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Might & Magic Heroes VII Interview With Ubisoft & Limbic Entertainment

by William Schwartz

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We got a chance to sit down with a developer from Limbic Entertainment, Level Designer, Johannes Pfeifer and Might & Magic Heroes creative director, Erwan Le Breton. We asked a few questions about developent, and the future of Might & Magic Heroes in our Might & Magic Heroes VII Interview.

E= Erwan Le Breton, Creative Director @ Ubisoft Paris

J= Johannes Pfeifer, Level Designer @ Limbic Entertainment

Would you guys ever think about bringing the series to consoles?

E: We’ve been discussing a console possibility for a couple of years now. Frankly our own team is not recommending it. We feel it would not be a satisfying console experience. Just porting it would be hard, making a Might & Magic Heroes console version that is designed for consoles would be okay.

Is the Inferno faction going to be included in the final version?

E: You have neutral demons in the core campaign Heroes 7, so you fight demons from time to time but they are considered to be neutral creatures because the overall faction is not present.

J: Which was part of the world, so we just let it up to the fans, so like go for Dungeon or the Inferno faction and they chose against it. So that is why we have some creatures but not the core game.

E: So of course, traditionally Heroes’ games come with (the) original game and have add-ons or extensions that bring new factions. In the world of Might & Magic you have nine factions that are known so-far by the community. Six of them are in Heroes 7, so that gives us three more factions to pick from when we start working on the add-ons.

Are you working on ideas for the Expansions?

E: It’s just the legacy of the series. Unless the game is not successful at all, which we don’t believe, there’s a good chance there will be expansions.

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With the re-release of Might & Magic Heroes III HD, fans considered the lack of a random map generator disappointing. Will Might & Magic Heroes VII feature this?

J: We can’t go into any details or specifics yet but certainly there’s parts that are being discussed and we are thinking how we can address this in a pretty appealing way for the fans.

E: When we said we wanted the best of Heroes and listed the features fans really want in the game, it’ part of it. It’s more like a question with Unreal 3, with the tools we are creating for the development team, will we be able to do something that is great and satisfying. If yes, when will it be ready? Those two questions have no strict answer right now.

AoTF: So it’s being discussed but nothing to announce?

E: Nothing to announce, but we know it is important for the fans and we are talking about it a lot. And not just discussing it, we’re trying to find it doable.

Will Heroes Of Might & Magic VII support the modding community?

E: We are using this engine that’s tried and tested to give the production team. Easy map making tools so it makes development easier, faster. Allows us to focus on the quality and the content rather than on the technical side of it. And from day one we were saying that these tools should be user-friendly enough that we can share them with the community. But again, when will these tools be ready? Even though the production team is using them already, there is another layer to add to it to make it sharable. Our objective is really to give power to the community with the game, part of it is UGC modding etc. it is the same philosophy.

What type of precautions do you plan to have in place to ensure a smooth launch?

J: The Unreal Engine 3 is already the first part, so to say. Technology that is proven to work solid and of course we have our extensions and so forth which is really the first step. Also releasing some information and doing of testing, back and forth, sharing information with the community, (and) working together with them. I think it’s already beneficial there.

E: We also know that iteration and innovation is not our main our key words. (There are) A lot of risks as usual with production and delivering a satisfying experience. So it is more about balance and polish. We will get feedback as soon as possible with the fans, when we start to really get the game into their hands.

AoTF: Is there a closed beta that the community is participating in?

E: There’s nothing again, announced and planned for now. No date has been revealed, but definitely the game will not be launched before, with no one else being able to check it out first.

Might & Magic Heroes is known to have a steeper learning curve than others in its genre. What type of steps are being made to create a more accessible experience, while not alienating the existing fan base?

J: For one we have of course, a tutorial map that you can play, but you don’t have to And with this we have several types of campaigns we have if you are new to the franchise maybe start with the Haven campaign. There you get more like step by step, introduction to several game mechanics and possibilities you have on the map. Whereas Stronghold, which you played now, is really more where you should be already comfortable with the possibilities and tools.

E: Also if you compare your experience in Heores VII with former Heroes games you will notice there are a lot more tooltips and warnings and we call signs and feedback for the player to know what is going on, understand what to do. It’s something that you polish until the very end just before the game gets released, but it’s really part of the philosophy shared between Ubisoft and Limbic on this project to make sure information is available and if something happens you know why etc. Former Heroes games usually tended to think the player was familiar with the IP already so they were getting new controls about the interface but they didn’t already know the information.

J: And also that you have certain advanced tools, buildings or so that they occur more often. So you kind of have this generic setup you’re kind of getting familiar with and learn how to use them in a slightly different way or to your benefit in a different way later on as well.

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There are a lot of resources that have been revealed for Might & Magic Heroes VII. Some may feel that it might be an over complication by having so many, how do you reason the implementation of so many different resources?

J: We now have seven, this was kind of a bit of feedback from in part VI where we only had three basic ones or four basic ones. We had a strong request for a deeper focus on the economy part and more resource management within the towns. You can divide these resources into core resources like ore and gold, and these rare resources that you need for special buildings for example. They are equally weighted, some are more rare, rare to encounter, and also are valuable.

E: We tried to reuse the number of resources and have only one rare one, considering we were more of a strategy game and less of a management game in Heroes VI. The community feedback was quite unanimous on the fact they wanted to go back to seven which was the magic number of the previous Heroes title.

We had a wonderful time speaking with Johannes and Erwan during our Might & Magic Heroes VII Interview. Be sure to check out our preview of Might & Magic Heroes VII‘s Stronghold campaign.

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