actual game concept came along with it. That's one thing Ubi will never change.

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Postby astral76minor » May 1 2011, 17:01

If I win the lotto, I will make an offbrand of HOMM with the old lore intact. $1.3 million? How much for the rights?

Like I said, got to win the lotto first. Imagine if the fans could actually be more than 50% involved in the development. Yup, we're puppets for Ubisoft.

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Postby hellegennes » May 1 2011, 18:05

You all fail to see the point. Ubisoft spent this money to be able to take the brand. Making very similar games with different names will not immediately violate any laws, but the danger of being accused of copyright infringement is pretty much there. Once Universal sued Nintendo for stealing the concept of King Kong (Donkey Kong) but they lost that because they didn't actually had the copyright.

They took the decision to start from scratch after they bought the series.

And finally, no, making a map does not require the same amount of knowledge as making a game that has 20 years of publication history behind it. That's most obvious.

If anyone, writers know that it is extremely difficult to complete unfinished work of other writers, even if they are their greatest fan. Ubisoft had to deal with the fact that they had no idea where the story was heading and obviously NWC pretty much ruined the whole thing themselves with MM9, that wiped every connection both in style and storywise.
Edited on Sun, May 01 2011, 14:18 by hellegennes

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Re: The Ubisoft Era

Postby XEL II » May 1 2011, 20:18

hellegennes wrote:NWC pretty much ruined the whole thing themselves with MM9, that wiped every connection both in style and storywise.

False, MM9 had numerous references to other games, and the Ancients are mentioned right in the intro cinematic. NWC had future plans for MM in the form of MM X and HoMM V, and JVC was once again (he had a minor role in development of HoMM IV and practically no involvement with MM IX and Heroes Chronicles) going to be the lead designer. It's not wise to say that NWC ruined the franchise, they just havens had the opportunity to continue it because 3DO died.
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Postby Tale » May 1 2011, 20:33

astral76minor said: "Imagine if the fans could actually be more than 50% involved in the development. Yup, we're puppets for Ubisoft."

I actually can imagine that, and I think it would be a disaster. Why? Because I'm a fan. I've played (and liked) every MM game since I was 15: MM VI, VII, VIII, and IX, every Heroes game in the series, Champions of Might and Magic, Dark Messiah, and Heroes Kingdoms. I liked Heroes IV (except for the terrible campaign hero names). I don't think Heroes III was the best of the series - I reserve that distinction for Heroes II. I greatly enjoy Heroes V despite the awful cutscenes and bugs. I play predominantly single player, and couldn't care less about multiplayer. I thought that the science fiction in the MM VI was jarring and overpowering. I hated Forge as designed. Would you put me on the development team? Knowing all that I just said, could you ever trust the direction I would take the series? (Although hey, I would push for MM X!)

The goal of UbiSoft, and really the goal of any producer, cannot simply be to recreate what you consider to be a classic game. People won't continue paying to play the same game spit out ad nauseum. Even the games that most lend themselves to stagnation, sport games, constantly have new innovations in their yearly upgrades beyond switching around the players on the teams. Yet when it comes to "fans", fans HATE change. They look at their favorite game and want it reproduced in its entirety, to come back exactly as it was and give the feelings, the experiences, that it gave them originally. That's what it has sounded like in the comments on this site for the past few months: "fans" want another Heroes 3. No game play updates, no faction updates, no creature updates. Heck, they don't even want the graphics to be updated. 2D or bust with 800x600 screen resolution! It's about the strategy after all, not the eye candy! It would be an unmitigated disaster. That's what would happen if the "fans" had control of over 50% of the development of the game.

