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Strong Holiday Sales for Ubisoft  posted by 2 
IGN reports that Ubisoft revealed its Q3 financial results. Sales of $231 million were lower than last year, but the company's holiday titles performed well. Prince of Persia Warrior Within sold 1.9 million copies worldwide in one month, while Ghost Recon 2 sold 1.4 million copies in one week. Strategy gamers should note that The Settlers: Heritage of Kings sold 220,000 copies in five weeks in Germany. "Ubisoft is well on its way to meeting its fiscal-year objectives and can count on an excellent year in 2005/06," said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot.

Elsewhere, Yahoo Finance mentions that Guillemot is interested in acquiring Eidos. An Eidos bid could be a defense against an hostile takeover by Electronic Arts.
Trip Hawkins Interview  posted by 2 
Xbox 2 News has an interview with the founder of Electronic Arts and 3DO, Trip Hawkins. The article generated some controversy on the Internet because Hawkins got confused about the meaning of HD-DVD and predicted Microsoft would buy Nintendo within five years (!!). Read it all here.
Might and Magic Under Win XP  posted by 2 
With every new release of the Windows operating system, old games experience compatibility problems eventually. Judging from the numerous emails we receive about this matter, the Might and Magic games, unfortunately, are no exception. Our guest writer Andy4590 built a very interesting troubleshooting guide for all of you who want to relive adventures in Terra, Xeen and Enroth -- all nine Might and Magic games are covered. Links to the free utilities such as Dosbox and the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit are included, and will hopefully allow you to successfully start a game in a matter of minutes. It's time to clean some dust off those old M&M CDs!
Forza Motosport Interview  posted by 2 
Forza Motosport, a racing game for the Xbox, has shipped recently. One of the first features on the official site is an interview with Christian Vanover, a member of the design team and a former New World Computing employee. It appears that Evil C, who is responsible for much of the physics tuning in the game, drives a Toyota: "What do I drive? Well, the science geek still exists, so I drive a Toyota Prius. I swear the thing is a space car." Read it all here.
Heroes IV CCG News  posted by 2 
The official Web site of the Heroes IV Collectible Card Game has been updated with several images (click on the box shot on the left side of the page), including an enormous picture of the game board. There is also a post in our forums by designer Jonathan Bjork of DG Games which answers some questions that fans had about the game:

"Unlike other CCGs, this game is a board game. The cards merely represent playing pieces. In a lot of ways, the game fulfils the mission of the computer game better than the computer game. It is a strategic board game set in a rich fantasy world, where strategic movement, and ecconomic development combine with exploration and discovery. This in turn leads to climactic tactical combat that in the end determines the winner."

Bjork also explains why their game is based on Heroes IV:

"We initially aproached Ubisoft about a Heroes III game, since I am a huge fan of that particular title... and have blown entire weeks at a time playing it. We ended up with a deal to produce the Heroes IV CCG and tile game, and will soon be working with the Heroes V developers on a follow up product."

The Heroes IV CCG is scheduled for a July release.
Beta Test is Ready!  posted by 2 
The Heroes V producer announced that the beta test is ready and should begin today. He said that he would tell us when the acceptance emails are sent, so that you don't have to keep an eye on your mail inbox (but we will do it anyway, won't we?).

Some time ago, it has been mentionned on the official forums that there is a way to see if you have been accepted or not. Check out the Permissions section of your profile, and look for a reference to a Closed Beta forum. If it is there, chances are you have been accepted (remember that you cannot tell other people about your participation to the tests). Good luck to all Heroes fans out there.
The Marketplace Opens  posted by 2 
Since the fall of 3DO, readers often ask us where they can buy the Heroes IV expansions or the older Heroes games. Our answer is usually to check out eBay or EBgames and, based on my own experience, the Amazon online store. There is a new page on this site called the Marketplace. There you will find links to various Might and Magic games on Amazon.com, as well as a couple of games that we think the Celestial Heavens readers might enjoy (right now there are Arx Fatalis, from the developers of Dark Messiah, and the recently released Civilization IV). By using the links or the search box to shop on Amazon, you are helping us pay for the hosting of this site, rewarding the long-time CH contributors and making community events such as map contests possible.

