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Heroes Community > Heroes 6 - The New Beginning > Thread: The End of Black Hole Games?
Thread: The End of Black Hole Games? This thread is 18 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 · «PREV / NEXT»
yasmiel
yasmiel


Supreme Hero
Former Chessmaster
posted April 09, 2012 04:43 PM

I'm in the same camp. While modability can certainly help specific games, the vanilla "out of the box" game is what interests me the most and bears the most weight when i judge it.

I do hope that a somewhat bigger developer gets the role in the future. Black Hole seemed too small for this type of project, and thus many assets were outsourced even further.
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G0b1in
G0b1in


Adventuring Hero
posted April 09, 2012 05:10 PM

The more time passes, the more it looks to me, that Ubi simply choose the cheapest option on the market, instead of most quality one, when deciding about Black Hole. Guess it tells you how high Ubi regards Heroes series.

And the more time passes, the more I am convinced about the end of Black Hole. if not right now, then their doom is just a matter of time.
Is it Ubi's fault, for rushing them and not giving them resources, or is it their own fault, it matters little at this point. It would still be right and honorable of them to give us the information.

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Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted April 09, 2012 05:14 PM
Edited by Salamandre at 17:15, 09 Apr 2012.

Any idea about how many H6 copies sold? Because this is what it matters to them, not our eternal whining.
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G0b1in
G0b1in


Adventuring Hero
posted April 09, 2012 06:33 PM

well they should care about our whining non the less. Remember we are all customers who purchased their product, and are now critisizing it. So their game gets bad rep., which means new potential buyers are discouraged to buy the game.

If they didn't sell enough copies is because of non - favourable feedback we provided, which is in turn consequence of their mistakes. In short it's their own fault. And if they don't pay attention to customer feedback it's again their fault.

The old saying goes: "Customer is the king". They should learn it.

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G0b1in
G0b1in


Adventuring Hero
posted April 09, 2012 07:51 PM

My apologies to Black Hole then. I always had a hunch, that it is mostly Ubi's fault (but they did blame you).

Also very informative - thank you!

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xerox
xerox


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
posted April 09, 2012 07:51 PM
Edited by xerox at 19:53, 09 Apr 2012.

Wow, I think all of HC really appreciates knowing the truth now.
Now we know for sure not to blame Black Hole and I personally feel really bad for you if Black Hole is bankrupt now. =(
Also confirmation that Academy was indeed planned as a sixth faction. Interesting.

Quote:
- 300 unique Combat Maps (there were 20 in the contract)


Where are these? There are like 20 in the game?
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body and
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Storm-Giant
Storm-Giant


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
On the Other Side!
posted April 09, 2012 08:17 PM

Wow, I expected that Ubi missed their deadlines and forced you but that it's too much than I expected

Thought the code may be very complex and the game buggy, that can be fixed with enough time and resources. Yet Heroes has bigger problemas, and those are Ubi design deccisions (less resources, for instance). The game could possibily be a great addition to the series if some design decisions are reverted back to something coherent with the series (resources is an example, but there are more).

It's sad that BH is (or almost) in bankrupcy because of Ubisoft, it won't even have the chance to go elsewhere (like Nival did).
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alcibiades
alcibiades


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
of Gold Dragons
posted April 09, 2012 08:26 PM

That was an interesting read.

Quote:
Quote:
- 300 unique Combat Maps (there were 20 in the contract)
Where are these? There are like 20 in the game?
I think he means combat arenas (i.e. battle fields), not overall maps to play.
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What will happen now?

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adriancat
adriancat


Famous Hero
Protector Of The Peace
posted April 09, 2012 08:39 PM
Edited by alcibiades at 23:17, 10 Apr 2012.

Quote:
Hi Guys. Several months have passed since the release of Heroes 6, and because there are so many questions from you regarding BH which UBI seemingly ignores, I feel it's time that I give you some information.

I worked for Black Hole during the whole H6 development. For us, it was a dream project as we were real fans of the Heroes series, having played it since the original King's Bounty on Commodore 64. And I can tell you it was the UBI producers who didn't keep their deadlines, and that was what led to a total failure of the whole development. Back in 2008, during the contract negotiation process, UBI business decision makers didn't want to hear about making it into the contract that in case of any UBI delays there would be any penalty for UBI. This was a stupid decision of a business development boss (she said "UBI would never be late with any deliverables".... HAHAHA). And that led to an awkward situation where the whole development got snowed up... but the UBI producers kept telling Black Hole that "no worries, guys, there would be more time and budget, just do what we say". It was then that one faction, Academy had been removed from the content list, as well as many other things. And then, at half of the development, Romain suddenly quit, Erwan was removed from the project - he was "elevated" to the position of Might and Magic Brand Director, which meant his direct involvement in the development was over -, and BH was left there with the blame. Just an example, the final story script - which was UBI responsibility - was delivered to BH after 27 months... while originally there was 24 months for the whole development. No comment.

