- by Pol
King's Bounty 2 Announced
1C Entertainment brings back King's Bounty. Whereas core part remains, this is not true for our heroes or heoriness. Much more things changed.
Fighting on polygons, in fresh new land of Antara, is in. Creating, upgrading and fine tunning your squads is all anew.
Add dynamically generated battlefields, where you are supposed to use random terrain (obstacles) to your advantage. (How many times I heard that?) And allll of that will be served in semi-realistic 3D.
Take a look at this cinematic trailer:
If you are eager to see it in action, and have a way around Cologne to Gamescon, head to Hall 10.1 at 20.–24.08.2019.
King's Bounty 2 is due out in 2020.
Minimal requirements are just preliminary. There they are:
- Windows 64bits
- Quad-core processor with minimu frequencey 2.5GHz
- nVidia Geforce 470GTX or Radeon 6870HD
(which could translate to GTX 1050 or AMD RX 570).
Engine is UE4.
Game will be ready for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Finally it seems like something worthwhile to wait for! Were you here? Share your impressions!
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- by rogue and Angelspit
Rogue, of Mac Heroes, and myself, recently had the opportunity to do an e-mail interview with Rob King, the guy in charge of sound on Heroes of Might and Magic IV which is currently under development by New World Computing and will be published by 3DO in Spring 2002. We sent the questions on November 9 and the answers arrived on November 13. Hope you enjoy!Questions and Answers
Angelspit: First of all, thank you so much Rob for taking the time to chat with us. We are really excited to discuss an underated side of computer games, the music. Let the questions begin!
ROB: Alright, let's go!
Rogue: Rob, you are the Music and Sound Supervisor for NWC. What exactly does that title mean? Are you the top dog in charge of music there?
ROB: Well I am the top dog till they want changes... :) One thing I have always loved about working at NWC is that they have given me creative freedom on most of the projects I work on. I am in charge of anything you hear in the game. From composing or producing the soundtracks which usually includes mixing and recording them to all the sound effects you hear in the Game. I am also in charge of hiring and directing the voice talent as well as the recordings.
Angelspit: How did you get started in the industry? How did you end up in the gaming field?
ROB: Well I have been doing music for about 16 years now. Started singing in bands at a wee ol' age and then moved into production in my early twenties. I have been at NWC for almost 8 years now. Getting in was a bit strange. I worked at a record store my last year in college and had a health class with a guy who had just got a job as an artist for NWC. We kept in touch after school and he came by and told me that this company (NWC) was hiring a "Sound Guy". So needless to say I applied. At the time I didn't even own a computer nor ever used one excect for my Atari 5200. :) I have had plenty of "recording" experience though. After a couple of interviews Mark Caldwell really liked me and gave me the position. I went in head first...and it all worked out.
Angelspit: 2001 has been a difficult year for 3D0 and New World Computing. However, the NWC employees I exchanged mail with are all enthusiastic and extremely friendly (Jennifer, April and Becky come to mind). What is it like to work there?
ROB: For me, I really do love it. I have excellent relationships with everyone at NWC. The producers and management I work for are all truely talented and have an uderstanding towards audio for a game. Jeff Blatner (V.P. of Development), Jon Van Canegham (President), David Mullich (Director) and Keith Francart (Director) are always a pleasure to work with and are very professional.
Rogue: Based on your descriptions in the Heroes Community forum, it sounds like the Heroes 4 soundtrack will be very interesting and thematically focused. Could you describe it again here for people who missed that discussion?
ROB: "The score is amazing this time around. We used over 30 musicians in the making of the score. My good friend Paul Romero is back at the helm Composing and Conducting again. We have Opera..... Yes, It is back and better than ever my friends. Karin Mushegain is back (From HOMM2) and we also used Dean from the NYC Opera. We also have a full Women's Choir " NEVENKA" and tons of string players. Justin Bahrami, only 17yrs old layed down an amazing flute track on The "Academy" Town. For the Adventure themes we went for a total different approach. The entire adventure score is Celtic. Using all live musicians. Bagpipes, Mandolins, Guitars,vocals and a bodhran. The new Combat themes are heavier and more aggressive. I have always been excited to work on these games especially because they are just plain good. I think you will all enjoy this soundtrack as much as I ! have creating it."