My point is that there are thousands of real M&M fans out there who don't visit celestialheavens or the official forums, don't know anything about the unofficial M&M project, and likely don't know more about Heroes VI than what's currently up on Steam. There are also many more who, like me, have been reading fan sites for years but just choose not to comment. Yes, there's a small, vocal group of players that loathe everything UbiSoft does and constantly posts derogatory comments on the news and pictures of the day regarding how Ubi is destroying the series. Yet Heroes 5 sold very well and got critical acclaim from many professional reviewers. Your individual opinions may be that Heroes V was terrible, almost as bad as Heroes IV. But for what it's worth: Heroes V has an average USER review rating on Metacritic of 8.5, while its expansions have average USER review ratings of 8.4 and 8.7. If Metacritic isn't your cup of tea, Gamespot's user rating also puts the game at a 8.5, and that's with 6,000 votes. IGN's users gave it an 8.1 with 233 votes. There's really not a lot of evidence out there to back up this claim that "most fans" hate Heroes V.
Edited on Sun, May 01 2011, 16:41 by Tale

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Postby MMXAlamar » May 1 2011, 20:51

Quote from Tale: "I thought that the science fiction in the MM VI was jarring and overpowering. I hated Forge as designed. Would you put me on the development team? Knowing all that I just said, could you ever trust the direction I would take the series? (Although hey, I would push for MM X!)"

To answer your question, depending on what you have to offer us, we may still want you on our team. If you are a big M&M fan with artistic talent or programming experience, yet you don't like the scifi stuff, we would still hire you and wouldn't make you work on anything scifi that you didn't want to work on.

What I dislike is that Ubisoft got rid of some of the things that made Might & Magic, Might & Magic. They got rid of the storyline of the Old Universe, the Ancients, and they got rid of the M&M RPGs. Other than that, I appreciate that the M&M series is still being continued, despite being changed in odd ways by a big corporation.

Btw, I LOVE MM9. TELP patch it up and it's a great game!
Edited on Sun, May 01 2011, 16:53 by MMXAlamar

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Postby Tale » May 2 2011, 14:41

MMXAlamar said: "To answer your question, depending on what you have to offer us, we may still want you on our team. If you are a big M&M fan with artistic talent or programming experience, yet you don't like the scifi stuff, we would still hire you and wouldn't make you work on anything scifi that you didn't want to work on. "

I want to preface this by saying, thank you for working on the unofficial MM X project. It's looking great, and even though I disagree with some of the direction you're taking it (monster races, ugh), I look forward to playing it when it completes. ^_^

I took astral76minor's comment to be more in the lines of leading development, not just working on art and programming. That's why I posted as I did: I'm a fan, but I have a different opinion of where the series should be going than him. When it comes to a franchise like M&M, which has as many fans worldwide as it does, it's impossible to please every fan with the direction you take the game. Unfortunately, almost every design decision pushes some fans away. Choosing to go to Ashan and forgo the science fiction elements of the series was a decision that a lot of the vocal fans on here seem to find the heart of the issue, but it isn't the only problem. Adding sanctuary and removing academy, sylvan, and dungeon; changing the factions to have fewer dragons; the new hero system; four resources instead of six; these are all decisions that were made that people have complained about, yet for each decision, there are many supporters as well.

What I'm trying to argue, at heart, is that with all this assuming going on that "most fans" hate the way UbiSoft is taking the series, people forget that they aren't necessarily the core of "most fans". It's great for people to come out and say what their opinions are, and even better for people to say *why* their opinions are that way. The problem I've been having is that people are giving their opinions tied to blanket statements that "UbiHole" sucks, the games suck, the art sucks, and NO ONE likes what happened to the series in Heroes 5. That's false and provably so, and that's why I started commenting instead of lurking. I'm not an UbiSoft apologizer by any means, and I agree that UbiSoft not continuing the RPGs was a terrible decision. But when it comes to scrapping the old world, and I know a lot of people have their beliefs about that, UbiSoft made a decision. As a result of that and thousands of other decisions made in the development process, Heroes V was a success and the franchise was revived. It may not have been the direction you like - nor necessarily the direction I like - but that doesn't make you, me, or anyone else on here the majority.

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Postby MMXAlamar » May 2 2011, 20:19

Do we know why they scrapped the old universe?

