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Features  → Like Tears in Rain

by Cepheus

Like Tears in Rain: The Untold Chapters of Might and Magic

Foreword


Rare indeed is the franchise which runs for 25 years without amassing a few lost tales or unproduced instalments along the way. By no means can Might and Magic boast as such; the series has undoubtedly seen a very fair share of forgotten, unannounced, heavily-altered or incomplete games and products.

To take stock on the 25th anniversary and summarise the lost possibilities spanning the series, here are some insights into the concepts you never got to experience, new and old alike: the untold chapters of Might and Magic.

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Might and Magic Online (ca. 1995-1998)

Jon Van Caneghem was ahead of his time. With Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen released in 1993, he came to the (accurate) conclusion that online gaming was the way forward for RPGs; whether ignoble or otherwise, he sought to capitalise on this emerging medium and extend Might and Magic into the multiplayer spectrum. Might and Magic Online formed the centrepiece of his vision.

In need of finances to back up his next-generation project, Van Caneghem chose to sell New World Computing and its publishing rights to The 3DO Company, headed by EA Games' founder Trip Hawkins. Meridian 59 – the first commercial 3D MMORPG in existence – was a 3DO publication, and the Might and Magic creator made efforts to spearhead the new incarnation of his series between 1996 and 1998. Working with Meridian's developers, Archetype Interactive, he initiated design work alongside some of the first seminal names in the MMO field: the resumes of Damion Schubert, Mike Kennedy and Rob Ellis II each indicate their involvement.

Unfortunately, the game never reached fruition, being cancelled before 1998 to make way for the revival of the core RPG series. In an April 2004 interview with Computer Gaming World, Van Caneghem made a direct reference to its existence, and cited some of the reasons for its failure to materialise:

"Well, there were a few. I believed that MM RPGs and Heroes games could have gone on for a very long time if we had created something new and innovative every 2 to 3 years. But the need for "sales growth," mandated by 3DO, required us to make a new MM RPG and a new Heroes product every year – some in 10 months or less!

Second, one of the main reasons I was excited to go with 3DO was the ability to create Might and Magic Online. 3DO had the entire infrastructure from their game Meridian 59. With all the ideas I had (most of which have still not appeared in current games), we could have created something really awesome. The future for me in 1996 was definitely online games. Alas, the decision was that for the same budget as MMO, 3DO could make three PS2 games."

Though the MMORPG based on Van Caneghem's series didn't find its way to store shelves – and still hasn't, despite evidence of a second attempt under Ubisoft - Meridian 59 spawned a lengthy legacy, and even made its mark in Might and Magic VII: Brian "Psychochild" Green, one of Archetype/Near Death Studios' developers, revealed to Castle Gobs that some of the cavernous dungeon layouts in the game are taken from Meridian's maps.

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Might and Magic: The Worldcrafter (1995-1997)

Might and Magic Online marked the beginning of a trend which quickly extended beyond the field of videogames, when the franchise started to broaden. As covered by Marzhin in 2006, New World Computing recruited Geary Gravel, a Phillip K. Dick award-nominated science-fiction and fantasy author, to extend the backstory of the series on paper: in 1995, spurred on by Bill Fawcett (one of the creators of the Swords of Xeen fan-mod), Might and Magic: The Dreamwright was published by Del Rey Books, and the inside jacket promised two sequels to follow. Whereas the first continuation, Might and Magic: The Shadowsmith, followed in 1996, the third and final chapter – subtitled The Worldcrafter – was nowhere to be seen.

Faithful as they were to the backstory established in Might and Magic's first five titles, it seemed clear that the novels were building up to a much-coveted revelation: the first appearance of the Ancients (the Worldcrafters in question). There are subtle indications in both stories of the Ancients' continued activity, and one character – a mysterious "aged individual" who passes remarks on the Wire (an arcane network of energy first mentioned in Might and Magic V) and provides protagonist Hitch with technologically-advanced gifts, even commenting on a "carefully-managed breeding program" – epitomised their impending inclusion.

The novels were, however, created to serve a purpose beyond extending the fiction of the series: Gravel was assured that their events would serve as a frame to the story of Might and Magic VI, then undergoing preliminary design work. With minimal information to work with, Gravel developed the setting by himself, assured that New World Computing would build their game around them and not vice-versa. Time passed, and when 1998's Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven finally went gold, it appeared to contain no terms, characters or locations from Gravel's stories. Instead, it had been written as a follow-up to Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars, continuing the story of the Ironfists and the kingdom of Enroth.

Now dubious as to the purpose of the exercise, Gravel declined when asked to write a third, unrelated novel to fulfill the deal; he had grown fond of the world he had developed, and had already written several chapters for The Worldcrafter (which still exist, somewhere, in hard-copy form). Disappointed at being unable to conclude the story arc, he was released from the contract with the help of his agent, declining to "switch gears and tackle a whole new universe". Between 2006 and 2009, we contacted Geary Gravel, who kindly agreed to share some of the details he could recall regarding the plot of the final instalment.

He had "planned to detail Hitch and Diligence's long journey back home from the rescue of Pomponderant they had embarked on at the end of Book Two – and incidentally reveal how the ancients had first come to this world, [and] explain the role of the yeofolk and the underground ruins". Another interesting detail from the unfinished conclusion sheds new light on the stories: "The first chapter opens with Diligence finding herself somewhere unfamiliar without Hitch. She starts exploring and encounters strange creatures, including some raucous giant birds and a talking metal mask that she finds in a field." Considering Melian, a similar talking metal mask who appears in Might and Magic VI, perhaps New World Computing did not entirely deign to abandon the universe established in the books?

Further solid connections can be made: the character of Pomponderant has a cameo role in Swords of Xeen, and two locations which debuted in the stories – the jungle of Aldamar/Auldemar, and the quirky isolationist nation named The Wheel – reappeared much later in Heroes of Might and Magic IV, retroactively suggesting that the stories took place on Axeoth, perhaps in the distant future. Additionally, characters from Gravel's War of the Fading Worlds series make a minor appearance in The Shadowsmith, on page 139.

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Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon's Blade – The Forge (1999)

The next discarded concept in the series came in mid-1999, with the advent of the first expansion pack to the extremely-successful Heroes of Might and Magic III. Gregory Fulton, a new designer who had written Heroes III's developer diaries and provided essential contributions to the storylines of Heroes III, Might and Magic VI and Might and Magic VII, collaborated with Jon Van Caneghem to plan the newest faction in the Heroes lineup. They decided to pick up where Might and Magic VII's Evil ending left off: the dark adventurers of Terra and the Lords of Harmondale revive the Heavenly Forge, an Ancient facility capable of creating advanced, futuristic weaponry.

The Forge town was the result, showcasing a true conflagration of Antagarich's fantastical races and the Ancients' magnificent instrumentation. Goblins received blasters, Zombies were armed with buzz saws for arms, Ogres were equipped with rocket launchers, Minotaurs were bestowed with jetpacks, and Nagas became fused with caterpillar tanks. Flamethrower-wielding pyromaniacs and the mechanised Dreadnoughts rounded off the lineup. Dieselpunk was to take Antagarich by storm as Erathia's medieval military locked arms with the grotesque Deyjan armies.

Instead of attempting to prevent its construction (as in the finished product), Catherine, Roland and Gelu were to seek out Armageddon's Blade of their own will – ultimately using the superweapon to wipe the Forges from the face of the continent. Oil Pumps, mechanical generators, a runway, the Tesla Coil grail structure and facilities radiant with artificial light adorned the town screen's bleak, overcast sky. The Cyborg (might) and Technician (magic) heroes would command these evil-aligned armies. Though highly overpowered – the strongest in the game, supposedly – the Forge units were to be campaign-only inclusions, slow to generate in towns, and costly to recruit. Even some non-7th tier creatures were to cost precious resources.

When the Forge was showcased at E3 in May 1999, New World Computing met an unexpected backlash: the Astral Wizard fansite proposed a boycott of the expansion, with roughly a hundred fan e-mails requesting the town's removal. Upon the leak of one Naga Tank sketch by NWC artist George Almond which displayed partial nudity, some became worried that the Forge would prove distasteful. Greg Fulton received a death threat from one indignant individual. Later, when management made light of it, he was so incensed that he quit his job.

In interviews prior to his resignation, with the fan community and GameSpot's Andrew Park and Micheal Mullen, Fulton confirmed that the Forge had been removed from the game and replaced with the Conflux (an elemental town originally intended for the second expansion) but pushed forward due to the controversy. The storyline had been altered accordingly to include the Kreegans as the new main anatagonists and the Light ending to Might and Magic VII was instead implied as canonical.

Despite disappointment in the lack of community trust, he felt there was not enough pro-Forge activity to justify its inclusion, and that it was unwise to fight the (albeit small) percentage of vocal fans who opposed it. To those who protested against the Conflux, he replied that "you'll get the elemental town, and you'll like it", whereas to Adrenaline Vault, he commented:

"The Forge introduced sci-fi elements into the Heroes universe for the first time, but sci-fi has been a part of the Might and Magic series since the original in 1986. Some of our fans were unaware of the history of sci-fi in the Might and Magic series and were very vocal in their opposition to this new inclusion. There's a 13-year history of listening to the fans at New World Computing, so we decided to move in another direction. I still feel the concept of sci-fi would work in the game. We just need to make sure we don't shock our fans with it."

For several years, the Forge endured as a taboo subject, hotly debated when mentioned: to many fans of the RPGs, it continued an established Might and Magic tradition going back to 1986, whereas to Heroes players it appeared to introduce out-of-place science-fiction into what seemed – to them – to be a purely magical, fantastical universe. Whatever the case, the Forge town – in its justified, yet extreme, attempt to improve continuity – arguably achieved the exact opposite, diluting the storylines of Enroth and Axeoth.

Forge-related developments do continue, though: in 2009, a forum member named benhur appeared at Heroes Community and posted, for the first time ever, a full .RAR file containing the original animated graphic files from the Forge's town screen as it appeared at the town's original announcement at E3, apparently created by New World Computing's Phelan Sykes some ten years earlier.

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Rogues of Might and Magic (ca. 1999-2000)

The Forge was just the first among several unrealised concepts at the turn of the millennium. Following the completion of 3DO's Requiem: Avenging Angel in 1999, the development team was instructed to put their first-person shooter engine to good use on another project – the PC adaption of the ill-fated Crusaders of Might and Magic, a third-person action adventure set on a new, unheard-of world – Ardon – in our beloved fictional universe.

At that point, the original PlayStation concept had already been under production for a couple of years, with a design document and plenty of art finalised; unable to make use of these assets due to engine incompatibilities, the under-staffed Requiem team was, alas, left with only seven months to cobble together a working product. The result was only loosely based on its counterpart, and its release was forced to coincide with the gold master of the PlayStation version in Christmas of 1999. Despite heavy promotion, neither release was particularly well-received and both sold terribly, but these problems didn't dissuade 3DO from investing in the creation of a sequel.

Reasoning that "a new name and a new character" might redeem this false start to their action-adventure spinoff subseries, 3DO's marketing team ordered alterations to be made to Crusaders of Might and Magic 2. It emerged under the title of Warriors of Might and Magic one year onward, in December of 2000. The former lead character of Drake – voiced by Kevin Conroy of Batman fame – was abandoned without any in-game explanation, along with all loose plot threads concerning his fate, to make way for new protagonist Alleron. Lead designer Eric Robson – interested in the back story of the Ancients and the Kreegans – made a valiant attempt to recover continuity with the Might and Magic brand by selecting enemy types and spells from Heroes III. However, with the Requiem team situated in San Francisco, their communication with the creators of the franchise – New World Computing, in Los Angeles – was limited.

Again, Warriors was released on three platforms to abysmal sales and reception, and, again, 3DO inexplicably green-lighted a sequel with further drastic alterations: the concept which began as Warriors 2 was renamed to Shifters, finally omitting the brand name in response to poor sales from the flagship Might and Magic titles developed at New World.

Lead character Alleron was retained from the previous instalment, but at this point the Requiem team felt less concerned with maintaining connectivity to the MM series, introducing steampunk elements alien to the established lore. Much like New World, they contended that 3DO's executives were doing irreparable damage to the franchise with harsh development deadlines, an unending stream of Army Men games, and little concern for product quality. The title of another MM-related spinoff – Dragon Wars of Might and Magic – was also truncated to Dragon Rage in a similar strategy.

In 2000, between the releases of the aforementioned games, Robson and Owen Lockett pitched a far more-inspired game design to 3DO, heavily influenced by the Thief series of stealth games created by Looking Glass Studios. Envisioning an open-world, dense urban setting filled with active characters, they developed a short prototype where every building in the city had a unique interior, with every NPC acting on individual schedules (unremarkable accomplishments today, but considered revolutionary in 2000). Despite a comprehensive game design, their concept was rejected by 3DO because the publisher's officials didn't think the Thief series had made enough money. The only indication of its existence lies in the Warriors game itself, in the form of a piquant Easter-egg: a gravestone marked "Rogues of Might & Magic".