Rogue: What instruments can we expect to hear? Anything that is unusual for a Heroes game?
ROB: We have added a few... Keeping with the "Theme" of what all The Heroes soundtracks have always had there will be ton's of strings and all the classical instruments. We have added new to HOMM 4, the addition of celtic instruments. Mandolins, Bagpipes, Guitar, Mandecello and accordian. The "Battle Themes" also include alot of synth sounds as well as heavy percussion along with a nice blend of classical instrumentation to keep it all together.
Rogue: The vocals were one of the most memorable aspects of the music in Heroes 2. Why weren't there any vocals in Heroes 3, and what led to the decision to bring them back for Heroes 4?
ROB: Funny thing...When we did HOMM 2 I was fighting for the vocals. Many people at the time thought I was crazy for wanting to put opera in a video game. Anyone who has played a HOMM game knows that it is a breed all it's own and I wanted to do something different in a game that seemed to never have been done before. I really felt it would add some magic to the experience. It was a hard sell but they went for it, and it proved to be a success. Not everyone liked it, but most did. I mean you can never please everybody but damned if I wanted to try. When we did HOMM 3, we opted to go with more world instruments with a couple of vocal samples. People actually missed it! I had a few emails telling me that some of of the fans were dissapointed that the vocals were gone. This was one of the biggest factors in bringing back the Operatic vocals for HOMM 4. We don't use them for every song so there is a little something for everytone. The addition of the NEVENKA Womans Choir is also! nicely added to compliment the arrangements.
Rogue: Many people have told me they felt the music in Heroes 3 was weak compared to that of Heroes 2. Not only due to the lack of vocals, but also because the tracks seemed shorter and more repetitive. How do you feel about that opinion? Do you feel there was a weakness, or perhaps a design limitation, that caused the Heroes 3 music to seem less "memorable" to fans of the series?
ROB: HOMM 3 was just different. We wanted to use more world instruments like a kyoto and sitar and things like that. The fans were very vocal about missing the "Vibe" of HOMM2. As the producer I do admit to enjoying HOMM 2 more. As far as HOMM4 goes...well, in my opinion blows 1, 2 and 3 out of the water. The amount of time we spent from writing to recording was very tedious. We knew we had to make adjustments in the design of the Soundtrack to this game and bring it to a new level. We used alot more live musicians and the recording equipment was top notch. I could go on for hours about all the expensive mics and pre-amp's but I will spare you. :). It was recorded at 24bits on a Protools Rig at 3 different studios. Tracked on a Solid State Logic Console. This soundtrack sounds really good.
Angelspit: So, what are your impressions of the Heroes IV gameplay so far? Will it do better than Heroes II and III, if such a thing is possible?
ROB: I have only had a few minutes on it so I cannot really comment. But the few new features I saw were really cool, especially the ability to move your "Party" Characters around in the map screen. (Hope I can say that)
Angelspit: One feature I particularly enjoy in a computer game is when the music changes according to the current situation (Origin's Ultima IX: Ascension is a good example). While this is easy to implement in a linear adventure game, it is another story for a strategy game. Can we expect to see more of that in Heroes IV?
ROB: Well This game is just different. There is definitely a differnet theme to each type of situation in the game like the Towns, the Adventure Themes and the Battle sequences. Basically when you start to do something different the whole game really changes.
Rogue: Is all of the music made from actual recordings, or is some of it computer/synthesizer generated?
ROB: Most of what you will be hearing in HOMM 4 are real instruments played by real musicians. In the Battle themes you will hear some synthesized sounds as well as real perccusion and Drum loops.
Rogue: What equipment do you use for mixing? Do you use a traditional mixing studio, or is it done on a computer?