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Postby Dalai » May 3 2011, 12:47

XEL II wrote:The franchise is actually MM, HoMM is a part of it.

True. But they never showed any interest in RPG part. DM, really? :D

hellegennes wrote:And finally, no, making a map does not require the same amount of knowledge as making a game that has 20 years of publication history behind it. That's most obvious.

Not so obvious when you talk about official campaign to new installment or add-on, right?

hellegennes wrote:If anyone, writers know that it is extremely difficult to complete unfinished work of other writers, even if they are their greatest fan. Ubisoft had to deal with the fact that they had no idea where the story was heading and obviously NWC pretty much ruined the whole thing themselves with MM9, that wiped every connection both in style and storywise.

Creating a CPU is extremely difficult. Building a bridge is extremely difficult. Flying a plane is difficult. Dissecting a cell is difficult. But reading is not - it is something you learn very early in childhood. Thinking - that's the hard part, obviously. But even here it's you who "fail to see the point." They are being paid for it. With money. Which can buy CPUs, plane tickets, etc. Worth making effort, I'm sure.

MMXAlamar wrote:Do we know why they scrapped the old universe?

Because you'll buy the thing anyway, and new customers don't care about the lore. So "it's difficult to read many pages" becomes a factor. :mad:
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Postby hellegennes » May 3 2011, 14:31

@Dalai:

Reading means nothing to continuing the work of another writer. Tens of millions have read Lord of the Rings. Does this mean that tens of millions would be able to pull a sequel? Of course not. And for the most part of work in any industry, when something is difficult, you have to weigh the pros and cons of implementing it. So would it be worth to not scrap the universe? No. It would be money spent on nothing, in terms of sales. And in terms of credit too. Many fans would still accuse them of not doing it right.

The examples you bring on the table are irrelevant. Building is not difficult at all. The know-how exists. Continuing an unfinished work requires knowledge that you have to create. Same for creating a CPU, etc. Difficulty in any of your examples only has to do with the amount of time you have to spent and the expenses, not with solutions. That you use the same word does not mean there is any relevance.

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Postby astral76minor » May 3 2011, 22:33

I imagine the rights to THE FRANCHISE would cost more than 10 million USD. If someone bought it and actually cared about making the next HOMM, then that person would hold a major series of polls to see what people really want in the game. Ubisoft never acknowledged the fans much at all. In fact, our ideas even at the tip of the iceberg are just titillation for Ubi.

Say someone bought the Franchise anonymously and then sat on the rights to go on all these fan websites and listen to the polls, votes.
Depending on how long one would sit on the rights to the franchise may determine if certain features become added from the polls. It also could be a strong factor in preserving the old lore of NWC.

If I won the lotto, I would just sit on the rights to the franchise and have many polls to determine what the fans would want. And I would keep the rights until at least 50% of the fan base said A-OKAY! Then development begins very slowly with many free betas. Sales figures do not apply when it comes to the fan base of the franchise. Strange but true. It would likely take many sequels to get profits up again. And yes, hard work, not just a bunch of designers with huge egos.

So it could be awful or it might be ingenious if someone just bought the rights. Ubisoft is simply making money with the name. This is why we are the puppets of Ubi. Most fans will never get credit where credit is due. THIS MUST CHANGE.

I would start where H4 left off. As for M&M, the same. So what if the profit is lower due to what the fans want. For all I care, it could become shareware. And that is what the fans really need - open source.
Edited on Tue, May 03 2011, 19:12 by astral76minor

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Postby hellegennes » May 4 2011, 7:55

This is what YOU want, astral, not what a sane company would want. Why on Earth would they spent millions on the rights and development just to please the EGO of some fans and without making any profit?

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Re: The Ubisoft Era

Postby Dalai » May 4 2011, 13:31

hellegennes wrote:Reading means nothing to continuing the work of another writer. Tens of millions have read Lord of the Rings. Does this mean that tens of millions would be able to pull a sequel? Of course not.

How many of them were asked to do it? Paid to do it? And finally, actually done it? And we need... ONE! It's not a task for every average lazy schoolboy.