Another poignant quiet goodbye from the former Requiem team, this time specifically to the character of Drake, was also included in Warriors – the player can encounter his corpse while exploring the Catacombs of Ardon. Amusingly, some members from the Looking Glass teams who had worked on Thief eventually joined Arkane Studios, the developers of 2006's Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, which is believed by some to be a spiritual successor to Crusaders – for better or worse.

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Might and Magic: The Sea of Mist – background and plans (2000-2001)

Amidst this growing mound of spinoffs commissioned directly by 3DO, another literary enterprise reared its head. Hearkening back to the botched attempts at creating novels whose plots intertwined with the games, New World Computing and HarperCollins editor Josh Behar began dialogue with prolific author Mel Odom to bring to fruition the third novel in the Might and Magic series: The Sea of Mist.

The book began life as a tie-in to Might and Magic IX, while the project was undergoing brainstorming at New World. Basing his narrative upon the original MM9 plot as envisioned by MM9's then-lead designer Tom Ono – centred on Axeoth's continent of Tamarck – Odom added his own touches to the original document given to him, renaming proposed hero Pazel to "Praz-El", adding the towers of Soronne and taking further liberties. Cover artwork was provided by accomplished digital illustrator J.P. Targete.

When Tim Lang replaced Tom Ono as MM9's lead designer, he abandoned Ono's concept and crafted the setting of Rysh and Chedian for the game. Giving Odom free reign with his writing, Lang severed most of the ties common between his design document and Odom's novel, Tamarck and the events that took place there: he believed constraints created by the events of The Sea of Mist did not afford the player a real chance to create their own stories. In the final novel there is just one remaining passing reference to Might and Magic IX, probably retained as a "development relic" by accident: the city of Heronport, mentioned in MM9's item descriptions, is also briefly alluded to in the book.

The story line ends on a frustrating cliffhanger, with Praz-El embarking on a pilgrimage to the keep of Murlank to be educated in the dark arts, and lead villain Sendark privately revelling in his accomplishments, having never even physically encountered our hero throughout the course of the text. Recently, I learned why: The Sea of Mist was intended to serve as the first chapter in a series, with at least three books, or more, planned. This franchise never materialised; we can only speculate as to why not.

As eloquently summed up in Marzhin's review, the finished plot was not applauded by fans, eschewing the compelling charm and wonder of Geary Gravel's earlier works in favour of a more generically visceral tone, with few ties to the core games' overarching plot and spirit. The Ancients and the Kreegans went unmentioned, with allusions to a conflict between "the Gods and the Dragons" instead dominating the narrative. Furthermore, the few returning characters – Nymus, Alagar, Clancy and Xarfax of Heroes III, along with Daria and Necros from the Ardon instalments – received little more than brief cameos, and without the enthusiasm of its target audience in tow, one can only conclude that The Sea of Mist's sales were probably less than stellar.

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Legends of Might and Magic – the original concepts (2000-2001)

Meanwhile, suffering from severe financial problems (despite the enormous commercial success of Heroes of Might and Magic III), 3DO commanded New World Computing to develop Legends of Might and Magic – a second sister franchise to complement Heroes and the original Might and Magic RPGs.

Assigning programmers originally intended to work on Heroes IV to the new flagship title, New World drew up an extensive, very ambitious and – as one former employee described it – "frankly, cool-sounding" concept for a pioneering first-person adventure, described as a cross between Neverwinter Nights and MM9, featuring co-operative single player and a random adventure generator. A complex time-travelling story line spanning the series' worlds had been planned out between Jon Van Caneghem and designer Christian Vanover, situated on Aalondor, an as-yet-unexplored continent on the planet of Axeoth:

"The Gate of Anduran is an incredible machine that can allow travel between the worlds of the Might and Magic universe. Unfortunately, an evil, power-hungry madman has come upon the secret of using it to transcend both space and time. His plan is to travel back in time and to alter the course of history, an act that could very conceivably result in the destruction of the world. The world is clearly in dire need of someone to thwart his malevolent scheme."

"With King Rydric fighting a war in a far off land, Rydric's advisor and friend since childhood, Zephram Dagrath, attempts to reassemble an ancient and powerful machine that will allow him to travel back to a pivotal moment in time – a moment where he could have done one thing differently to put himself on the throne instead of his friend. After a visit from a strange shaman who claims that the advisor's actions will set in motion a series of events that will destroy the world, the King's son, Prince Golwyn, and his five companions, the six playable characters in Legends, must start a quest of their own – to stop Zephram from using the machine before all is lost."

Some two years of work were invested in the original concept and storyline, with sketches, screenshots, prototype builds and even an impressive, emotive cinematic trailer created and publicised at E3 2000. Even so, the team assigned to the game quickly reached the conclusion that they had over-designed the project, planning far beyond the resources available to them: butting heads with the extreme limitations of the LithTech engine they had chosen, and unable to make serious alterations so far behind schedule, they elected to abandon their bold design document, instead using the assets they had to redefine Legends into a simple death match game, comparable to "fantasy Counter-Strike". Regardless of the fact that it had fulfilled one of its original goals – becoming the first fully-online Might and Magic game – it earned mediocre reviews on release in 2001.

Legends continues to attract a devoted, if small, community of players. Unfortunately, though, the overambition poured into its production overshadowed fellow Might and Magic projects: the Lich Lab, the Inventa Storca and the Tomb of a Thousand Terrors as they appear in Might and Magic IX – the Tomb even containing a statue of the Dragon Pharaoh from Might and Magic V – were originally created as maps for Golwyn and his comrades to sojourn through, and Heroes IV's adventure AI was crippled due to its programmers' prior occupation with Legends.

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Heroes of Might and Magic V – New World Computing (ca. 2003)

Though certainly not unequivocally lauded like its predecessor, Heroes IV received good reviews, and sold well enough to propel forth the development of Heroes of Might and Magic V. Most players know of Heroes V in its current incarnation only: the divisive yet solid offering developed by Nival Interactive in collaboration with publishers Ubisoft Entertainment, which revived the franchise after four years of nothing. However, this was not the first attempt at a Heroes V production: a short-lived development effort under Jon Van Caneghem and some of New World's last remaining artists and designers had previously begun circa 2003, defiant in the wake of 3DO's impending bankruptcy.

When Celestial Heavens was still a StrategyPlanet site, one of its forum members visited New World Computing and saw the planned Heroes V factions on a drawing board. Based on exclusive information, I can confirm that the six planned factions he described were indeed conceptualised under these preliminary names/themes: Lizard, Mythic, Haven, Tower, Necropolis and Fairy. In essence, influence from all eight of the classic Heroes III factions (aside from the Inferno) remained: Haven, Tower, Necropolis and Fairy need no further introduction, Lizard was a clear successor to the reptilian Fortress, and the Mythic town denoted the Gothic themes of the original Dungeon of Heroes I and II, "fused" with the brute force of the Stronghold and boasting architecture comparable to a Greek Acropolis.

As indicated by Christian Vanover, the story – if any had been developed – was supposedly to take place in Axeoth. The actual artwork released includes a slew of pencil drawing concepts by Nowa Morisaku-Yu, rendered structures by Keith Talanay, and fully-textured creatures – both new and old – for three towns by Tracy Iwata, including an oft-praised depiction of a Phoenix. One design is also strikingly similar to the Kirin of Heroes VI's Sanctuary faction, though the creature itself first appeared in Might and Magic as early as 1986.

The new magic system was to fuse the idea of a generic pool of spells from Heroes I-III with the faction-specific schools of Heroes IV, and the underground map layer was to be removed due to Van Caneghem's dissatisfaction with its overuse. Towns would visibly expand on the adventure map, the AI was to be fully rewritten, and the general gameplay would return to purer strategy as opposed to the personal, character-centric questing of Heroes IV.

Ultimately, Ubisoft and Nival used very few, if any, of the NWC elements in their finished game, seemingly abandoning them after Van Caneghem declined an offer to participate on the rebooted project, although one significant change – the Academy/Tower town's shift from snowy terrain to deserts – remained consistent from the game's beginnings at New World, if only by strange coincidence.

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Might and Magic X (2003-?)

Not long after the "Great Cataclysm" in 3DO, Tim Lang found a place as the first game designer in Nival Interactive's new US studio. Nival had a good relationship with Ubisoft, and – interested in ascertaining whether or not the publishers were planning Might and Magic X – Lang drafted his own sequel proposal, its story outline building on inconclusive plot threads from the previous RPG:

"In the nation-state of Mendossus, it's been 5 long years since the king began conscripting the population to fight in the war across the sea against the violent and ruthless Chedian. The Chedians had briefly stopped raiding Mendossus for a short time while the joined together to fight off the invading Beldonian hordes 6 years ago. Because of the conscriptions, the formerly safe nation is rife with violence. The roads are now unsafe to travel because of bandits. Large groups of predators have taken up residence in the forests. Formerly safe temples and forts have been overrun by monsters.

Because of this abuse of conscription by the king, a small resistance had formed in Mendossus. Led by a mysterious outsider, this resistance has become a thorn in the side of the king and his advisor, Archibald. They actively hunt down the members of the resistance. When the player first meets the king, the first mission he gives the party is to infiltrate the resistance and kill its leader.

Once the party infiltrates the resistance, they discover who is in charge of this group of rebels is none other than Nicolai Ironfist, nephew of Archibald and son of the king of the now destroyed Enroth. He tells them a dangerous secret about the conscriptions.

Under the influence of the evil Archibald Ironfist, the king has been lying to the population. There is no war with Chedian, and none of the men conscripted ever go into the army. Archibald has teamed up with a very powerful creature to disrupt one of the most important projects in the history of the universe.

A group of Ancient Scientists, after thousands of years of hibernation have awoke to find that Research Platform Enroth has been disrupted by the destruction of the planet. Banding together, they begin a mission to rebuild the Research Platform and continue its important mission of study. Archibald, along with a creature known as a Sheltem are actively working to not only disrupt the construction of the new Research Platform Enroth, but take it over for their own, nefarious use."

One cannot help but wonder where Tim's plot may have led, had it been fully fleshed out – with the return of the Ironfists, Sheltem, Enroth and the Ancients, many classical elements and plot devices appeared ready to come to the fore once again. Many unexplored subplots and red herrings in Might and Magic IX – the inevitable result of an under-funded and rushed game – may have found resolution and reconciliation had the project been pursued. I still reserve hope that Ubisoft will green-light a new RPG faithful to classic Might and Magic conventions some day.

Currently, Tim acts as an advisor to the Might and Magic X fan project under development by Deyja Vu Studios, an effort which I also contributed to as a story writer before leaving the team; I wish them all the best, and hope they can suitably resolve the legacies of Axeoth, the Ancients and the Kreegans as they stand. Whatever the case, though, at least it's possible to argue that the Ancients have indeed been revealed, somewhat: the three Wyrdes in Arslegard, visible among the Gods at the end of MM9, were in fact the formerly-hibernating scientists planned to feature in the next game.

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Kingdoms of Might and Magic (ca. 2005-2006)

Might and Magic X, it seems, was not the only potential project cut down as Ubisoft acquired the franchise. Heavy evidence suggests that another unannounced endeavour faded into obscurity while Heroes V and Dark Messiah claimed the spotlight: a project which appears to have been the second major attempt at creating a Might and Magic MMORPG. Alas, just as Jon Van Caneghem's Might and Magic Online had failed, this false start also remained buried for several years.

The now-offline portfolio of Ranjeet Singhal – a 3D artist formerly employed by Wolfpack Studios, whose only-released project was the MMORPG Shadowbane – previously contained his rendered art depicting a "Death Knight" and a "Magic Warrior", both evidently inspired by Heroes V's art direction. Singhal and his colleagues are also noted for having worked on Legacy of Kain: The Dark Prophecy and other cancelled, unannounced sequels to various franchises. His resume, and the descriptions which accompanied the images, explicitly cited "Kingdoms of Might and Magic" as the project in question, mentioned it was an MMORPG, and named Ubisoft as his employer. Despite similar nomenclature and the common genre, I can prove that the art bears no direct relation to the Heroes Kingdoms browser game of 2008.

I managed to preserve Singhal's artwork – but not the portfolio – by posting it at the Might and Magic Wiki. The discovery inspired me to further investigate the existence of this enigmatic lost title, and after some scrutiny, webstalking and bad coffees, I eventually came across the little-known website of another of Ubisoft's clients: Robert D. Brown, a conceptual artist who most notably worked on the Oddworld series. There, a piece of very familiar art was visible in his online gallery: the confusing yet widely-known "beta Ashan" map, displaying locations from Heroes V's final incarnation of Ashan such as Irollan, Heresh and the Griffin Empire alongside Axeoth's Palaedra and the overtly-named infernal region of Kreegar.