So if you plan to give games to your friends and family this holiday season, check out the Marketplace. And feel free to send us suggestions regarding games that community members might like. If the service is popular enough, we will consider expanding it to include classifieds (for used games and trading) submitted by readers.
Heroes V Box Shot?  posted by 2 
On the official forums, member Arek_Z found what appears to be the boxshot of Heroes of Might and Magic V on a Polish publisher's Web site. The image includes a DVD-ROM tag at the bottom, as well as a rating of 12+ for Europe.

The image could be a preliminary version or a box shot for Europe only, but it is worth a look.
Gamespy PC Games of the Year  posted by 376 
Our former hosts, Gamespy, have just posted their PC Game of the Year feature. The list isn't too surprising, although it's nice to see a turn-based strategy game take out the #1 place (it shouldn't be too hard to guess what it was, there was all of about one TBS released this year!). The introduction to the feature contains a somewhat depressing wrap up of the state of PC gaming:
It's hard not to see 2005 as a down year for PC games, one in which PC gaming arguably found itself heading in the wrong direction.
The most discouraging thing about the state of PC games in 2005 was the feeling that the big publishers just don't seem to care that much about growing the PC platform and its audience. Games are routinely shoved out the door prematurely, with the assumption that a "Day Zero" patch can be released to clean up final bugs. Many publishers are still gun-shy about releasing games in the DVD-ROM format, even though they're releasing cutting-edge graphical games with virtually no hope of running acceptably on "average" hardware. Multiplatform games are dumped on the PC with little care shown to improving the visuals. Even some of the best games of 2005 -- Civilization IV, Battlefield 2, etc -- have had significant technical issues. It's just accepted now that PC gamers will deal with it. It's enough to make you wait 8 hours in line or spend $800 for an Xbox 360.

The PC is still the only platform which you can realistically play certain genres such as RTS, MMO, TBS and simulations, but overall it's difficult not to agree with this pessimistic assessment. Lets hope Heroes V doesn't fall prey to many of the negative PC gaming trends identified in this feature.
Internal Messaging to be Retired  posted by 2 
The site's internal messaging system will be retired on Wednesday, January 4th 2006. Please take a moment to make sure your inbox is empty and save on your computer any message you might want to keep. All messages will be deleted in a couple of weeks (your news and page comments will not be affected). A more solid private message feature with more options will replace the current internal messaging system. All of this is a part of the site renovations we are working on, a process that will go on until the release of Heroes V. We thank you for your cooperation.
Disciples III Changes Developer  posted by 2 
Strategy First told Celestial Heavens that they have terminated their agreement with Game Factory Interactive for the development of Disciples III: "Disciples III development has been started already by another studio to be announced shortly." They did not provide any detail about this decision.

Disciples was an amazing turn-based strategy game with very inspiring art. Kristo reviewed the Gold edition of Disciples 2 last year, if you want to learn more about this Heroes-like franchise.
Dark Messiah on the PS3/Xbox 360?  posted by 2 
An alleged Ubisoft release schedule that was leaked earlier today has caused a lot of interest. The list includes several new titles, including new games using the Tom Clancy name. What can be more interesting for the Might and Magic fans is that Dark Messiah is apparently being ported to the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, making it the first Might and Magic game on a console in years (Quest for the Dragonbone Staff being the last one, if I remember correctly).

TotalVideoGames.com and Planet Playstation (in German) have the release schedule details.
Heroes V Demo Soon?  posted by 2 
There is word on Blue's News that a Heroes of Might and Magic V demo might be on its way, somewtimes between Tuesday and Thursday. They quote another site, Tiscali Games, which translated an announcement in Czech from CD Projekt. While the news have not been confirmed by Ubisoft, all these sites have been reliable in the past. Whether you played the beta test or not, you might be able to try an improved version of the game very soon.