ROB: The entire score was recorded on a Digidesign ProTools system. We used various recording software to get things started but it all found its way to the protools system. We used Cakewalk's Sonar, Steinberg's NUENDO and Cubase as well as Sonic Foundry's Vegas and Sound Forge to do alot of pre production recording. Everything was recorded at 24bit 48K through Digidesign, Apogee and SoundScape Converters. Most all the instruments and Vocals were recorded straight to Protools or some of the other software bypassing any mixing console. The recording path was usually Instrument - Mic - Preamp - Compressor (Sometimes) - A/D converer - Protools. As far as the mix goes, I mixed it entirely on a Mackie D8B digital mixer and Protools using some great outboard gear like Avalon compressors, TL Audio Compressors stuff from ADL, Joe Meek, Neve and SPL. I also only use a Lexicon 480L for my reverb.
Rogue: I read that you are pushing for a HoMM music collection CD to be released someday. Would this be music from all games in the series, recreations based on the old music, or just stuff from Heroes 4?
ROB: Don't know yet. We have thrown around the idea of a collection from all 4 games. probably mostly 2 and 4 with a couple from 3 and maybe one track from 1. I really don't know at this time.
Rogue: Is it possible for there to be an mp3 of the week download, similar to what Blizzard Entertainment did leading up to the release of Diablo II?
ROB: That is a good Idea...I will mention it. :)
Rogue: Were you involved with the Sega Genesis version of King's Bounty? I've had the adventure music from that game stuck in my head for the past 10 years.
ROB: Not at all. But I will take a listen, maybe we could do some "Cover Songs" for HOMM 5? :)
Angelspit: It is safe to assume you are a gamer yourself. What have you been playing lately? Spent any time on Diablo 2 or Red Alert 2?
ROB: I have to admit I love to play games. I have every console, Mac and PC. I think that the diablo games, the C&C Games and the Heroes Games are some of the best ever made. Beleive it or not I am kinda one of those strange ones that likes those stupid fishing games too. Some of the new Fighting games for the new consoles are awesome too.
Angelspit: Finally, what's up with Red Delicious? I heard you once appeared on Farmclub and CBS News, among others. Did you get some good exposure recently?
ROB: We had alot of exposure a year ago. We also won the "Best Unsigned Band Online" award at the 2000 Yahoo Internet Awards. We are currently finishing up our Major label Debut on Extasy Reords/Warner Bros. as we speak. In fact I have to go back to the studio in 2 hours. We are mixing the CD with Jack Joseph Puig (Goo Goo Dolls, No Doubt, Remy Zero, Green Day) over at Ocean Way in Hollywood. We Co-Produced the Cd with Chris Vrenna (NIN, U2 - Elevation Remix). Steve Baca, Sara Wallace and myself have written all the songs on the CD as well as played the majority of the instruments. Paul Romero has also contributed some great string arrangements. You can read about us at our website that is almost completed www.Red-Delicious.com and check out other artists on our label at www.Extasyrecords.com. We are really excited about the music and hope everyone else out there will enjoy it. You can still get the demos at www.mp3.com/RedDelicious for a few more weeks. Well, Back to the studio I go. Thanks a lot, and I hope everyone enjoys Heroes of Might & Magic IV. I know I will. :)
- by Pol
On July 21, a tournament commemorating 20th Year Anniversary of Heroes III will be launched.
Tournament organization will be handed by 'wrzosy'. Tournament is designed for any player or nationality. Many of the best players are expected to come.
We encourage you to sign up!
Update: Tournament is open. In order to enter there, all what you need is to have Discord lobby account and to register online at www.h3.gg
Moreover, to be up to date with all the information, it's recommended to unlock additional channels from #xx-tournament by clicking at the sword emote under post.
source: HoTA Discord - Klejnot Nilu,Salli
- by Kalah
And now for something slightly different. For the past several weeks, the news we have had to report have been all about Heroes VII. Now, though, we present something a bit more general, and you certainly won't find it anwhere else.
We're big fans of the music in the Heroes games, mostly because it's great music, but also because it never disappoints. A game could turn out to be mediocre or even worse, but the music of Rob King and Paul Romero is always a highlight. Well-composed and well-suited to the various scenes, the music lifts the gaming experience and adds a certain degree of class.
Even more so because of the vocals of Karin Mushegain.