A recent site revamp also includes some of Brown's other Ashan-related artwork: a painting of what is very clearly a Haven castle, and a map of "Telluria" – the missing link between the beta Ashan map and the canonical Thallan, omitting almost all references to Axeoth's locales. And, of course, Brown's resume revealed that he too had worked for Wolfpack Studios alongside Ranjeet Singhal. To seal the deal, I posted the original map on Might and Magic's Facebook page and inquired about its origins, where Xhane publicly confirmed that it had been produced for a project which had never been announced – this comment coming some two years after the Kingdoms browser game was first revealed.

Everything seems to fit: Wolfpack's only successes derived from Shadowbane, so why else might a publisher absorb them? With World of Warcraft dominating the market in early 2005, we can deduce that it would've been financially foolish of Ubisoft not to pursue some ideas while the specifics of Ashan were still in fluctuation, having so recently obtained the Might and Magic brand. It's probably impossible to confirm for certain how far they were planning to go, but at least we can be secure in the validity of the artwork: a piece quite similar indeed to Robert D. Brown's Haven castle wormed its way into 2009's Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes as part of a cutscene, visible at the beginning of Godric's chapter.

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Heroes of Might and Magic VI – under Nival Interactive (circa 2006-2008)

Obviously, Kingdoms was not the first abandoned project in the series, and certainly won't be the last: no matter the publisher, Might and Magic seems destined to inspire new ideas, some wildly successful and others morbidly embarrassing. It is constantly renewing itself, as asserted in the recent 25-year-celebration video, and even its most recent offering is by no means an exception to this maxim.

While Black Hole Entertainment hold the reins with what is soon to be released under the title of Might & Magic Heroes VI, they were not the first to lead its development effort. As hinted by producer Erwan Le Breton, production on Heroes VI dates back as early as 2006, supposedly reaching some kind of playable demo stage before Nival's participation was cut short, since the very pre-production stage of the game got finalised prior to changing the developer. A few of the earliest Heroes VI images have been released, each one worth a thousand words. I'll try to cut that number down.

One extremely-early, carnal piece depicts a gargantuan, Behemoth-like monstrosity against a surreal backdrop: the disproportionate style indicates the prevalence of Heroes V's Warhammer-esque art direction (moving even further towards direct plagiarism if you ask me, but that's a subjective matter). Exaggeration and Kafka-esque melodrama was to be a staple if this painting is a reliable indication; a more "gritty" style, totally contrary to the fairy-tale charm of classic Heroes, seemed to be emerging. However, it was mentioned that the image was one of the first created as part of a collection of often contradictory ideas raised while the developers sought a new artistic feel for the game.

As for the adventure map, two mock-ups are currently available: the first and the second. I would conjecture that interactivity was to play a far greater role: terrain seemed to be transformable, capable of being altered entirely under certain circumstances. The final image depicts three heroes whose models can be extracted from the Tribes of the East data files – their textures, however, were not included in the expansion, visible here for the first time. With coral armour and varied colour palettes, they signify the plausibility that the Reputation system had been planned even at this early stage.

Based on the fact that the models were located among the Heroes V files, one might assume that they were made for a Fake Gameplay Footage video, akin to the one created for Ubisoft's unknown shooter game. A commentator also mentioned to me that, despite the current town screen debacle under Black Hole, players would likely have been truly outraged had the concept under Nival survived: town screens were apparently to be discarded altogether in favour of an on-the-map expansion framework, typical to most RTS games.

Needless to say, despite a few worthy and redeeming features, the earlier outlines for Heroes VI perhaps had little going for them in the context of the Might and Magic series, abandoning many an essential convention in favour of radical – and, I am certain, heavily-disputable – changes. If the current version of the game is not considered conservative enough by the fanbase, there is at least quite some solace in the fact that things haven't been shaken up beyond recognition.

---

Afterword


Reflecting on all of these pared-down plans, I can't help but register some level of frustration, considering what might have been. This article barely scratches the surface; it's a virtual certainty that there have been even more fanciful ideas and titles in pre-production out there which, alas, never saw the light of day.

It's impossible to know whether any more of them will be revealed in time, but, then again, that knowledge would probably take most of the bliss out of the ignorance.

And what of the untold chapters the future holds? Can the Might and Magic brand, with all its peaks and troughs, continue to polarise, shock and, most importantly, delight us for another 25 years to come? I don't know, but one can always hope.

---

My sincerest thanks to Eric Robson, Geary Gravel, Mel Odom, Sermil and Tim Lang for all of their various exclusive insights into work on the Might and Magic series. Extreme gratitude to Acid Dragon, cuc, Demilich, Marzhin, MMXAlamar and others for their trust, assistance and insights, and a very special thanks to Kalah for graciously hosting the article.
- Cepheus

Comments

StoneCold at 2011-08-15 16:18 wrote:
Great article. I love reading the history and taking a trip back in time.

Oh, FORGE RULES. Anti Forge sucks!

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-24 12:49 wrote:

Why all of sudden you started talking about majority? 2 is less than 5 no matter what majority feels. Majority felt they were living on the back of of a turtle, so what? Thank almighty god there are things not ruled by democracy, including formal logic, math, physics, chemistry, etc.


Too bad fictional worlds aren't ruled by anything resembling objectivity.

Dalai at 2011-07-24 12:15 wrote:
These are still your views; you haven't proved that it's what the majority feels.
Why all of sudden you started talking about majority? 2 is less than 5 no matter what majority feels. Majority felt they were living on the back of of a turtle, so what? Thank almighty god there are things not ruled by democracy, including formal logic, math, physics, chemistry, etc.

And please try not to confuse yourself about who said what. You seem to be answering to Jeff's words as if it were me that have said them.
No, I did not answer to Jeff's words. Recheck yourself. I always quote what I answer, that makes it easy to recheck.

One of two things is happening here: either there is a standard and objective way in creating a game/mod/whatever and you are not good at it, hence that deprives you of the right to be so extremely critical or there is not a standard way to produce something good, and good is a subjective thing in the quality of art. Choose what you like.
There are some more.

1. I never ever said that there is a "a standard way to produce something good, and good is a subjective thing in the quality of art". And still you go on attributing this BS to me every single post. I understand that the only way to win this argument is to answer some fabricated theory of mine. You could just comment on real cases I gave you more than once, but you prefer to avoid it. For a very clear reason.

2. I have too little possibilities to actually get what I want. Less than couple percent, actually. If I had source code and financing then it could be some sort of argument. But if you insist - then you have to accept that you are deprived of the right to criticize anything you do not produce - cars, haircuts, movies, weather and so on.

3. Every single H-IV championship is played using Equilibris. I don't know if that's the case with WOG though.

Anything but "this is still your opinion" left?

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-23 19:55 wrote:
Sure, because another planet going around the sun at the near exact same speed as Earth is not convoluted at all.

XEL II at 2011-07-23 01:43 wrote:
This makes no sense. 18 years in that calendar should be something close to Earth's 18 years. Faster growing is just convoluted.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-22 19:01 wrote:
Creating worlds = easy, genetically modifying humans = hard?
Those characters aren't genetically modified, they are descendants of those created by the Ancients.

So there's no reason why they can't all age faster (or slower) then a normal human... or live way longer etc.

So your reasoning is flawed...

XEL II at 2011-07-22 18:48 wrote:
Creating worlds = easy, genetically modifying humans = hard?
Those characters aren't genetically modified, they are descendants of those created by the Ancients. I hope you don't disagree that having eighteen-years-old-but-really-six-years-old characters is convoluted and makes very little sense.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-22 18:35 wrote:
And 100 days in a year wouldn't be sensical, considering that you can create characters who are 18 years old and still look adult.

Creating worlds = easy, genetically modifying humans = hard?

XEL II at 2011-07-20 10:56 wrote:
About the number of days in MM 2-5 time system, it's more of the matter of game mechanics. The day/night system was not deeply developed, it didn't have month division, for instance. And 100 days in a year wouldn't be sensical, considering that you can create characters who are 18 years old and still look adult. The years (900 in CRON calendar, 500 in Terra's, [don't exactly remember what year] in XEEN's Clouds', 850/851 in Darkside's) are correct, they were part of the plotline, but the number of days must be something close to Enroth/Axeoth years. BTW, even in VARN's Star Trek easter egg itself it is never assumed that VARN MCMIV's crew was that of Star Trek TOS. Their last names backwards are used for the crew members' [i:6e4bdae9af]key codes[/i:6e4bdae9af], not their [i:6e4bdae9af]names[/i:6e4bdae9af]. And Morglin's stoyline isn't just "reference for fun", like Corak in KB, Star Trek in MM6, etc. It's the [i:6e4bdae9af]basis[/i:6e4bdae9af] of HoMM1 story. And all the clues point towards that him and Kilburn are actually from VARN's Ironfist and Kilburn dynasties. I don't see anything wrong with it, unless you desperately try to cut any links to MM in HoMM, of course :) About Kreegans, I already pointed the ways in which the physical appearances of their models is similar (even clothing in HoMM3 is of similar style to that of flying ones in MM6), they don't look identical, but that's only logical for different people in one race tonot look exactly the same. The storyline makes it clear that HoMM Kreegans are the same race from MM.

Avonu at 2011-07-20 06:31 wrote:
>>>Morglin is very precise about the timing. He states in his first letter "30 days since I crossed through", and the letter is marked 23rd of Raven. Then the next one is 4th of Dragongly and he states "more than a month since my last missive". Then he refers to years.
And here you have diffence between Varn, Cron, Terra or Xeen and Enroth or Axoeth. Years on MM1-5 worlds were shorter then years on these two planets. I don't remeber now exacly how short in case of Varn but in case of Terra year had 99 days.
And Morglin Ironfist cleary use calendar from his home world - he landed on Enroth ca. 1100 AS (well ca. 1125 AS +/- few years to be precise) not in Common Year 632 (his last letter is from Common Year 642).
Consering that years in MM1-5 were 1/3 (maybe 1/2 to 2/3) lenght of years on Enroth and thet H1 fully campaign can take average maybe 3 years, he clearly spent less then these 10 yeras to conquer Enroth.
And in any case look at this topic and how long (or how fast) took players to conquer Enroth. ;)


>>>Oh, and the fountain of youth does not make you younger, it just removes magical ageing. That's different.
It's only because of game mechanism. I think Enrothians could use it in "normal" way. ;)

hellegennes at 2011-07-19 23:32 wrote:
Some people grow facial hair very early. I am quite sure barbarians do :p
Also, his avatar could have been from an updated one from the 15 years war.

Corlagon at 2011-07-19 23:29 wrote:
14? With that beard?? :P

hellegennes at 2011-07-19 22:46 wrote:
Morglin is very precise about the timing. He states in his first letter "30 days since I crossed through", and the letter is marked 23rd of Raven. Then the next one is 4th of Dragongly and he states "more than a month since my last missive". Then he refers to years. Unless the duration of day in Enroth is different, these are the same earthly concepts.

As for Crag Hack, well... he is a barbarian. He would fight till his death. But it's very likely he was very young in Heroes 1, say 14. He is after all a barbarian, so this couldn't have been weird.

Corlagon at 2011-07-19 20:59 wrote:
Plus 15 years from the start of Heroes 1 to its end. You can see it from the dates of the letters.

The calendar of VARN which Morglin was using for his journals likely isn't comparable to that of Enroth. If it's anywhere close to that of Xeen, the events of Heroes I translate into something more like four or five years time.

Lord Kilburn in Heroes 1 is probably a young knight from Enroth. Might and Magic wikia has a different opinion but I don't see where they get their sources.

It was written in Spinward Tales logic. Don't believe everything I write. ;) But the source I'll likely be using for that in the future is the Worlds of Might and Magic article written by Marzhin, whether canon or not.

According to them, Kilburn was 160 years old when he died

Incorrect - "~ 1000 s AS" is not the same as "~1000 AS". It indicates he was probably born in the last years of the ninth century.

As for the ageing, you are quick to claim that it can't be the same Lord Kilburn just because he's too old, but then consider Crag Hack of Enroth and the fact that he's probably entering well into his seventies or eighties by the time of Heroes IV.

hellegennes at 2011-07-19 20:47 wrote:


Plus 15 years from the start of Heroes 1 to its end. You can see it from the dates of the letters.

Lord Kilburn in Heroes 1 is probably a young knight from Enroth. Might and Magic wikia has a different opinion but I don't see where they get their sources. According to them, Kilburn was 160 years old when he died.

Oh, and the fountain of youth does not make you younger, it just removes magical ageing. That's different.