As for BH commitment, BH used up all its 6 months reserves just to be able to finish the project... this was more than 1 million Euros!!! And they (we) did this knowing it would never be payed back, as royalty would only be paid after 2M Heroes sold at full price. We all knew 2M copies would never be sold (neither at full price nor at reduced price), still we wanted to finish the project. During the last 10 months, our full team worked 24/7, without any chance for compensation... and because of this, we didn't have any resources to find other projects and make sure BH would survive after the release of Heroes 6. In the meantime, our new UBI producers kept telling that "the BH team is not working during the nights and weekends, and is not committed to the project at all...". I can only say, just ask any of the BH team members of their commitment...

As for the many bugs: Heroes 6 is a gigantic project, with 1.5-2 million lines in the source code. This is bigger than most RPGs. Such a project can only be finished with good quality if there are several years and a huge budget (i.e. Blizzard games), or if there is a strict design lock date after 7-9 months of the start of development... in case of Heroes, the UBI guys were adding new ideas and were changing existing features during the whole development, even at the last months, so it was simply impossible to make a stable game for release. Just see what they are now doing with patch 1.3 (BH is not involved in that at all btw.). They cannot release a simple patch with a few smaller fixes in time, they are already in a 2-3 weeks delay. This is because the code is extremely complex, and UBI does not have the team to overview it and make it work in time, even if the Limbic guys are really great (and no, they are not involved in the Heroes development from the project start, they joined like 20 months later).

Some examples of what BH added to the game at their own cost, just to make the game better:
- Town screen (we hate the current version, but it is still better then the "let's make a screen shot from the adventure map 3D town and use it as a town screen" that UBI wanted - we could have made a much better one, but didn't have money and time).
- Additional ingame cutscenes (I know cutscenes are not great, but again, we received the story after 27 months... we only had a couple months to make the cutscenes from scratch, and a very limited budget - and I think that the overall visual quality of the game proves to anyone that we could have made really great cutscenes if we had had the time and budget).
- 300 unique Combat Maps (there were 20 in the contract)
- 3D animated Main Menu (UBI wanted a simple still image)
- Additional NPCs
- Campaign Overview Map (Campaign Window)
- and many more........

And what were the UBI decisions:
- Less resources
- No fullscreen town screens
- Only five factions (as a consequence of the continuous delays of UBI deliverables)
- Creature pool
- and many more such "great" changes.........

This project cost Black Hole its existence... while UBI is making profit on Heroes 6.

And just some more thoughts: UBI EMEA were working with four 3rd party developers during the Heroes development:
- Capibara - They made the really good (and financially successful) Clash of Heroes. The are not working with UBI anymore.
- Eugene Systems - They made R.U.S.E. They are not working with UBI anymore.
- Black Hole - They made Heroes 6. They are not working with UBI anymore.
- Techland - They made a 47% game for UBI (Call of Juarez: The Cartel - http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/call-of-juarez-the-cartel) - They are still working with UBI EMEA on a big project.
We heard the UBI guys blame those developers (and Nival) many times... I guess BH was blamed the same way to those developers.

It is always the developer who is responsible...

Just some food for thought.... Thanks guys for reading.
Thank you for informing us.I really appreciate Black Hole and fans should remember them as the "team who sacrificed themselves for the future of the series".

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Dave_Jame
Dave_Jame


Promising
Legendary Hero
I'm Faceless, not Brainless.
posted April 09, 2012 08:53 PM

Very interesting post.
Thank you very much. It brings light into the fog that the community faces. And also I feel sorry that your sacriface had to be needed.
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We are many, and you can be one of us.

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Cepheus
Cepheus


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Far-flung Keeper
posted April 09, 2012 08:53 PM

Quite a bit of this is new to me... heh. I guess I rest my case, though from what I've seen I don't feel too romantic about either development party and will not get into the inevitable blame games.
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Dave_Jame
Dave_Jame


Promising
Legendary Hero
I'm Faceless, not Brainless.
posted April 09, 2012 09:02 PM

Quote:
Quite a bit of this is new to me... heh. I guess I rest my case, though from what I've seen I don't feel too romantic about either development party and will not get into the inevitable blame games.


But you could actually conferm if it i relevant or not.
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I'm just a Mirror of your self.

We see, we look, we gather, we store, we teach.
We are many, and you can be one of us.

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adriancat
adriancat


Famous Hero
Protector Of The Peace
posted April 09, 2012 09:03 PM
Edited by adriancat at 21:05, 09 Apr 2012.

What about Limbic Entertainment?Are they working on the game anymore?

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Cepheus
Cepheus


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Far-flung Keeper
posted April 09, 2012 09:30 PM

Well, I saw a fair bit of bickering during the development. But all that's relevant to me is seeing a Heroes game that lives up to, or exceeds, the reasonable expectations of the series' fanbase. I have no faith that this will happen under Ubisoft's status quo, whether they work with one of these two devs or the other.
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"Those who forget their history are inevitably doomed to repeat it." —Proverb, Might and Magic VIII

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Zenofex
Zenofex


Responsible
Legendary Hero
Kreegan-atheist
posted April 09, 2012 09:58 PM

If this is not the regular disgruntled former employee rant, it pretty much concurs with my vision of how Ubisoft handle the franchise.
So what now, will they attempt to salvage whatever there is to salvage? It will require a HUGE (and costly) effort to restore the players' trust and I seriously doubt that Ubisoft have the skills, brains and willingness to do it. Maybe we'll get lucky and finally see M&M sold to somebody else?