We sent her a batch of questions a while ago and hoped she could find time in her busy schedule to talk to her gaming fans. Without further ado, then, have a read.
This splendid mezzo-soprano usually makes her living in grand opera houses, but once in a while, she lends her talent to our dynamic duo King and Romero, and gives their Heroes music that extra bit of class that you just can't get with a synth or an autotuned pop-artist.
1. For our new readers, can you tell us a bit about how you were recruited in to work with "Heroes" games?
About 20 years ago, composer Paul Romero and I met through my aunt and uncle, who had asked us both to perform at their anniversary party. It wasn't long after this introduction, that Paul invited me to sing on the Heroes soundtrack. I think I was 16 or 17 years old.
2. It has been a while since last time - what made you come back and do some more, with Heroes VII?
Anytime Paul and Rob asked me to sing on a project, I'm there! I love working with them. And I'm always excited to see what new and interesting music they've created for me.
3. As far as we can determine, the "Heroes" games were the very first PC games using opera music. When you worked on your very first projects with Rob and Paul, were you aware that this was something out of the ordinary? Was it very different from other studio jobs?
Heroes is the first and only video game I've ever sung on, so I had no idea how unique it was for there to be opera in a video game...but I assumed it was pretty rare!
4. Of all the music you've done for the "Heroes" games, do you have any favourites?
I think the new Heroes VII is by far my favorite!!! Paul and Rob hit it out of the park with this soundtrack! "Hope for Green Falls" is one of the most beautiful pieces Paul has composed, in my opinion of course!
5. What do you enjoy more: studio work or the stage? What would you say are the major differences between the two? How does the workload compare?
Stage and studio work could not be more different! Performing on stage is 99% of what I do, and I love the "live" aspect of it. Performing in the moment, a beautiful ebb and flow of sharing your energy with the audience and in turn, receiving it from them...that doesn't happen in the studio. You can't take back mistakes, you can't stop and start, you can't worry about it being perfect...and I love that. I'll prepare for months for a live performance, but Paul literally hands me the music when I walk into the studio to record it. He teaches me the piece really quickly. I ask what mood they want for the piece, and then I adjust my tone accordingly.
I think that's a perk of being a professional, trained singer...I have so much versatility with my sound. It doesn't all just sound like an "opera singer" or a "pop singer." I adjust for the mood of the piece. You don't get to do this kind of playing and exploring in live opera...so that's a studio perk! And since we're all such pros, and they don't have to auto-tune or adjust my sound, it only took us a few hours to record the three tracks I perform on. I'll rehearse 3-4 weeks for an opera before we ever have an audience...so you can see the time commitment difference there!
6. Who has influenced you as a singer?
This is a question that I'm always asked, and I feel I never know how to answer. I have singers who I love, and singers who I admire, but there was never one person whom I was like..."yes, that's who I want to be like!" and I guess that's a good thing! I love the uniqueness and style of Elle Fitzgerald. I am in awe of the pure natural talent that Whitney Houston possessed...probably one of the best pop singers the world will ever know. I am overwhelmed by the beauty of Pavarotti's voice. It literally takes me breath away and stops me in my tracks. But I think my fellow colleagues influence me most as singers...I can see their technique and musicality up close, and there is no better way to learn, than by watching your peers do what they do best right beside you.
7. We've seen extracts (videos) of your work with the Rob/Paul duo in the studio, of course. Do you bring ideas to the table about what kind of music to use in the games, or is that more their kind of thing? How do you contribute to the creative process?
Paul writes the music, Rob creates the music, and I bring my part to life. But I don't just get the music and sing it. We explore the music together. I play with different sounds and tones and moods. I suggest vocal ideas, but I never alter what Paul has written...at least, not on purpose! It's definitely collaborative. We've improvised in the past...they wanted a certain ethereal, middle-eastern sound as background noise in one of the scenes. So I just played around with some Armenian vocalizes. It's always fun creating with these guys!