Avonu at 2011-07-19 19:41 wrote:
The thing is that there is no good library of MM1 sprites, and I haven't found a way to extract them, either.
There is but not finished but there is a good chance it will be someday. ;)

Except, guys, Ironfist clearly states his amazement at the creatures from Enroth. It's not that they are just different, he has never seen anything like them. He doesn't know what they are. It's crystal clear if you read the letters in the manual.
If you visit VARN, CRON, Terra and Xeen (and even Ardon) you would see creatures that don't look like on Enroth. You would be amazement by theier look.

Neither is Lord Kilburn with him, as one of you have said. Lord Kilburn of Enroth is a different person, otherwise in his expedition in MM6 he would be way beyond retirement (seeing as more than 40 years have passed between Morglin leaving his former land and MM6).
He is in H1 campaign, so lore wise he was present when Morglin Ironfist conquered Enroth.
And you forgot about Fountain of Younth on Dragonsand desert or Rejuvenation Potion. After all Gem or Luna had more then 80 years in HIV (as stated in one of bios).
BTW - between HoMM1 and MM6 passed less then 40 years (25 between HoMM1 and HoMM2 and 10 years between HoMM2 and MM6).

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-19 18:53 wrote:
Would be cool is someone made a comparison of all monsters in MM.

There are those already, called Creature Evolutions. All creatures from HoMMs are already done I believe, I did a few of the MM ones. The thing is that there is no good library of MM1 sprites, and I haven't found a way to extract them, either.

hellegennes at 2011-07-19 18:39 wrote:
Except, guys, Ironfist clearly states his amazement at the creatures from Enroth. It's not that they are just different, he has never seen anything like them. He doesn't know what they are. It's crystal clear if you read the letters in the manual.

Neither is Lord Kilburn with him, as one of you have said. Lord Kilburn of Enroth is a different person, otherwise in his expedition in MM6 he would be way beyond retirement (seeing as more than 40 years have passed between Morglin leaving his former land and MM6).

All other things are just references for fun. Unless we are to believe that the actual crew of Star Trek landed on Dragonsand, not to mention Trip Hawkins, JVC and tons of characters from The Chronicles of Amber.

Corlagon at 2011-07-19 16:01 wrote:
And NO, Morglin Ironfist is NOT from VARN. I have read the manual a billion times and I know the whole story by heart. There was no connection to the MM games until MM6

This is trying to fit things to the lore. "Ironfist from MM1 is probably Ragnar" is such an assumption. There are no clues to say any of these.

While it's quite true that it was never confirmed by NWC that Morglin Ironfist is from VARN (unless they did so on the 3DO discussion board or somewhere), it entered into general convention that he was long before XEL II came along, and I think it's folly to say the Varnal Hills, Lord Kilburn, Ironfists, the Eye of Goros and the red sun are anything but strong clues indeed. You can argue that there was another space-travelling Ironfist family somewhere out there in the universe, and you may be right, but then you'd the the one making assumptions.

hatsforclowns at 2011-07-19 15:42 wrote:
http://static2.ubi.com/uk/mm/history-of-the-orcs_v2.jpg

Except MM6 is really an ogre. Would be cool is someone made a comparison of all monsters in MM.

Avonu at 2011-07-19 15:16 wrote:
Do you remember HOW goblins or gremlins look like in MMV? They were nothing like they little, green friends from Enroth.
MM1-5 creatures looked much more different then these from Enroth. Well, even creatures from Morglin Ironfist times looked different then 25 years later (troll, goblins, dragons, etc.).

hellegennes at 2011-07-19 15:08 wrote:
@XELLII, Avonu:

This is trying to fit things to the lore. "Ironfist from MM1 is probably Ragnar" is such an assumption. There are no clues to say any of these.

If you read the manual, it's absolutely obvious that Ironfist and his generals have never seen any of the creatures that dwell Enroth, hence they come from a land much more mundane.

XEL II at 2011-07-19 14:25 wrote:
In MM1 both these characters appears.
They are rather of same respective dynasties. Lord Ironfist in MM1 is most likely Ragnar.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-19 11:09 wrote:
Of course, they are supposed to be powerful, they are still late game items and of Ancient origin :)

Well, they could have, like in MM1 - limit their ammo. But, of course, that way the Ancient Weapon skill would be useless and weapons themselves would be too rare to be used. Well, not to mention that there is no Disintegration spell for PCs to use anyway.

Avonu at 2011-07-19 10:16 wrote:
Yes, I tried. Blasters are still quicker then normal weapon and they can do more damage by this fact. Of course they can't deal 200+ damage to dragon in one hit like knight can do, but still they do large amount of damage in short time.
IIRC they shooting speed depends also of armsmater skill.

Ohh, and blasters are magic sticks or light swords ;) which (lore wise) can shot down anything in one shot, even dragon. Not to mention Robert the Wise/Tolberti who knew how to use desintegration mode of their boomsticks. ;)

I think blasters don't have "% eradicate hit" just for sake of game balance.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-19 09:41 wrote:
Not in term of shooting speed - that's why blasters are superior to artifacts/relics (unless your attack button will "jam" when you are shooting with bows ;) ).

Have you tried using blasters in turn-based mode without Haste and pressing buttons without holding them? Well, that's basically how they were supposed to work.

Also, in MM1, Laser Blasters are essentially magic wands of Disintegrate. They have a few shots only, but have a pretty good chance of instakilling enemies, which is a lot closer to what we see in the cutscenes in MM7 and such.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-19 09:38 wrote:
I, for one, am sure that, knowing NWC, they must have done the job well.

This. Look at the town screen, it's certainly beautiful. Magical, if you're feeling dramatic. And we never got to see finished units from what I know.

Avonu at 2011-07-19 07:26 wrote:
And NO, Morglin Ironfist is NOT from VARN. I have read the manual a billion times and I know the whole story by heart. There was no connection to the MM games until MM6. And I explained the reasons behind this decision. Of course, only JVC can say that, but to me it's fairly obvious that they went this way for the reasons expounded.

He is.
His homeworld has red sun (diferrent from Enroth's sun) and also different gravity (no, he is NOT from Krypton :P).
Also, Morglin Ironfist came to Enroth with his companion Lord Kilburn. In MM1 both these characters appears and Lord Kilburn is vassal of Lord Ironfist IIRC.
And one more thing - both Queen Lamanda and Lord Slayer also could be from another world, form CRON. Both of these characters appers there. Why and how they ended on Enroth, well there are many ways to explain that.

XEL II at 2011-07-19 00:16 wrote:
What can I say, you can compare yourself. I was talking about the physical appearance of their bodies and complexion. They have the same type of legs, overall "demonic" appearance, glowing eyes, they burn after they die, have horns. They don't look exactly the same, that's for sure, but then again, nor do humans and pther races.

Morglin is actually from VARN, the manual mentions Varnal Hills and the Ironfists itself is one of five main noble dynasties of VARN 4. Eye of Goros is not the one from VARN, it's Enrothian one. And that Archipelago is not "Ancient Archipelago" or something like that, it's "Archipelago of the Ancients ", which is clearly referencing the progenitor race of MM.

hellegennes at 2011-07-19 00:04 wrote:
No XELL, Kreegans in MM are nothing like the demonic race in Heroes. They certainly are the same race, but that is it. They look nothing alike. That you observe any kind of similarities is beyond me.

And NO, Morglin Ironfist is NOT from VARN. I have read the manual a billion times and I know the whole story by heart. There was no connection to the MM games until MM6. And I explained the reasons behind this decision. Of course, only JVC can say that, but to me it's fairly obvious that they went this way for the reasons expounded.

Neither is the Eye of Goros the same thing. And why does the word "ancients" have to mean The Ancients? It's not like it's a rare or special word. It's one of the most used words in heroic fantasy.

XEL II at 2011-07-18 23:42 wrote:
An interesting point is that Corak was apparently travelling a lot using the time machine while trying to stop Sheltem destroying CRON. This provides a vast potential for different storylines and events.

Corlagon at 2011-07-18 23:37 wrote:
OK then, agree to disagree. I'm afraid I'll stick to what the sign said and not what it didn't say.
Back to the Forge Wars I suppose.

XEL II at 2011-07-18 23:33 wrote:
So "Corak was not here", is essentially what you're claiming? Yes. Or "Corak being here was an easter egg reference to MM and the famous "Kilroy was here" graffiti" to be precise.

hatsforclowns at 2011-07-18 23:33 wrote:
Kilroy was here.

XEL II at 2011-07-18 23:32 wrote:
I agree that it would be interesting to explain how has Corak visited the Four Continents, although it's clear that the sign was supposed to be an easter egg. He could have visited it when using the time machine in his attempts to free CRON from the control of Sheltem's personality copy.

Corlagon at 2011-07-18 23:30 wrote:
So "Corak was not here", is essentially what you're claiming?

XEL II at 2011-07-18 23:22 wrote:
Isn't that clear? This sign has totally no relevance to the story, it's never explained anywhere. Besides, why would anyone just put a sign saying "[someone] was here" on the spot person visited? It is pretty obvious that this was an easter egg (which could have been fitted into the storyline, yet the developers didn't do it) considering that there is a "mutual" easter egg in WoX referencing KB. And I wasn't talking about Corak when mentioning other NWC games, it was an example of self-referencing in easter eggs. There are references to all those games in WoX (which surely contain some element from them i none way or another), but that doesn't mean they are linked story-wise. Why would an easter egg of similar fashion in KB be any different in that regard?

Corlagon at 2011-07-18 23:16 wrote:
But I'm not joking around or trying to make a fool out of you. I honestly see nothing redundant or humourous about it. It's quite clear to me that if there's a signpost saying Corak was there, then he was there as far as we know.

There's no "Corak was here" signpost in Inherit the Earth or Spaceward Ho. No Might and Magic characters were ever mentioned in any other NWC games outside the series. And none of the other games were cited as the inspiration for Heroes. So they don't make valid analogies.

Did I miss something (...as usual)? Did somebody from NWC tell you it was just a silly easter egg?

XEL II at 2011-07-18 23:03 wrote:
Oh? I must have missed all the mentions of Corak in those games...? Don't act like you don't get the point. I was saying that easter eggs like these are just humorous (for the most parts) references to some things or other games, it's redundant to consider them part of the story.

Corlagon at 2011-07-18 22:58 wrote:
Oh? I must have missed all the mentions of Corak in those games...?

hatsforclowns at 2011-07-18 22:57 wrote:
Sci-fu!? Holy ****!! Where do I get some!!?? Seriously...that's...that's...just awesome...in so many ways...
Funny how you're going crazy over a simple typo :)

Yes, a simple typo...but that seriously brought amazing images into my mind. Damn it, stop being unintentionally creative!

I wasn't making fun of you or being sarcastic...I like that typo, very much!

XEL II at 2011-07-18 22:55 wrote:
Sci-fu!? Holy ****!! Where do I get some!!?? Seriously...that's...that's...just awesome...in so many ways...
Funny how you're going crazy over a simple typo :)

XEL II at 2011-07-18 22:54 wrote:
Thanks for clarifying that, Mr. Van Caneghem :devious:
No need for silly sarcasm here. Or you might as well start tying all the easter eggs to the storyline. WoX, for instance, had easter egg references not only to King's Bounty, but also to Vegas Games, Spaceward Ho!, Inherit the Earth, Tunnels and Trolls, Nuclear War and Planets Edge.

hatsforclowns at 2011-07-18 22:53 wrote:
The only rasonable complain here would be the style and artistic representation of sci-fu in Heroes..

Sci-fu!? Holy fuck!! Where do I get some!!?? Seriously...that's...that's...just awesome...in so many ways...

Corlagon at 2011-07-18 22:46 wrote:
"Corak was here" in King's Bounty is just an easter egg

Thanks for clarifying that, Mr. Van Caneghem :devious:

XEL II at 2011-07-18 22:46 wrote:
Again, Kreegans don't stop being Kreegans when we don't see their spaceships. And, in the physical appearance, HoMM Kreegans are very similiar to MM models. The only difference is their clothing, and even that was in the same style as the models of flying Kreegans from MM6. Kreegans in HoMM are not some different Kreegans, they are the same race. And they are called demons and devils by those who don't know about their origin because they look demonic, in both MM and HoMM.

HoMM was linked to MM in HoMM1 manual. Morglin Ironfist is a member of the Ironfist dynasty from VARN 4, who had gotten to Enroth from VARN through a portal. Eye of Goros is an Ancient artifact of the same type that was featured in MM1, and HoMM1 also had Archipelago of the Ancients. MM6 tied HoMM 1-2 to MM even more loosely, providing the backstory of planet Enroth. HoMM is not some "alternate MM universe", the world and lore are the same with the main series.

That makes sci-fi a totally legitimate thing for HoMM series story-wise. The only reasonable complain here would be the style and artistic representation of sci-fi in Heroes. This is one of the more sensible problems people had with the Forge. I, for one, am sure that, knowing NWC, they must have done the job well.