And for the most part of work in any industry, when something is difficult, you have to weigh the pros and cons of implementing it. So would it be worth to not scrap the universe? No.

Of course, YES. It was worth every single penny it was paid for, and much more.

It would be money spent on nothing, in terms of sales. And in terms of credit too. Many fans would still accuse them of not doing it right.

But some would say it's right. If they made an effort it could be a majority. On their chosen path this number is exactly ZERO. Pros and cons, sure.

The examples you bring on the table are irrelevant. Building is not difficult at all. The know-how exists.

Yes, definitely.

Continuing an unfinished work requires knowledge that you have to create.

..which is sacred and hidden from mere mortals, right?

Same for creating a CPU, etc.

That's why there are so many leaders on CPU market. :)

Difficulty in any of your examples only has to do with the amount of time you have to spent and the expenses, not with solutions. That you use the same word does not mean there is any relevance.

It has all the relevance. If you want something good be done - you have to make an effort. If you plan to sell it - you absolutely MUST make an effort. Refusing to make an effort, because it's "difficult" is just another example of disrespect and indifference toward paying customers.
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Postby astral76minor » May 4 2011, 20:11

We say this and that, but is the dream for the old lore dead? I think more people are insane about the franchise than ever! Is it for some of the right reasons? Or is it just money like usual....

Yes, I could see someone buying the franchise and doing the same things that Ubi did for money.

The point of relevance is what if someone did it for less money & made a better product? This is the insanity that the game might need and will likely never happen.

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Postby hellegennes » May 5 2011, 10:56

@Dalai:

Sales of H5 prove that scrapping the universe did not have a negative effect. Whining from fans is not concern of Ubisoft. So indeed money and time spent in an effort to continue the old universe would be worth nothing.

And what are your counter-arguments about knowledge in the industry? The single most catastrophic known event in Bridge design, in a time where structural engineering was not even a standard science (in the 1940's)? Is this supposed to be an argument?
Same goes for the industry of CPUs. The reason that there are few designers is that it costs tons of money to start such a company and competition is so fierce that could very well mean money down the drain. History of computing teaches this in various ways. We have a lot of examples of bankrupt companies which were innovative but failed to secure a market. If you want an example from the specific sector, take Cyrix.

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Re: The Ubisoft Era

Postby Dalai » May 5 2011, 16:02

hellegennes wrote:Sales of H5 prove that scrapping the universe did not have a negative effect. Whining from fans is not concern of Ubisoft.

Can we see some hard facts? Preferably with geographical distribution of sales. Different countries have different prices.

So indeed money and time spent in an effort to continue the old universe would be worth nothing.

Or it could double sales. Or it could triple loyalty instead of eroding it. Or... whatever, it's just your guesswork.

I like your math though :D "They reached maximum point though noone knows what it is exactly."

BTW, "an effort to continue the old universe" must be compared with similar effort to create a new universe (no hard facts, again), instead of viewing as a pure savings.

And what are your counter-arguments about knowledge in the industry? The single most catastrophic known event in Bridge design, in a time where structural engineering was not even a standard science (in the 1940's)? Is this supposed to be an argument?

Yes, it is. By that time people built bridges for approximately 9000 years. Still it requires a LOT of knowledge and careful planning. And it IS a complex and difficult task. It can not even stand near reading story and making notes of fictional universe.

Same goes for the industry of CPUs. The reason that there are few designers is that it costs tons of money to start such a company and competition is so fierce that could very well mean money down the drain.

The definition of "Difficult". Exactly my point, thanks ;)

History of computing teaches this in various ways. We have a lot of examples of bankrupt companies which were innovative but failed to secure a market. If you want an example from the specific sector, take Cyrix.

It was (and still is) so difficult, that even innovative company with high-level engineers could not secure a significant market share. Thanks for supporting my argument again ;)
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Re: The Ubisoft Era

Postby ThunderTitan » May 5 2011, 17:14

....