King and Romero recording with Karin Mushegain
8. You'll be available for "Heroes VIII" when announced in the future? Yes? Yes? Of course yes, don't be silly. Yes?
Seriously, though: the fans of the series are very passionate about the music in the "Heroes" game series, effectively insisting that without Rob & Paul, it "wouldn't be a proper "Heroes" game". The opera sounds you bring in are also seen as an important part of that; it has become an integral part of the series. How does it make you feel that you have fans not just in opera circles, but also among the geeks and kids playing games?
I love my Heroes fans! Especially when my opera colleagues find out I sing on the games, and they've been playing them their whole lives...that's so fun! I often get sweet emails from fans sharing their love and appreciation of the music; I love this!
9. The recordings for "Heroes VII" are done, I take it. What sort of projects are you working on now? You're mostly doing operas, I believe; are you doing any studio projects, like making a music album?
I'm off to the Philippines in about two weeks to sing the title role in Rossini's La Cenerentola. This is one of the roles I sing the most, and I absolutely adore this opera. I've never been to the Philippines, so I'm a bit nervous! But I'll be performing with a dear friend who is from Manila, so that'll make things easier. And no plans to be in the studio right now, but I do love it, so I hope I find myself there again in the not too distant future.
A big thanks to Karin for her time - we wish you all good things for the future.
You can follow Karin Mushegain and read more about her bio on karinmushegain.com.
- by Pol
Creature Quest Game Quiz
First a little housekeeping, some time ago I announced at forums Creature Quest Quiz, which is for everyone to peek in but really, only players will be knowing. Although I must say, that this Mobile Collectible RPG is not having too strong RPG elements, there's some funny lore behind and game mechanic, on which was the quiz targeted.
And there are the officially announced answers.
If you are curious sort of a person, there's Creature Quest TAG link
And we have also our own Guild, which is still hungry for a new souls.
New Walkthrough for M&M Heroes VII. - 'Trial by Fire'
After Kalah completed our walkthrougs for MM:H7, we were long in absence of covering the only Add-On, which Ubisoft relased and after which slowly stopped active support for the game, Trial by Fire.
And there step in maltz with his Heroes 7 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. Don't miss it, if you still care about the game. This is a recommended reading, breeze and brillant. Thank you maltz!
I shall not forget cjlee's summary and walkthrough in the forum. All of these walkthroughs were added to our Walkthroughs page.
HC Tournament in HOMM4 2019
Heroes Community decided to declare their own annual Heroes IV. tournament. Now is time to enroll for participation.
We wish you happy playing!
~And thanks Galaad for the message ;)
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- by Angelspit
Tim Lang, now at Electronic Arts, was the lead designer of Might and Magic IX. The Round Table regulars might remember seeing him in the forums after 3DO filed for bankruptcy last year. Tim is also an advisor in the fan-made Might and Magic Tribute project. The picture on the right was taken during an EA party.
Celestial Heavens: The last time I read something about you was in Might and Magic IX preview somewhere on the Net. What were you working on afterwards, and when did you leave NWC/3DO exactly? And what are you doing these days?
Tim Lang: After the great purge at the end of H4 and MM9, I had about 4 months off, then went to work for EA. I'm still there working on the Medal of Honor series.
CH: Did you stay in touch with former New World Computing employees?
Tim: I kept in contact with a lot of the ex-NWC people. A lot of them found work here at EA, and a few others at Liquid Entertainment. The rest are scattered throughout the industry, at least those who chose to stay in the games-making industry. For the rest, well I can't blame them for finding a new line of work.
CH: You have been somewhat active in the community following the auction of the 3DO assets. How confident are you in Ubisoft's ability to deliver *two* good Heroes/M&M games?
Tim: There's no question that Ubi really wanted the Might and Magic license for a long time. During the H4 and MM9 development, they came down and made an offer to 3DO for NWC. Trip Hawkins declined, hoping for more money, and of course, went bust. I am still a little amused that in the end Ubi ended up with the MM licenses. As far as their ability to deliver great games, it all depends on their commitment to the series'. Are they going to deliver more games like Crusaders and Warriors that just cashed in on the recognizable name? Or will they actually try to make something that we former NWCers would be proud of? I don't know. I hope so.
CH: Might and Magic IX is considered a disappointment by more than one fan. How do you explain that the last few games of the series never quite managed to match the fun factor and polish of The Mandate of Heaven?