Avonu at 2011-07-18 21:49 wrote:
Plus, if you say that blasters are overpowered, you're clearly doing something wrong. They were always worse than artifact/relic bows and such, and that's from all the way back to MM1.
Not in term of shooting speed - that's why blasters are superior to artifacts/relics (unless your attack button will "jam" when you are shooting with bows ;) ).

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-18 21:41 wrote:
From what I hear, the HoMM1 manual does state that it includes sci-fi elements. The fact that NWC made King's Bounty into a MM game doesn't mean that they didn't want it to be Science Fantasy. Quite the opposite - they simply didn't have a chance to include the elements, and when they finally realised that, it was too late.

hellegennes at 2011-07-18 20:46 wrote:
@XELL:

The Eye of Goros, Ironfist, etc are just self-references for the amusement of the designers and the fans they sought to attract from the MM fanbase. These are not the same items/people from previous MM games. And we talked about the Kreegans. Heroes' Kreegans look nothing like the MM Kreegans and all the units are taken from a Dante's depiction of hell. Though these are supposed to be the same race, unlike previous references, like Crag Hack, etc., they were created to fit in the fantasy style of Heroes and no scifi traits can be seen.

Not that if they would mention that Kreegans were aliens would make that scifi unless we could see spaceships and tech stuff we see in the MM games. There was nothing like that in Heroes. Following the same logic we could easily argue that Lord of the Rings is scifi as well.

XEL II at 2011-07-18 20:25 wrote:
Actually, there were implications and references to sci-fi background in HoMM, those are the Eye of Goros, the Kreegan (7th leve of Inferno) and mention of the Silence. Even if sci-fi wasn't overt in HoMM, this spin off is still part of MM unvierse, which is sci-fi in a nutshell.

"Corak was here" in King's Bounty is just an easter egg (there was one about King's Bounty somewhere in WoX, too), this games is not part of MM series.

hatsforclowns at 2011-07-18 20:01 wrote:
>>I use witchpunk for my own style of fantasy. Magic is purely scientific and just another form of technology, like any other, as opposed to an arbitrary or supernatural concept.<<

But then it's not magic...

I mean you can quantify it and have rules for it, but in the end it's either unexplained, and thus magic, and not another form of tech, or has some sort of technobabble behind it and it's not magic, but some sort of side effect of science, or genes, or a wish machine at the centre of the planet etc... and thus not actual magic.

That's a pretty dysmal and boring view of magic...and I guess that also makes gravity magic. Not to mention that not too long ago even electricity was magic.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-18 19:54 wrote:
>>I use witchpunk for my own style of fantasy. Magic is purely scientific and just another form of technology, like any other, as opposed to an arbitrary or supernatural concept.<<

But then it's not magic...

I mean you can quantify it and have rules for it, but in the end it's either unexplained, and thus magic, and not another form of tech, or has some sort of technobabble behind it and it's not magic, but some sort of side effect of science, or genes, or a wish machine at the centre of the planet etc... and thus not actual magic.

Corlagon at 2011-07-18 19:49 wrote:
So, until the forge, there wasn't anything in the Heroes universe to imply a sci-fi background, other than that it's counterpart RPG series was one. Again, Heroes is not a spin-off, it's a sequel to King's Bounty. Hence it never had a scifi background to say "remained".

Well, Corak was mentioned in King's Bounty, so in theory it had the sci-fi too.

hatsforclowns at 2011-07-18 19:41 wrote:
I use witchpunk for my own style of fantasy. Magic is purely scientific and just another form of technology, like any other, as opposed to an arbitrary or supernatural concept.

Similar to steampunk, but instead of steam it is magic that is the technology that the world has developed around. It is primarily fantasy, but it also has heavy elements of science fiction similar to Might & Magic. So, a fictional fantasy setting, where magic and fantasy elements are scientific , and with science fiction elements.

I don't know what to call the MM style, though: a fictional setting, where magic and fantasy elements are supernatural , and with science fiction elements.

Nor the other way around, science fiction with elements of fantasy.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-18 18:47 wrote:
Anyway, the lore doesn't change if some people don't know it. Migth and Magic remained a sci-fi (science fantasy by sub-genre) universe regardless of the opinion of people who were against Forge.

Frankly i think a new genre is needed for science is magic type settings, as SF is actually meant to be based on actual physical possibilities.

hellegennes at 2011-07-18 18:34 wrote:
What do you mean "remained"? When was Heroes a sci-fi series? Sure, MM was, but Heroes was not literally part of the series until they decided to link the two series.

So, why did Heroes had "of Might and Magic" and why did they interlink the two franchises? Well, sales! By putting the "of Might and Magic", NWC ensured that there would be added publicity and they could draw from their already established fanbase, much more than if they used "King's Bounty 2", which is what Heroes essentially was. After the extreme success the first two games in the series had, and after so many years without a sequel to their MM franchise, they thought it would be a good idea to interlink the plot between the two series, so this time MM6 would draw from the fanbase of Heroes. I am one of these people actually, because the first time I heard about MM was the ad-in-my-face right in there, in Heroes' II Main Menu. After MM6, I played all the previous ones as well.

So, until the forge, there wasn't anything in the Heroes universe to imply a sci-fi background, other than that it's counterpart RPG series was one. Again, Heroes is not a spin-off, it's a sequel to King's Bounty. Hence it never had a scifi background to say "remained".

XEL II at 2011-07-18 18:17 wrote:
Anyway, the lore doesn't change if some people don't know it. Migth and Magic remained a sci-fi (science fantasy by sub-genre) universe regardless of the opinion of people who were against Forge.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-18 18:09 wrote:
But that has nothing to do with what the fans thought of Forge...
"Fans" (most of them) who voiced against Forge thought its concept was alien to the series.

Yeah, I forgot about that Fulton's answer. Still, dumb ignorance of those "fans" doesn't mean that Forge and sci-fi is something wrong in MM and HoMM. Those people's lack of knowledge on the game world's lore is their problem, not the game world's.

And as it's their money the devs want it's also the devs problem... that's what i was saying.


And lets face it, the people who defend Forge are in a minority, and those that don't care weren't going to be lost sales either way...

hellegennes at 2011-07-18 14:15 wrote:
These are still your views; you haven't proved that it's what the majority feels. And please try not to confuse yourself about who said what. You seem to be answering to Jeff's words as if it were me that have said them.

And if you feel so strongly about objectiveness, I should ask you why was Equilibris not embraced that much by fans as was Wake of Gods. One of two things is happening here: either there is a standard and objective way in creating a game/mod/whatever and you are not good at it, hence that deprives you of the right to be so extremely critical or there is not a standard way to produce something good, and good is a subjective thing in the quality of art. Choose what you like.

Dalai at 2011-07-18 09:50 wrote:
I didn't say you've said that.
Then explain your quote: "Dalai, I fail to see how is it possible to think that there is an unquestionable, standard and objective way to create a game."

You implied smart AI, etc, and I am telling you it was nothing but a stupid, cheating routine and that you even compare that to modern games makes you 100% subjective.
Which of those games you did play to say that?

Your idea of the game is not universal, try and accept this. It's irritating that you are passing your views are objective.
I'm not discussing any of this. It seems you're talking to someone else.

For you not to try so hard to invent my views, I gave you the simple, direct and concrete example: "Really, can you see any real difference between Architect in H6 and Governor in H4? Any added complexity and depth? If you can - please enlighten me. If you can't - compare the implementation." But for some reasons you prefer to ignore it.

And I'd pay money without hesitation to let you, and we'd see if you could've made a bigger difference in the same position.
From what you say, you think I want to judge those prime-fans? No, that is not my intent. I can guess you are one of them, and you managed to achieve less than you wished. If true, you are also under NDA and I'm not going to ask you any sensitive information. Although I wonder what is the overall feeling after taking part in this "advisory process" - is it pride? disappointment? disgust?

In this process only Ubihole had freedom and only they are accountable for everything. Blaming fans, testers, translators, etc. is just counterproductive and stupid. I hope we're on the same page here.

What is interesting for me is what ideas were discussed, how Ubihole reacted, how they moderated the discussion (where they drove it). How deep ideas were considered, how they were compared and selected for implementation. I very much want to know if there was some initial frame with a limited set of the most important decisions (examples: heroes walk only with creatures, creatures grow weekly, battle has classical rounds, no creature crosses battlefield in more than 3 turns, no magic allows sprite-zombi type of exploit, AI can use everything that is available to human player, etc), which defined decisions on different lesser issues. I wonder if this frame was bended to accept some promising features, etc.

As far as I can see there was either no frame or a frame with too little important decisions and limitations. Because right now decisions seem to be contradicting each other and greatly limiting strategic part of the game.

You cannot just listen to all opinions.
Of course you can! Listening and implementing are two different things.

You cannot even quantify which decisions are going to have a negative or positive impact, even if it is the wish of the majority.
Of course you can! Simple example - NWC was asked about adding another faction into H4 A LOT. But he faction structure is one of the key elements of game's design. So it was never implemented, regardless of the number of requests.

If you know what you do and why - this is fairly simple. But you have to know WHY.

For example, I'll never stop criticizing invincible heroes inflicting direct damage in H5 and H6. Because the only answer to WHY question is "so that might hero doesn't just idly watch a battle, while magic hero actively participates in it." It is a "solution" to bad design - design should be changed, not just covered with "solution" like that. H6 has made a step forward, but it remains to be seen if it's in right direction.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-18 07:33 wrote:
But you never even saw anything but a few concept drawings! How can you say it would have had a jarring transition? Plus, if you say that blasters are overpowered, you're clearly doing something wrong. They were always worse than artifact/relic bows and such, and that's from all the way back to MM1.
Tale at 2011-07-17 22:30 wrote:
XEL II said: "The fanbase isn't just some collective consciousness, it consists of individuals, each with their own opinion. There is no way in the world to know for sure what exactly all the 750000 or the majority of them thought about the Forge."

XEL II said: "Still, dumb ignorance of those "fans" doesn't mean that Forge and sci-fi is something wrong in MM and HoMM. Those people's lack of knowledge on the game world's lore is their problem, not the game world's."

XEL II said: "And all you Forge-haters prefer to see only negative views on the Forge, as if there were no one who actually liked the idea....My main point is not about that, but that those people's ignorant defiance of Forge doesn't make this concept anything wrong to the series. NWC said this outright even after the cancellation."

XEL II said: "And, of course, even considering that someone didn't like Forge, that doesn't make it anything wrong in the game world, that they didm't like it is those idiots' problem, their ignorance doesn't define Might and Magic world."

So, first you say that the community isn't one giant collection of consciousness. Everyone has their own individual opinions and there's no way to be certain of what every single fan believed about the Forge. I agree.

Then you say that ALL Forge-haters are ignorant idiots who only want to see the negative views of the Forge and they don't define the Might and Magic world. Oh, and they're not actually fans of the series because of it. Hypocritical, aren't we?

I like all the MM games I've played and I dislike the Forge and the Forge concept. As I said in that previous thread, I fully agree that it COULD have been good, but they massively overdid it and as a result I think it had no place in the game. Incidentally, I feel the same way with it in the MM world, like in MM 6 where you play what seems like a purely fantasy game for 80% of it, only to go into a giant computer chamber and be given laser guns that are a million times better than any weapon you have. These feelings are not stated as outright defiance for the concept. They're stated as me saying, even though I don't like it, the Forge could work and the science-fiction could fit, BUT they need to transition better to not be as jarring, out of place, and overpowered as they were.

Does this make me an ignorant idiot who is somehow less of a fan than you are? I don't think so, no more than it makes you an ignorant idiot who is somehow less of a fan than disagreeing with me. So hey, could we please not call each other idiots and ignorant on these boards? Thanks.
Edited on Sun, Jul 17 2011, 18:46 by Tale

Corlagon at 2011-07-17 22:11 wrote:
Maybe I should have added a clause to the article saying "please don't quarrel about the Forge, we've all heard it all before" :P

hatsforclowns at 2011-07-17 21:59 wrote:
10,000 pleased and 2,000 displeased makes more sense.

hellegennes at 2011-07-17 21:54 wrote:
@GreatEmerald:
Yes, I accidentally did that. I initially wrote 1% and 1 positive letter, then changed it to these numbers. I've been meaning to write 0.1%, 1 positive letter and 1000 fans but I added the 0 to the wrong figure. Sorry.

@hatsforclowns:
That's exactly what I've been hearing for the past 15 years.
Edited on Sun, Jul 17 2011, 17:55 by hellegennes

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-17 21:21 wrote:
Let's say these are 0.1 and 10 percent, respectively. If you get 10 positive and 200 negative letters, that means you have 100 pleased and 2000 displeased fans.

Wouldn't that be 10000 pleased and 2000 displeased?

hatsforclowns at 2011-07-17 20:25 wrote:
As graphical complexity and graphical development has increased exponentially, actual gameplay, story, content, replay value, all the good stuff, has decreased exponentially.