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Dave_Jame
Dave_Jame


Promising
Legendary Hero
I'm Faceless, not Brainless.
posted April 09, 2012 11:33 PM

Quote:
If this is not the regular disgruntled former employee rant, it pretty much concurs with my vision of how Ubisoft handle the franchise.
So what now, will they attempt to salvage whatever there is to salvage? It will require a HUGE (and costly) effort to restore the players' trust and I seriously doubt that Ubisoft have the skills, brains and willingness to do it. Maybe we'll get lucky and finally see M&M sold to somebody else?


Restore the players trust... think for a second
People commonly know there are issues...
but how many apart from the fanbase know about the BH status...
As long as this is capt low, they have a problem less to think about.
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I'm just a Mirror of your self.

We see, we look, we gather, we store, we teach.
We are many, and you can be one of us.

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Quique30
Quique30


Hired Hero
posted April 10, 2012 12:39 AM

Quote:
Quote:
If this is not the regular disgruntled former employee rant, it pretty much concurs with my vision of how Ubisoft handle the franchise.
So what now, will they attempt to salvage whatever there is to salvage? It will require a HUGE (and costly) effort to restore the players' trust and I seriously doubt that Ubisoft have the skills, brains and willingness to do it. Maybe we'll get lucky and finally see M&M sold to somebody else?


Restore the players trust... think for a second
People commonly know there are issues...
but how many apart from the fanbase know about the BH status...
As long as this is capt low, they have a problem less to think about.


Hopefully, every buyer and potential buyer of the game will know this so they (we) stop funding such greedy and unconsiderate-to-the-customer company, forcing Ubi to sell the franchise to someone capable and eager to make this game great once more.
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SKPRIMUS
SKPRIMUS


Promising
Supreme Hero
The One and the Prime
posted April 10, 2012 05:52 AM
Edited by SKPRIMUS at 05:56, 10 Apr 2012.

That was unexpected!

And hopefully every developer will also cover their asses too!

Anyway, even if original is deleted & adriancat & Quique30's posts are edited , I'm sure some would have copied the text.

If true (the words do suggest there is a strong element of truth but it's in not-so-bad English), then thanks for taking the time to write it

Unfortunately big companies do not become successful by being caring & kind...part of why they get there is ruthlessness & not caring about the plight of individual employess or other companies.

Quote:
...UBI producers who didn't keep their deadlines, and that was what led to a total failure of the whole development. Back in 2008, during the contract negotiation process, UBI business decision makers didn't want to hear about making it into the contract that in case of any UBI delays there would be any penalty for UBI. This was a stupid decision of a business development boss (she said "UBI would never be late with any deliverables".... HAHAHA). And that led to an awkward situation where the whole development got snowed up... but the UBI producers kept telling Black Hole that "no worries, guys, there would be more time and budget, just do what we say".
Never let yourself be screwed over by another like this way.  I'd be interested in knowing how normal contracts are done between game developers & publishers.

Questions (I would still ask them even if the post was false but I doubt any answers will come; but wth, I don't have the handicap of being a VIP):

- "...did this knowing it would never be payed back, as royalty would only be paid after 2M Heroes sold at full price": Is payment based on a base amount plus royalty?

- "We all knew 2M copies would never be sold": Why throw money at it if no chance of redemption?  Many businesses faced with extinction would throw in the towel before the end & the directive would come to cut corners & only spend minimum necessary (cut the losses & maybe even declare bankruptcy earlier? but the carrot is always complete the contract first then see what can be done legally/out of kindness).

- Still fail to understand why many VIPs could stand for that sort of thing from ubi: even if they don't know all of the info, it appeared many had more than an inkling.

- "Romain suddenly quit, Erwan was removed from the project - he was "elevated" to the position of Might and Magic Brand Director, which meant his direct involvement in the development was over": Surely it's possible for someone to confirm this?

- Not much point keeping BHole bankruptcy hidden really because the news will get out at some time (I thought rumor was more BHole won't develop games like this anymore, not exactly whole business going under) - unless it's to buy time for some ubi****** to get another job before **** hits the fan.  Still would like confirmation of BHole's bankruptcy though.

- Will we hear the other side of the debacle? ("A number of issues needed to be resolved before we could resume communication" - what a laugh)

lastly: something more inflammatory (sorry): even more simpler basic townscreen, 20 battle arenas, less cut scenes, simple main menu, no additional NPCs would not have made me like the game less.
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Hope defeats despair - "a blatant clue"
too many idiots in VW
"to lose is to win, and he who wins shall lose"
bashing orcus

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DoubleDeck
DoubleDeck


Promising
Legendary Hero
Look into my eyes...
posted April 10, 2012 08:36 AM

@Adriancat -> nice quote posted above but who was that blackhole worker that posted their response? Are Blackhole not involved anymore in Heroes VI development?

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xerox
xerox


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
posted April 10, 2012 08:58 AM

Quickly, everybody save it!

also adriancat is my favorite poster on the forums now

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