You guys are arguing all wrong... Ubi didn't need to have someone learn all the lore, they could have simply just kept NWC and let them work on another Heores game.



Tale wrote:>>People won't continue paying to play the same game spit out ad nauseum.<<


Call of Duty says Hi!

As for sports games... yeah, the improvement each year is so small it barely matters, that's hardly a good point abot how things should change.

Tale wrote:>>Yet Heroes 5 sold very well and got critical acclaim from many professional reviewers.<<


Ahem: http://www.metacritic.com/search/all/He ... ic/results

Hey look, H4 had better critic scores.


Tale wrote:>>Your individual opinions may be that Heroes V was terrible, almost as bad as Heroes IV. But for what it's worth: Heroes V has an average USER review rating on Metacritic of 8.5, while its expansions have average USER review ratings of 8.4 and 8.7. If Metacritic isn't your cup of tea, Gamespot's user rating also puts the game at a 8.5, and that's with 6,000 votes. IGN's users gave it an 8.1 with 233 votes. There's really not a lot of evidence out there to back up this claim that "most fans" hate Heroes V.<<


Considering the state Heroes 4 was released in no wonder that a lot of people where thankful that H5 went back to the old formula.

And that's not even taking into account that if you bothered to check how many people reviewed it it's under 35...



hellegennes wrote:>>Making very similar games with different names will not immediately violate any laws, but the danger of being accused of copyright infringement is pretty much there.<<


You can't sue someone for gameplay elements, or Westwood would have been the only company to ever make RTS etc.

As for Kong, that's very different, they where suing over the name of the character, not using an ape.
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Re: The Ubisoft Era

Postby ThunderTitan » May 5 2011, 17:32

Tale wrote:>>Is it really THAT surprising to you both? Consider: Heroes V got great reviews in Europe and decent reviews in North America.<<


What should really be pointed out is that since H3's days the game market has expanded a few thousand times... had it sold less, with 2 town adding expansions too, it would have been a very big failure.

And as pointed out above, the reviews where even better for H4.
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Postby hellegennes » May 5 2011, 18:41

@Dalai:

"By that time people built bridges for approximately 9000 years. Still it requires a LOT of knowledge and careful planning. And it IS a complex and difficult task. It can not even stand near reading story and making notes of fictional universe".

Ι don't know what your profession is, but granted that I am a civil engineer, I can assure you that this is pretty much nonsense. Engineering did not become a science until very recently in human history. Bridges in the past where either absurdly overdesigned or underdesigned. They did not have knowledge of any scientific element about them. Before the industrial revolution it was only a matter of how many workers and material you had available and nothing else. Today the science is so exact that even the smallest screw is designed by exact equations. Uncertainty is really small and has mostly to do with awfully specific stuff that we may never know. Even that is quantifiable though.

If I see a design of a bridge, I can tell you if it works. If I see a work of art, a film, a videogame, I may never be sure because it's art, not science. You not only confuse it for science but even for exact science for that matter!

Going back to a story spanning 20 years and trying to continue it, guarantees absolutely nothing in terms of success, is unquantifiable and it's quite uncertain if it going to work. And even if it was easier than that, why do it if creating something from scratch is much easier, less costly and guaranties greater success?

@ThunderTitan:

"Ubi didn't need to have someone learn all the lore, they could have simply just kept NWC and let them work on another Heores game".

Why would they do that? The company had lost most of their stuff when they went bankrupt, since 3D0 had fired them one year prior to that. Also, buying a subsidiary is not at all easy, especially if they only wanted them for developing M&M games. Why bother buying the assets and keeping staff you don't know and have to keep control of a company in another continent? This is too much fuss for just wanting to make money off of a brand. This is extra money, since the right to the brand had nothing to do with NWC anyway. Also, buying a bankrupt company means buying their debts. All these, granted bankruptcy in USA is different than what is in the UK. Here you can not buy a bankrupt company (nor does a company go bankrupt but rather becomes insolvent).


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