Face it, we live in an era of graphiXXX.

Occasionally you get a good game, and you can only hope that they don't ruin it. If it's indie, commercial or free/mod, you can only hope they aren't swallow whole by the industry.

It's a good thing there is nothing stopping me from playing all the good old games. Better yet, though the gaming industry has a chokehold on the gaming art, a lot of gamers -- young and old -- are getting tired of the bullshit. Creating their own games, realising the own dreams, materialising their passion.

" The gamers of the world have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Gamers of all countries: Unite! "

hellegennes at 2011-07-17 19:45 wrote:
@XELL:

So, what? You can't change the fans, you can only change the game. It's for them you are making it in the first place.

@GreatEmerald:

Surely people ***** about easily on the Internet, but only really displeased people would bother to communicate directly with the creators to persuade them down any specific path. These percentages are statistically measured, ie it's known what percentage of the pleased fans will personally express their gratitude and what is the respective percentage for the displeased fans. Let's say these are 0.1 and 10 percent, respectively. If you get 10 positive and 200 negative letters, that means you have 100 pleased and 2000 displeased fans. Of course, the percentages are fictional but I believe what I am trying to say is clear.

XEL II at 2011-07-17 13:11 wrote:
But that has nothing to do with what the fans thought of Forge...
"Fans" (most of them) who voiced against Forge thought its concept was alien to the series.

Yeah, I forgot about that Fulton's answer. Still, dumb ignorance of those "fans" doesn't mean that Forge and sci-fi is something wrong in MM and HoMM. Those people's lack of knowledge on the game world's lore is their problem, not the game world's.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-17 13:08 wrote:
Oh wow, did we just do a 360 and got back on topic? 8|

I see XEL's point here. Think about internet psychology - how many people complain? How many people defend game ideas? The percent of the former always outweighs the latter. Complaining is pure easier than saying that everything is OK. So it's natural that they got only negative mail. There is little point in sending "The Forge concept is great, carry on" mail, but there is point in sending "The Forge concept is bad, stop doing that". The former won't change much because that was where they were heading either way, and the latter could (and ultimately did) change things.

hellegennes at 2011-07-17 12:58 wrote:
I am not a forge hater either and I love the MM storyline. This isn't a personal view. NWC announced that they would cancel the forge in order to match the views of the fanbase.

No one would take seriously one death threat from a letter. No company would scrap so much work because of a letter. 3DO for one wouldn't have let NWC throw away so much money because of a single death threat. They allowed it because they knew this meant that the fanbase was unhappy, hence bad publicity, discontented fans, lower sales. This is statistics we are talking about. 200 letters is large enough a number. They scrapped the storyline, all the campaigns, the work on the forge, etc.

And, the reason, Fulton gave was not the death threat but "Reason One: As much as I thought the actions of many fans showed a lack of vision and an inherent distrust for a company who have given them hundreds of hours of quality gameplay, I still didn't want to fight our fans. Reason Two: There wasn't enough pro-Forge activity"

This is crystal clear.
Edited on Sun, Jul 17 2011, 08:59 by hellegennes

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-17 12:44 wrote:
But that has nothing to do with what the fans thought of Forge...

XEL II at 2011-07-17 11:26 wrote:
My main point is not about that, but that those people's ignorant defiance of Forge doesn't make this concept anything wrong to the series. NWC said this outright even after the cancellation.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-17 11:22 wrote:
You don't understand, if it was just the death threat and no other negative response i doubt that they would have cancelled it...

And there's also the fact that obviously not enough people liked the concept to defend it hard enough for NWC to take notice...


And i'm not a Forge hater, as a concept it was interesting, and while the creature design was rather weak, so was the one for the Conflux and the neutrals we got with AB.

XEL II at 2011-07-17 11:17 wrote:
But it doesn't mean that many people wouldn't have liked it. As I said, Might and Magic as a whole had many fans. And all you Forge-haters prefer to see only negative views on the Forge, as if there were no one who actually liked the idea. And David Mullich clearly said in one of his interviews that the reason behind the cancellation was the death threat. Not some mythical "majority" of the fans.

And, of course, even considering that someone didn't like Forge, that doesn't make it anything wrong in the game world, that they didm't like it is those idiots' problem, their ignorance doesn't define Might and Magic world.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-17 11:14 wrote:
>> ~200 people is far from the majority of HoMM fans and we simply can't know what all the others though.<<

Except that statistics work pretty well by using a small % of the whole fanbase... and all those incredible negative responses show that enough of the fanbase wouldn't have liked it to matter...

XEL II at 2011-07-17 10:20 wrote:
XELL, I've told you before that your reasoning is amiss. Only a small fraction of the fanbase voice their opinion. 200 letters means that probably the majority of the fanbase had a problem with it. In comparison, tell me how many letters did any other company ever receive about a similar matter.
That kind of logic is nonsense. The fanbase isn't just some collective consciousness, it consists of individuals, each with their own opinion. There is no way in the world to know for sure what exactly all the 750000 or the majority of them thought about the Forge. Those ~200 letters is especially nonsensical thing to conclude on the pinions of thousands of people around the world.

And, face it, HoMM (the original, HoMM 1-4) is part of the original MM universe, that means that story-wise and conceptually sci-fi is not an alien thing to it. NWC said so (see the last two answers in Fulton's FAQ) even after the Forge was cancelled. Forge was actually pretty neatly fitted into the AB storyline, and we didn't even got to see this town in-game.

P.S. As for the devil Kreegans, HoMM wasn't avoiding their sci-fi backstory, there just was no need to elaborate on it further, since the storyline of specific games didn't majorily concerned it. If you compare Kreegan's (i.e. 7th level Inferno creature in HoMM3, "Devil" mobs in MM 6-7 and 4th leve Necropolis creature in HoMM4) game models there are many similarities between them (legs, overall complexion, burning after death, horn/spikes, eyes glowing) and the Kreegan are called devils and demons in HoMM3 just the same way they're called that in MM 6-7 - by the colonists who didn't know their backstory. Kreegans are Kreegans, whether in MM or HoMM.

P.P.S. About "other companies". Many video game companies receive thousands of e-mails and letters about their products, both negative and positive. Not all fanbase voices their opinions, but "not all" is not "small faction" or just couple hundreds of all.

hellegennes at 2011-07-17 02:12 wrote:
XELL, I've told you before that your reasoning is amiss. Only a small fraction of the fanbase voice their opinion. 200 letters means that probably the majority of the fanbase had a problem with it. In comparison, tell me how many letters did any other company ever receive about a similar matter.

XEL II at 2011-07-16 23:18 wrote:
The major element of AB had to be cancelled because most fans hated even the idea (I mean the Forge).
That "most fans hated the Forge" myth is totally crap. 3DO received around 200 letters overall, while HoMM III sold 750,000 copies. Even after the cancellation NWC didn't think that AB would have been boycoutted. ~200 people is far from the majority of HoMM fans and we simply can't know what all the others though. Also, don't forget that MM as a whole (including the core RPG series) had many fans, who wouldn't complain about the Forge because they knew the storyline.

The main reason Forge was cancelled was the death threats Greg Fulton received.

jeff at 2011-07-16 16:54 wrote:
You cannot just listen to all opinions. You cannot even quantify which decisions are going to have a negative or positive impact, even if it is the wish of the majority.

I basically said that and agree, the problem is as with Fabrice's comments on the editor is when a company has asked and then says or pretends they didn't hear.

hellegennes at 2011-07-16 16:23 wrote:
You cannot just listen to all opinions. You cannot even quantify which decisions are going to have a negative or positive impact, even if it is the wish of the majority.

That NWC designers were some kind of wisemen which all of their decisions were good and balanced, is totally crap. The major element of AB had to be cancelled because most fans hated even the idea (I mean the Forge). Then, most of their decisions for H4 were heavily criticised. How can you distinguish which fan opinions have to be heard and which have to be not? Well, you can only trust your gut and your personal views and hope they are a match which what the majority will perceive as a good game. There's really no other way. Computer gaming is not a science, it's an art.

jeff at 2011-07-16 15:25 wrote:
They had some special group of "close circle fans" who could see the development process on early stages, criticize it and offer ideas. I would pay money without hesitation to see what they actually criticized and offered to add or change. I wish someone would save those closed forum threads and publish them after NDA is over.

And I'd pay money without hesitation to let you, and we'd see if you could've made a bigger difference in the same position.

I may be wrong but I think his point was, were the ideas and criticisms acted on or was the development predetermined with little actually open for discussion. UBI solicited fan input prior to H-V and to be fair was swamped by the fans. However that created an expectation that could not be met. This was highlight when Fabrice commented around the time Tribes was released that he didn’t realize that fans were unhappy with the editor. So UBI has a history of asking and then ignoring or not listening to the inputs given them. I realize that as choices are made some fans will be unhappy.

Corlagon at 2011-07-16 13:37 wrote:
They had some special group of "close circle fans" who could see the development process on early stages, criticize it and offer ideas. I would pay money without hesitation to see what they actually criticized and offered to add or change. I wish someone would save those closed forum threads and publish them after NDA is over.

And I'd pay money without hesitation to let you, and we'd see if you could've made a bigger difference in the same position.

hellegennes at 2011-07-16 11:45 wrote:
I didn't say you've said that. You implied smart AI, etc, and I am telling you it was nothing but a stupid, cheating routine and that you even compare that to modern games makes you 100% subjective.

Your idea of the game is not universal, try and accept this. It's irritating that you are passing your views are objective.

Dalai at 2011-07-16 11:21 wrote:
Forum? There are bugtrackers for that!
I'm not really interested in bugtrackers. Is there an ideatracker?

I wonder, did they actually discuss the town conversion idea? What were the pro and against arguments, and by whom? Did it require to change something else or was it a single independent decision? Questions like that on all old and new stuff.

Dalai, I fail to see how is it possible to think that there is an unquestionable, standard and objective way to create a game. You are discussing 100% subjective matters as if they were 100% objective, like "add to gameplay", "achieve goal", etc.
Of course you fail to see something from my posts which is not there, because you just attributed some random ideas to me.

I insist on you quoting my post where I proclaim "an unquestionable, standard and objective way to create a game."

Anyway, we strayed too much off-topic and if anything you are only reinforcing what I said about being subjective because of nostalgia. If you are comparing today's complex AI with the primitive cheating dumb-machine, what else can I say?
I never said anything about "primitive cheating dumb-machine", sorry. This is just another example of a random idea you attributed to me. Please read my posts before you hit reply button.

hellegennes at 2011-07-16 02:36 wrote:
Dalai, I fail to see how is it possible to think that there is an unquestionable, standard and objective way to create a game. You are discussing 100% subjective matters as if they were 100% objective, like "add to gameplay", "achieve goal", etc.

Anyway, we strayed too much off-topic and if anything you are only reinforcing what I said about being subjective because of nostalgia. If you are comparing today's complex AI with the primitive cheating dumb-machine, what else can I say?

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-15 22:00 wrote:
They had some special group of "close circle fans" who could see the development process on early stages, criticize it and offer ideas. I would pay money without hesitation to see what they actually criticized and offered to add or change. I wish someone would save those closed forum threads and publish them after NDA is over.

Forum? There are bugtrackers for that! :disagree:

Dalai at 2011-07-15 21:37 wrote:
Excuse me, but was any of you born before the 90's?
If I was born before 80's - can we go on?

Because, as I recall, the majority of games before the mid 90's were simplistic arcade, platform and action games that required only reflexes and infinite patience. How much did Space Invaders required you to think?
You recall wrong. How about open ended game where you could fight, trade, choose sides, travel in universe with more than 2000 locations (per config, and there were 256 configs)? Modern analog. The game was released in 1982 (!). I hope you guessed this truly genius game. I devoted countless hours to this 48kb (!!!) masterpiece. This forum thread weights more! I had Deadly rating, acquired Cloaking Device, saved people from Super-Nova, fought Targons in sub-space. There were several real hard-cover books inspired by the game. Space Invaders? Really?

Another example - Laser Squad. The most "recent" analog I know of - Incubation. Tactical game, where you have to think about every move of your several team members, every turn, every clip, every grade of bulletproof vest. You have to consider explosive stuff around you, action points to close doors, weapon range, etc. Again, 48kb. Very smart AI. Impossible today, for some obscure reason.

One more example - Nether Earth. Absolutely mind blowing strategic and tactical game. No analogs whatsoever. Only one relatively modern allusion - some ground missions in Space Rangers.


As for you Dalai, you are still trying to pass your opinion as common sense. It's one thing to say that you dislike A and B and another to say it's wrong by some mathematical logic. That you also fail to prove, by the way. For example:
"2 clicks are better than 5. Done"
Heroes 3 took Heroes' 1 click and made it 20. So this is just nonsense. Making something more complicated and longer cannot be dubbed bad or good. There are just levels of complications that work and others that don't.