Tim: I think there's two reasons why Might and Magic took such a drastic downturn. First and foremost 3DO seemed intent on driving every single intellectual property they owned into the ground. We got shorter and shorter schedules, and less and less financial support from them. In MM9's case, a lot of the people we were depending on to finish the game were tied up with finishing Legends. Since that thing just stayed around and lingered in the depths of not-being-doneness it really pushed MM9 onto a tighter schedule. Secondly, I'm pretty sure JVC was burned out, disillusioned and just plain didn't like coming to work anymore. Most of us rarely saw him around the office, and when we did see him, he usually told us that we were doing things wrong much too late for us to fix them. He's made no bones about disliking MM9. I think that if he had taken a more proactive role in its development, things might have turned out better. As far as the reason why MM9 was considered the worst in the series, that's really because we delivered a game that was pre-alpha at best. It needed at least another 3 months, if not another 6 to get it to a playable level of quality. Knowing we didn't have much time, we cut a lot of corners, and left out features the fans liked, but would have been too time consuming to implement. It was a half done game, and it shows.
CH: Has there been any plan for an *official* 1.3 patch at some point? Some major bugs were still remaining after patch 1.2.
Tim: Now that NWC is gone, I doubt there's going to be any official support at all. I don't think that 3DO even wanted to do the 1.2 patch, and if it wasn't for the return of the Anskram Keep bug or the "yell" crash, we probably wouldn't have done one at all. I think if anyone's still looking for a patch, the should check out TELP. Bones has been doing a great job fixing all the stuff we left behind. I'm really surprised that people are still playing MM9, and I'm pretty sure it's because of him and TELP that people are still interested in it.
CH: A former NWC artist has blamed Jon Van Caneghem for not trusting his team with the design of Heroes IV. Jon had previously admitted not liking Heroes IV much during an interview with Celestial Heavens at the 2003 E3 exhibit. Was there some tension during the final days of H4 and MM9?
Tim: I hate to point a finger at one person, because if one person really deserves it, it might be Trip Hawkins for driving NWC into the ground. There's absolutely no question that Jon was in absentia during most of MM9 and H4, and when he finally started paying attention to them, a lot of things were already too far gone. He came in right near the end of H4 and as I understand it changed a whole lot of things. Mostly for the better, I think, but that sort of late night meddling is sure to cause some resentment. As far as his comments in the interview, I thought they were a little inappropriate. He basically blamed the teams for the failures of the games. These were people who worked their butts off, working unpaid late nights and weekends for 80-90+ hour weeks while Jon was off racing cars and not showing up to work. I won't say that we were totally faultless, but when you've got someone with 20+ years in the industry, not having his support and guidance really hurts the projects.
CH: Your name appears in the credits of the Might and Magic Tribute game. How did you get started on the project? What are your tasks? What is it like to work with a team of fans?
Tim: I've been pretty active helping Bones out with his TELP patches, and when I saw that some fans were going to take it upon themselves to make their own MM game, I jumped at the chance to help. I really don't do that much. I usually just lurk in the forums, and post once in a while. I'm there to help prevent them from making gigantic game-breaking problems in their design. So far, I haven't been needed much in that capacity. I also am there to answer any MM trivia questions they may have. The MMT team is as excited and motivated as any team I've ever seen. I wish that some of the people I worked with in the past had such energy. I think it's fantastic that Might and Magic has such great fans.
CH: In the Tribute forums, you agreed with a statement saying that Heroes Online will probably not have anything to do with the previous Might and Magic games. How does it feel to see a product you have been working on for years being exported to the other side of the world?
Tim: It's funny, because when I went to work for NWC in '96 I had never heard of them or of Might and Magic, even though I've been a huge RPG fan ever since the Bard's Tale/Wasteland eras. But during my time there, I grew pretty attached to Might and Magic. I actually have caught myself thinking things like "They better not screw up my game!" But I'm glad that they're keeping Might and Magic going, and am looking forward to playing the next installment of either Might and Magic series.