Some pretty funny posts about the demo on Blue: "I'll have to say F*** It to Starforce, do your worst. I have to support a HOMM game. The world would be a lonely place without thee..." and "The only way to play this game multiplayer is hotseat anyway. That way you can pull faces your opposition, lower there tactical skills with more beer and sing songs about how long their turn is taking."
Official Portal Updates  posted by 2 
A couple of horny heroes can be found on the official Might and Magic portal (only the French and German pages include them by the time I write this). There are Nebiros, a victim of the multiple stack bug, Jezebeth, a Dungeon-wannabe, Grawl, who has something to hide, and Alastor, a science experiment that went terribly wrong. Thanks to Marzhin who provided an English translation of the bios at the Table.

: : :

The Dark Messiah teaser now includes small versions of the screenshots that were posted on Canard Plus earlier. I've read elsewhere that the game is being ported to the Xbox 360, and that the release date might have slipped to Fall 2006. I'm sure we will have more details during E3.
Ledroit and Cambounet in Paris  posted by 2 
Heroes of Might and Magic V is to make its debut in Paris on May 17th. Artist Olivier Ledroit and producer Fabrice Cambounet will be at FNAC Forum des Halles to sign artwork and boxes of the game. And yes, that means the game will be for sale for anyone who can attend the event. Again, thanks to Marzhin for the heads-up.
Heroes V Version Clarification  posted by 2 
There has been a lot of confusion regarding the various versions of Heroes of Might and Magic V. It's important to remember that based on your country and the edition you choose, the content of the box will not be the same. Here is a summary of the information we received from Fabrice himself:
  • Regular Edition: includes a manual, available to all.
  • Limited Edition (United States): it comes with 3 additional maps, a special aura, Heroes III and IV as well as a soundtrack.
  • Collector's Edition (Europe): it comes with the 3 maps and the aura, Heroes II, a statistics card for factions and an art book.
  • Super Collector's Edition (Web only): it's the collector's edition plus the contest coin and the certificate that we saw in a picture some time ago.
  • Heroes Complete (available in the future): Will come with all games of the series.

Please note that expansion packs are not included with the various packagings of the game. So if you want the Winds of War or the Armageddon's Blade, consider picking up the regular edition of Heroes V and finding a copy of Heroes III/IV Complete in store. There. Better now?
Heroes V is Out!  posted by 2 
More than four years after the release of Heroes IV, it finally happened. This morning, Robenhagen was the first Celestial Heavens team member to receive his copy of Heroes of Might and Magic V! You might get your preorder soon if you live close to France or if some stores start selling them early, otherwise you might have to wait until early next week. You might want to call your favorite retail store and ask about the availability of the game. There is still time to order from Amazon.

If you got your copy of the game, please post a comment and join the celebration! Vive Heroes!
U.S. PC Charts: Heroes V at #4  posted by 2 
Heroes of Might and Magic V is still selling well in the United States. The standard edition of the turn-based strategy game ended up in fourth place of the top 10 best-sellers for the May 28-June 3 period. Heroes V beat Oblivion (5th place) and both Age of Empires III and Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends, which were wiped off the charts for that week. The limited edition took the 10th spot. The best selling games were World of Warcraft and the boxed version of Half Life 2: Episode 1.
Dark Messiah Beta Begins  posted by 2 
RPGDot reports that invites for the Dark Messiah of Might and Magic beta have gone out. If you applied for the event, check your inbox to see if a little surprise is waiting for you. The Dark Messiah is closed, which means that only selected testers can participate -- there is no word of an open beta at this point.

All beta testers are under a strict NDA, so don't expect to read a lot of info about the game. However, perhaps action gamers won't be as honest as the Heroes beta testers!

Heroes V Still in the Top 10  posted by 2 
The PC Game Sales charts from NPD Funworld show that Heroes V was still selling well on the week of June 11-17. The Ubisoft strategy title ended in 8th place, behind a couple of veterans such as The Sims 2, The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and World of Warcraft. A Disney game called Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures ended up in first place, above the boxed version of Half-Life 2: Episode One. But as GameSpot reports, "since Valve Software, developer of Episode One, sells many--possibly most--of its games via its Steam download service, it is almost certain that the first Half-Life 2 expansion pack sold far more units than the charts indicate."

Eight place: is it the last apparition of Heroes of Might and Magic V in the top ten? We will find out next week.
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