If complications are not mentioned - it is implied there are none. I thought it was obvious. But if you want it explicit - here you are: 2 Clicks are better than 5 to achieve the same goal, all other things being equal. QED.

Really, can you see any real difference between Architect in H6 and Governor in H4? Any added complexity and depth? If you can - please enlighten me. If you can't - compare the implementation.

You CAN'T really tell until you try. The designers of Heroes 3 made decisions A, B and C. All of them complicated the game. Was Heroes 3 a perfect balance? Did it hold any more intricacy? Well, first is a no and second is a yes. Of course you can add. I still like H2 and H4 more than H3. But that's just my opinion.
In many cases I can. I gave you an example, too bad you failed to see it.


I'm really amazed, these guys had all the possible resources in the world - time, money, brains. They could hire any talent and get a lot of free help. And they did... this.

They had some special group of "close circle fans" who could see the development process on early stages, criticize it and offer ideas. I would pay money without hesitation to see what they actually criticized and offered to add or change. I wish someone would save those closed forum threads and publish them after NDA is over.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-15 20:34 wrote:
>>So economically it makes less sense to invest in the games such as a MM.<<


Never said it wasn't, just that your analysis why is wrong.


Because, as I recall, the majority of games before the mid 90's were simplistic arcade, platform and action games that required only reflexes and infinite patience. How much did Space Invaders required you to think?

Yeah, in the arcades and on consoles... that is why we're the PC Elitist Master Race...

jeff at 2011-07-15 20:17 wrote:
Excuse me, but was any of you born before the 90's? Because, as I recall, the majority of games before the mid 90's were simplistic arcade, platform and action games that required only reflexes and infinite patience. How much did Space Invaders required you to think?


I was born long before the 90's, and most games were arcade like Space Invaders. My comment is the tendency right now is in the Space Invaders direction. Instead of investing in a good AI, they just speed up the clock. Ok that is being simplistic. While Space invaders and its clones were fine on the Atari, Intellivision, Genesis etc. I had my share of those. I tended to play games like Starflight, Phantasy Star, the Wizardry series (that took a lot of thinking) the Gold Boxes and of course the MMs. So yeah, I do complain about the quality of games and why not? I play only turn based, really not into trying to out react the computer, and I dearly want to see another Wizardry or MM RPG. So my comments are on topic as the lack of these type of titles particularly in the MM universe do cause tears in the rain. :cry:

hellegennes at 2011-07-15 04:02 wrote:
Excuse me, but was any of you born before the 90's? Because, as I recall, the majority of games before the mid 90's were simplistic arcade, platform and action games that required only reflexes and infinite patience. How much did Space Invaders required you to think?

The truth is, some products are good and some are bad. The characteristics "old" and "new" have nothing to do with it. For one, they only apply to people of your age; what is old already for you, is pretty new for older people and what is still new for you, is old for younger people.
I remember people complaining in the mid 90's for the quality of games.

As for you Dalai, you are still trying to pass your opinion as common sense. It's one thing to say that you dislike A and B and another to say it's wrong by some mathematical logic. That you also fail to prove, by the way. For example:

"2 clicks are better than 5. Done"

Heroes 3 took Heroes' 1 click and made it 20. So this is just nonsense. Making something more complicated and longer cannot be dubbed bad or good. There are just levels of complications that work and others that don't. You CAN'T really tell until you try. The designers of Heroes 3 made decisions A, B and C. All of them complicated the game. Was Heroes 3 a perfect balance? Did it hold any more intricacy? Well, first is a no and second is a yes. Of course you can add. I still like H2 and H4 more than H3. But that's just my opinion.

#Jeff Said:
"Sounds like a good mathematical theorem for all forums".

I actually devised it when I was a moderator in a forum. A 100-word starting post would stay on topic with 10 answers but stray off-topic after that. While a 10-word starting post would stray off-topic after 3 posts. Also the number of pages the topic reaches is inversely proportional to the cube of the length of the starting post :p
Of course, for Celestial Heavens you can change "words" for "lines". For example, this topic had an expiry count of 23 posts, though it lasted for a whole 30 :p

jeff at 2011-07-14 21:13 wrote:
What is equally true is the many of the younger gamers don't what the mental challenge that the older gamers preferred. They would rather run and gun.

WRONG!!!!

What has really changed is that more and more people have started gaming, so the ones that prefer thinking games are a smaller % now... gaming has just gone mainstream.

So economically it makes less sense to invest in the games such as a MM.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-14 19:21 wrote:
That doesn't mean we are wrong, in many cases the old is better. What is equally true is the many of the younger gamers don't what the mental challenge that the older gamers preferred. They would rather run and gun.

While that might be true, there is always a reason for change. This issue is very much similar tot he literature/movies situation I wrote about on my website. So I''l rephrase what I wrote there: the fact that they are popular means that people are changing. They probably have too much work as it is and simply prefer light entertainment that doesn't tax them any more. While you might want to believe that people are just getting dumber, the history of mankind suggests otherwise.

Dalai at 2011-07-14 19:04 wrote:
Tell that to SC players...
Actually, as far as I can see, same things in SC2 require some less action than in SC1. You save clicks on unlimited groups, shortcuts for units in heterogeneous groups, to name a few off the top of my head.

What has really changed is that more and more people have started gaming, so the ones that prefer thinking games are a smaller % now... gaming has just gone mainstream.
I agree. That's why sales figures are not as representative as some people claim them to be. But it does not mean that "good game design" today is any different than it was yesterday. It just means that the audience is more forgiving.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-14 18:48 wrote:
What is equally true is the many of the younger gamers don't what the mental challenge that the older gamers preferred. They would rather run and gun.

WRONG!!!!

What has really changed is that more and more people have started gaming, so the ones that prefer thinking games are a smaller % now... gaming has just gone mainstream.

jeff at 2011-07-14 17:03 wrote:
hence the references to other media- is hidden inside the word you used: "Old". As we grow older, we inevitably get the feeling that everything was better before.

That doesn't mean we are wrong, in many cases the old is better. What is equally true is the many of the younger gamers don't what the mental challenge that the older gamers preferred. They would rather run and gun.

Off-topicness is directly proportional to the square of the number of posts and inversely proportional of the original topic's length.

Sounds like a good mathematical theorem for all forums. :D

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-14 15:09 wrote:
>>@TT:
It's better that they don't learn what tvtropes is. Because a) TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life and b) TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Vocabulary (not to mention you are likely to be fired or quit school -if underage).<<

If i'm going down i'm taking them all with me...



Yes, I can. 2 clicks are better than 5. Done.

Tell that to SC players...

Dalai at 2011-07-14 13:50 wrote:
That's just your opinion.
That's what you want it to be to be able to dismiss it freely.

When I say "Simultaneous retaliations are better than consecutive ones" - that's opinion. When I say that "This goal can be achieved in 2 clicks total and Ubihole makes it in 5 clicks every week + 2 minutes of dull watching of some repetitive activities on the screen" - that's a fact. When I say "It's not some sacred knowledge only I possess, it has been done in this very same series. If Ubihole knows about it and still ignores it - they are working against success of the product which is not smart at all. If they don't know about it - they are lazy and arrogant". And that too would be a fact.

You love Heroes 4, as far as I remember while the majority of the fanbase had, at best, mixed feelings (AI aside).
It's not about Heroes 4. It's about not understanding why something was or wasn't done. When you do this - you are doomed to make same mistakes over and over. And you're doomed to never make the next step (aside from changing DirectX number in prerequisites).

You can't mathematically prove that A works and B doesn't.
Yes, I can. 2 clicks are better than 5. Done.

Many viable strategies are better than few. Ubihole decisions are cutting out whole sets of strategies. This is very poor-minded. And bad for game which used to be strategy long ago. Done.

Want to know why? We can discuss any major changes. I'm sure you like the one I mentioned above - town transforming to your alignment. Do you comprehend the consequences? And more importantly - do developers? How can anyone in his sound mind think, that NWC did not think about it? And if they did - WHY did they leave this "killer feature" out? There is a number of good reasons for that, I can assure you. Too bad Ubihole does not even try to think about them.

When something doesn't work, in science, you fix everything and change one thing at a time. In games you can't produce 1 million different versions to improve upon technicalities. Neither most of these things are quantifiable.
That's why we are not talking about all the million stuff. There is a lot of quantifiable stuff.

If the end product is successful, you try and keep the good stuff. But what is good and what is not is rarely a simple matter. Some things seem insignificant and no one points them out but they turn out to be instrumental
And just for the reasons you provided above it is impossible to say which features exactly are good. It may seem that, for example, "5 stacks in the army" are great. But it can be too shallow - really great are "5 stacks in army AND 7 stacks in town". "9 stacks in town" could make "5 stacks in the army" intolerable. Some features out of context are plain stupid. "Hero inflicting direct damage to enemy stacks on battlefield" is NOT great. Great is "hero inflicting direct damage to enemy stacks AND being vulnerable to direct attacks".

For example, I liked H5 but felt it wasn't enjoyable enough because town building was given too much attention, which was one of the things they thought they had to focus on. True, town building was a successful element of previous games but it turned out it didn't need to have the focus because now it made the game slow. H4 focused on heroes and that had a controversial response. You can never tell where to focus and how much improvement fits in a concept until you implement it.
Yes, I can. Concrete example from H5 - the idea of hero trail which can be spotted by opponent and provide scouting information. Right after it was announced I criticized it sharply. Of course, Ubival knew better. They spend months and finally they did implement it in their development build. And it did suck exactly as I described an hour after announcement.

I'm not even trying to talk about some strategic insights, I usually keep this kind of stuff to myself. I'm not talking about AI which I personally would start working on from DAY ONE if I were responsible for a game. What I'm talking about is avoiding obviously shallow and stupid decisions. It's cheaper to assume that your predecessors were not stupid and learn from them than do all the obvious blunders over and over and insist on millions fans suffer.

Also sales say a lot about the opinion of the majority.
A lot. But not everything. About the opinion of the majority at the exact moment of buying the game.

Dungeon Keeper and Neverhood would lose badly to any modern 3-rd rate game if you look at sales alone. I wish we could measure average (mean, maximum) time spent playing the game, for example. Some people play H3 for more than 10 years. Same about Starcraft.

hellegennes at 2011-07-14 13:08 wrote:
Off-topicness is directly proportional to the square of the number of posts and inversely proportional of the original topic's length.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-14 07:07 wrote:
Except when TVTropes Will Enhance Your Life.

You can't say that there aren't reasons for not liking the recent titles. There are a plenty. But of course that doesn't mean that those who do like them are wrong. It's basically a subject of taste.

Also, wow, how did we get that far off topic?

hellegennes at 2011-07-14 01:52 wrote:
Jeff,

Majority can not really be measured by personal accounts. But you can certainly see it reflected in reviews and by averaging them you have what you are looking for. Also sales say a lot about the opinion of the majority.

Part of the reason you dislike where the series is headed -hence the references to other media- is hidden inside the word you used: "Old". As we grow older, we inevitably get the feeling that everything was better before. Not because we lose our grip to reality or the ability to critically judge. It's just something you can't help. It's a mind trick. Similarly, new fans that are now, say, 15 years old will probably say the same things in like 15 years time, when Heroes XII will be out.

Of course, there will still be other reasons not to like a future title, but perception is seriously damaged in terms of objectiveness. Only someone who has never played both titles before can objectively be the judge.

jeff at 2011-07-13 23:36 wrote:
That's just your opinion.
We all have them.

You love Heroes 4, as far as I remember while the majority of the fanbase had, at best, mixed feelings (AI aside).

Perhaps, but it wasn't much of a majority. There are many (not necessarily a majority) of us that still prefer it to H-V. If H-VI is not much better then I'll still prefer H-IV to H-VI. But again so, if UBI makes the decision that from a marketing view they are on the right track and it makes them money then they made the right economic decision. I am an old fan (both meanings of old), and I have come to realize UBI and its decisions have moved in a direction that many here prefer, and that is fair enough. It has also made me realize my time participating in the Heroes community is rapidly coming to an end as their direction is not a path I chose to travel. I just hope that the series continues and people will enjoy playing it.

hellegennes at 2011-07-13 23:23 wrote:
@TT:

It's better that they don't learn what tvtropes is. Because a) TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life and b) TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Vocabulary (not to mention you are likely to be fired or quit school -if underage).

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-13 18:50 wrote:
Guys, that post was about Doctor Who... that's why he said "oooold" (the show first aired in 1962).

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-13 18:12 wrote:
In games you can't produce 1 million different versions to improve upon technicalities.