CH: Speaking of multiplayer, was there any plan to introduce multiplayer features in the Might and Magic games during the New World Computing era?
Tim: That was what Legends was originally supposed to be. Christian Vanover had designed this multi-player RPG-"lite" game that was sort of a "Diablo in First Person" sort of game. I was real excited to work on it, but it turned out that the networking code in Lithtech wasn't really suited for the type of game we wanted to make. We had to change the designs of the game to suit the technology.
CH: Finally, the age-old questions: Might or Magic? Gold or experience? Titan or Black Dragon?
Tim: Ask anyone I used to work with at NWC, and they'll tell you: Might. While we were working on MM6, I tried to beat the game using an all knight party. I got to a point where they wouldn't dish out enough damage though. Experience, and Titans. gold doesn't do you a lot of good if you don't have the levels to back it up. And Titans because, as I recall they were cheaper than the Black Dragons.
Celestial Heavens would like to thank Tim for his time. We wish him the best of luck in his current projects.
- by Pol
It's with my great pleasure and delight to announce that HeroOfPunk is becoming Celestial Heavens Staff. You surely know him as author of Masters of Sighisoara epos, along with Yurian Stonebow. Three time hooray for Max!
This should also prevents appearance of any Punk Police squad in the future! :D
Marzhin (Julien Pirou), one of ours most prolific Heroes VI - VII creators, announced that he's leaving Ubisoft. After ten years, his heart is moving on a new route. It seems that year 2019 is challenging with changes and that's what's much needed.
Marzhin we wish you lots of luck, everywhere where you walk in. ;)
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- by Angelspit
Christian "Evil C" Vanover was one of the most popular New World Computing employees. With Jennifer Bullard, he was one of the contact persons at the 3DO Community forums. He took the time to answer the questions of the fans, as well as tease them a little. He was never afraid to step into the forums whenever there was some panic or confusion. He stayed with Jon Van Caneghem's team until the very end, before accepting a job at Microsoft.
Celestial Heavens: First of all, how are you, and where do you live these days?
Christian Vanover: I'm doing well, thank you. In the near two years since I left NWC, I became a dad, moved to Seattle, and as you know, now work at Microsoft.
CH: Now, where does that nickname come from, and that fascination for all things evil?
CV: Back when I was first posting to the NWC/3DO message boards (during the development of Heroes III), I developed a knack for hinting that I would be about to give out new info, but then I'd tell everything except the one thing I had hinted at. It was visitors to the boards that started calling me evil, and it just kind of stuck. I could post real info as "Good" C., and be a smartass with "Evil" C. (well, within the limits of general good taste, at least).
CH: Not that I want to make a connection between evil and Microsoft, but what have you been doing over there?
CV : No no, go right ahead and make the connection. In fact, when I got the job here I very nearly posted to the CH boards a thread called "Evil C. Joins Evil Empire, Says Plan of World Domination Nearly Complete!" And as strange as it may seem to longtime fans of the Might and Magic games, I'm currently part of the Design team working on a racing simulator for the Xbox called Forza Motorsport, due out this year.
CH: Did you stay in touch with former New World employees?
CV: Absolutely! Many of the people at New World were friends before they started working there, and there are many that I stay in touch with or visit with when I get the chance to go back to L.A.
CH : Now, if you could step into the time machine... You've done a lot of work on Heroes IV, especially on the expansions. Despite the good reviews, the game is considered by many the bastard child of the series. What should New World Computing as a whole should have done differently if we could go back in time?
CV: I personally consider Heroes II to be the best in the series, with Heroes III a close second. So for me, Heroes IV was the lesser of them all. But that's just me, and I know that opinions differ greatly. As for what could have been done differently, that's a tough call, because essentially Heroes IV was done differently.
CH : Jon Van Caneghem was very critical towards that game, even though his participation on the project has been... minimal. "It just wasn't done right" he told us two years ago. We also got the feeling that he wanted Heroes V to be a Heroes III remake. How did you feel about this?