Actually, you can, it's called configuration. But it will likely not work online or be forced to accept the server rules.

hellegennes at 2011-07-13 17:55 wrote:
That's just your opinion. You love Heroes 4, as far as I remember while the majority of the fanbase had, at best, mixed feelings (AI aside). You can't mathematically prove that A works and B doesn't. When something doesn't work, in science, you fix everything and change one thing at a time. In games you can't produce 1 million different versions to improve upon technicalities. Neither most of these things are quantifiable. If the end product is successful, you try and keep the good stuff. But what is good and what is not is rarely a simple matter. Some things seem insignificant and no one points them out but they turn out to be instrumental. For example, I liked H5 but felt it wasn't enjoyable enough because town building was given too much attention, which was one of the things they thought they had to focus on. True, town building was a successful element of previous games but it turned out it didn't need to have the focus because now it made the game slow. H4 focused on heroes and that had a controversial response. You can never tell where to focus and how much improvement fits in a concept until you implement it.

Dalai at 2011-07-13 08:54 wrote:
@TT:
<br>No, no, no and no. It's definitely: They Changed It, Now It Sucks. That's what most old fans believe, anyways. When I say old, I mean oooold.<br>Edited on Tue, Jul 12 2011, 16:47 by hellegennes

That's just not true. Old successful games have their flaws and their merits. Developer of the new title has AT LEAST to understand, which is which. Very easy - add "why" whenever possible: "WHY They Changed It?" "WHY It Sucks Now?"

For example, caravans are very easy to improve. But... oops. Next time. Maybe. Or maybe not.

Another example - Architect skill. I can prove as easy as 2*2=4 that the skill is poor-minded, lacking imagination, adding to micromanagement and subtracting from enjoyable gameplay.

These are small and simple things. Converting towns is a bigger one. Developers (game designers, to be precise) have to understand how it is connected with the concept of "single army vs. multiple armies". Which in turn is connected to map sizes and adventure map spell selection. And caravans too, btw. But do they? Judging from beta - I strongly doubt this.

It's very easy to see once you understand, WHY EXACTLY some thing were done the way they were done. By someone who has the most extensive experience. But this developer, just exactly as the previous one, prefers to ignore it completely and start collecting all the known terrible blunders from scratch. With this approach - yes, it will definitely suck. Sorry, you cant have less experience, be unwilling to learn from giants and create a better product at the same time.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-12 21:48 wrote:
>>No, no, no and no. It's definitely: They Changed It, Now It Sucks.<<

That's one of the cornerstones of the unpleasable fanbase... and once it's so old there are like at least 10 generations of that one trope already... so mine covers it better.

Also, i love the Zelda quote (at the bottom): http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Quotes/UnpleasableFanbase

hellegennes at 2011-07-12 20:43 wrote:
@TT:
No, no, no and no. It's definitely: They Changed It, Now It Sucks. That's what most old fans believe, anyways. When I say old, I mean oooold.
Edited on Tue, Jul 12 2011, 16:47 by hellegennes

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-12 20:32 wrote:
Btw, Unreal Tournament started in '99 and the last game was out in '07. This is hardly a decade. Expansion packs do not count (they're not new games). Even if you choose Unreal to be the start, despite being a different title, it's still less than a decade between the first and last instalments.

Unreal Tournament 3 Black came out in 2009. So that's a decade either way.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-12 19:32 wrote:
>>Tell that to old Dr. Who fans.<<

That's more of a case of unpleasable fanbase... a Kirk vs. Picard, but with over 10 players to choose from... (man, the 1st ever Dalek episode was better then ST ToS even).

hellegennes at 2011-07-12 18:33 wrote:
Tell that to old Dr. Who fans.

Ok, there are exceptions like Blizzard stuff, but these are not only rare but also extreme. There are very few executives which would allow a team to develop a game for a decade.

Btw, Unreal Tournament started in '99 and the last game was out in '07. This is hardly a decade. Expansion packs do not count (they're not new games). Even if you choose Unreal to be the start, despite being a different title, it's still less than a decade between the first and last instalments.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-12 13:54 wrote:
>> as do fans of every franchise lasting for more than a decade.<<

Dr. Who fans seem to be fine... and i'm sure i could find more examples... rare as they might be.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-12 06:33 wrote:
Unreal Tournament 3 is awesome, and the Unreal franchise has been going since 1998. Of course, some people wouldn't agree, but then some people don't like MM6 as well.

hellegennes at 2011-07-12 00:54 wrote:
Fair point.

Though this holds true for most franchises. I am sure many MM fans would agree to that (especially MM9 was a disappointment, whether it was NWC's fault or 3DO's -doesn't matter). I am sure Alien and Terminator fans feel the same way, as do fans of every franchise lasting for more than a decade.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-11 19:38 wrote:
Ok, now name one they haven't ruined...

hellegennes at 2011-07-10 01:13 wrote:
@TT:

EA has tons of IPs under their banner. Count them:

Fifa and the rest of EA Sports
Need for Speed and Burnout
Sims, Simcity and other Maxis sim games + spore
Wing Commander
Battlefield
Command and Conquer
Harry potter
Medal of Honour
Bioware games (dragon age, mass effect)
Bullfrog IPs which are mostly defunct but EA still has the publishing rights (populous, magic carpet, dungeon keeper, syndicate, theme)

Not to mention a number of other IPs from defunct subsidiaries.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-09 08:09 wrote:
I'm still surprised EA is around... i guess sports game profits make up for a lot...

With their policies, I don't think they will last too long. :disagree:

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-08 21:55 wrote:
>>Who could imagine that a company founded by the founder of EA would fail?<<

I'm still surprised EA is around... i guess sports game profits make up for a lot...

MMXAlamar at 2011-07-08 20:15 wrote:
@Marzhin

The other thing that sucks about LithTech is the lag, not to mention all of the bugs! We're also trying to hunt down the original .ed files for lomm maps that were made and not released with the final version of the game. There are plenty of texture files that are in lomm but not in any of the game maps.

So far we've found a few archived concept drawings by Keith Talanay, one of which he says were concepts for a place in lomm called Dusk Town (which presumably was developed and there might be a map file on someone's hard drive somewhere). Keith says the others are an unnamed lizard warrior ruins, and a Monastery of Legends. There's also a drawing titled Temple of Terror on Keith's portfolio which I think is mislabeled MM8 and was a concept for a dungeon in lomm. There's also a random picture of a treasury that I just found here: http://stareh3.heroes.net.pl/legends/treasury.jpg

Cool stuff that I love talking about! :D

hellegennes at 2011-07-08 10:15 wrote:
@Vicheron:

3DO, despite the failure of their console, wasn't an unreliable company. No one can say Trip Hawkins isn't a guarantee. Who could imagine that a company founded by the founder of EA would fail?

Marzhin at 2011-07-08 07:42 wrote:
@MMXAlamar : great pics, I remember seeing some of those in a magazine a long time ago (the one with the dragon looking down on the heroes for instance).
Too bad the creatures and characters do not look very good in LithTech... The scenery was OK in Legends and MM9, but the characters and animations... yuck.

MMXAlamar at 2011-07-08 01:41 wrote:
Here are some of the rare RPG screen shots from the original LOMM: http://legendsofmightandmagicheadquarter.yuku.com/topic/1986/LoMM-RPG-days

There is actually some more concept art by Keith Talanay depicting a Monastery of Legends and a place called Dusk Town that were planned for the original game.

Also there are 66 fan-made maps for LOMM using a Lithtech editor. Some of them are amazing!

vicheron at 2011-07-07 20:32 wrote:
@ hellegennes

And JVC could have developed a game on his own with the backing of a better publisher.

The failure of the 3DO console was a huge deal. It was one of the biggest flops in gaming history. Having to deal with the company that lost a ton of money due to that failure entailed a much greater risk than finding the support of another publisher and developing a 3D MMORPG on his own.

hellegennes at 2011-07-07 16:48 wrote:
Sure, considering when it was released. But that wasn't what JVC was looking for.

CloudRiderX at 2011-07-07 14:25 wrote:
Neverwinter Night's graphics were not abysmal. The model quality was low for the time of its release, but I think its a worthy trade for a fantastic frame rate, vibrant textures, and great particle effects.

hellegennes at 2011-07-07 10:26 wrote:
@vicheron:

Ahem... Neither of these were 3D and especially Neverwinter Nights had abysmal graphics, reminiscent of the early 80's. JVC was interested in a modern, 3D platform.

vicheron at 2011-07-07 06:06 wrote:
It says why at the start of the article.

Any other publisher could have offered financial backing.

As for 3DO publishing Meridian 59, Ultima Online was being developed at the time, and Neverwinter Nights had already been made.

ThunderTitan at 2011-07-07 05:42 wrote:
MMO's where ruining games even before they where popular...

And why do companies keep doing that "X games every Y months" thing... it's never ended well unless it's a sports game with very little changes between editions (and some FPS's nowadays)...

Corlagon at 2011-07-06 22:28 wrote:
It says why at the start of the article.

vicheron at 2011-07-06 22:19 wrote:
I wonder why JVC chose to sell NWC to 3DO instead of another publisher. Had he never heard of the 3DO console?

lotusreaver at 2011-07-06 20:43 wrote:
A very very good article. The information about M&M X is especially juicy as it sounds like the game would have tied together all the loose plot points in the M&M and Heroes series.

CloudRiderX at 2011-07-06 19:27 wrote:
Wow, I never knew 3DO was such a bunch of morons. Its a shame that NWC's creative capacity was sundered by such a company.

Marzhin at 2011-07-06 18:25 wrote:
Great article Cepheus, you're like the Indiana Jones of Might & Magic :)

Corlagon at 2011-07-06 17:07 wrote:
I certainly didn't mean to insert any snarky subtext there or anything - I was simply using conservative as an antonym to radical. Consistent might indeed have been a better word choice.

JSE at 2011-07-06 16:57 wrote:
***
If the current version of the game is not considered conservative enough by the fanbase, there is at least quite some solace in the fact that things haven't been shaken up beyond recognition.
***

I must say that as a fan of the original Heroes games, I feel quite mocked by the assumption that I would like Heroes 6 to be "conservative". There is a big and important difference between consistency -- which I would like to see -- and coservativeness. Like most fans, I would never want for a new Heroes game to be just a rehash of the originals (that's exactly why I didn't like Heroes 5). Instead, I would like to see the series explore new ways and incorporate new elements (that's why I liked Heroes 4 in spite of its flaws). At the same time, however, I also see the value of consistency: Change doesn't need to be radical, it can be subtle. Furthermore, it's important to keep certain vital elements alive that make up the essence of a series. The only part of that essence I see kept alive in Heroes 6 at this point is the music. Both the art style and the setting have been completely detached from all that was characteristic and specific in the original Heroes games.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-06 12:05 wrote:
I'd be fine if I was inactive here to begin with and/or asked first. :)

Kalah at 2011-07-06 11:58 wrote:
It's first come, first served. How'd you like it if I deleted or changed your account because someone else wanted your nick ...?

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-06 11:27 wrote:
Can't admins do anything about it? Or, of course, update the forums already :D

Corlagon at 2011-07-06 10:14 wrote:
When I tried to join this forum, the "Cepheus" username was already taken.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-06 10:09 wrote:
Why are you Corlagon here and Cepheus there? :P

Corlagon at 2011-07-06 10:02 wrote:
One minor mistake, Darkside of XEEN was released in 1993, not 1995.

Goddammit! I knew I'd get a date wrong :P

Thanks very much to all for the kind comments - if you have any questions about validity, just ask.

GreatEmerald at 2011-07-06 08:51 wrote:
Very interesting read indeed. I never knew the original Forge graphics were discovered and the town is under development. Awesome news.

XEL II at 2011-07-06 05:41 wrote:
One minor mistake, Darkside of XEEN was released in 1993, not 1995. Aside from that, great article.

hellegennes at 2011-07-06 04:54 wrote:
Why make another H3 game? One wasn't enough? And there are a lot of fans which think that H3 was far from perfect. I myself find H2 the best in the series and H4 would had that place had it been complete (let's say one more year of development). Of course I am not the only one with this opinion.
YoshMaster at 2011-07-06 03:49 wrote:
Too bad every publisher and developers always seem to want to "reinvent" what was almost perfected in HOMM3... I just want more of the same really...

jeff at 2011-07-06 01:55 wrote:
I had only seen NWC's H-V Phoenix. Seeing the other drawings show how little the current trend has in common with the past. What may have been.

Ryder at 2011-07-06 00:51 wrote:
Cracking read. Makes me dislike 3DO even more if that was at all possible. Thank god Nival got the flick too from H6.

Bring on MMX would ya!!!

Ya5MieL at 2011-07-06 00:48 wrote:
Indeed. I consider myself quite familiar with M&M, but there is huge amount of new info for me here.

Great job Cepheus!

Eon at 2011-07-06 00:37 wrote:
Excellent article.

Angelspit at 2011-07-06 00:15 wrote:
Wow, this is amazing. I've been following the franchise for years, and many of these facts are new to me. Good work!

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