CV: Honestly I felt the same way Jon did, but I think I can clarify the statement some. After so much close work on Heroes I-III, Heroes IV was the first time the game was out of Jon's direct control. I had also gone off to work on a different game, and as a result I missed all the Heroes III expansions and didn’t get to see Heroes IV until it was nearly done. With a different group of people, you undoubtedly get some different choices being made, and so I think that when Jon finally got to see the game it was completely different from what he would have created himself. Speaking for myself it was a strange feeling the first time I got to sit down and give it a spin.
CH: What was Heroes V like later on? Was development coming along well? Did you have high hopes on that games, or was it just a project on life support?
CV: We had actually pitched a few game ideas to 3DO, and encouraged them to shelve both the Might and Magic and Heroes series for a few years to give everybody a break (both us and the fans). Unfortunately, 3DO insisted we deliver two Heroes IV expansions and get to work on Heroes V, so off we went. I spearheaded the expansions, and by the time they were done, Jon and Bryan (Farina) had a pretty solid framework in place for how we would build Heroes V. Our Art lead already had an entirely new set of gorgeous looking terrains ready for the map editor, and creation of the new towns and creatures was well underway. We were all pretty excited.
CH : The last time we talked, the news of the move to Solvang just appeared on Celestial Heavens and generated some controversy. It was the beginning of the end after all, wasn't it? What was the atmosphere in the offices during that time?
CV: The move to Solvang was more of a new beginning. I never got to confirm it, but I suspect that Jon was prepared for 3DO to close its doors, and wanted to be set up "lean and mean" for when that happened, so that New World could hopefully continue on as their own game studio. The atmosphere beforehand was mixed... those moving saw a fresh start, but there was a touch of sadness because there were others leaving.
CH : Have you been keeping an eye on the details of Ubisoft's Heroes V? What do you think of the artwork? Do you agree with the decision to take heroes out of the battlefield?
CV: Yes, I've been watching. It will be interesting to see what direction they take the game in. As for taking heroes off the battlefield, that was something we were going to do ourselves, so yes I do agree with the decision. But we weren't "just" removing them... we had found what we thought was going to be an engaging way to keep them involved that would have improved combat overall.
CH : The first non-NWC Might and Magic title to be announced is some sort of MMORPG for the Chinese market. Aren't these plans similar to what Jon Van Caneghem wanted to do at some point? Isn't it ironic that Jon is now at NCSoft, working on a MMORPG?
CV : Well Jon originally brokered the deal with 3DO because they were planning on using their existing online technology to develop Might and Magic Online. As often happened at 3DO, however, plans changed, and MMO was shelved before it ever really got off the ground. As for Jon being at NCSoft working on an MMORPG, I wouldn't call it irony... I would call it justice!
CH: Do you miss the Heroes/Might and Magic fan community? Do you sometimes feel we were a little tough on New World and 3DO?
CV: Like anything else from my past, there are things I miss and will always remember fondly. As for being tough on us... you can never be too tough on 3DO, but y'all could have cut New World some slack! Heh.
CH: Finally, the age-old questions: Might or Magic? Gold or experience? Titan or Black Dragon?
CV: Might, Experience, and Black Dragons. And a certain hero named Sir Christian!
We would like to thank Christian for his time. His new game, Forza Motorsport, is scheduled for a May release.
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- by Pol
We will remain here, for a bit longer now. If any of new announced games bear any resemblance to Heores of Might and Magic, it's Songs of Contest.
What is served on the plate?
It may looks like one of the oldies but it's not. The game is centered about day gameplay, bulding and fighting and all of that it's serving in nicely fitting 8bits coat.
Where superior graphic is going aside, strategy and stories have a waste space to spring on. As the game is currently in alpha testing stage, you can subscribe for news and possible testing at www.songsofconquest.com and verify yourself.
The known info so far:
On E3 2019 they released a game trailer, there's also available interview with game developer. They have also a nice note on the blog, presenting happy coop between them as dev and their publisher.
Level editor and soundtrack are planned to be part of the game. Public release date shall be in late 2020. The game is announced as a classic turn based adventure strategy. Starting with hotseat and later with full mp. Developer is a small Sweden studio Lavapotion, with industry veteran members, this will be their first title. ;)
The Essence with you!