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Heroes Community > Dimension Gates > Thread: Q&A with Erwan Le Breton
Thread: Q&A with Erwan Le Breton This thread is 5 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 · «PREV / NEXT»
JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 27, 2018 02:06 PM

Elvin said:
They sensed H6 and H7 was a sinking ship and they terminated support asap.


I don't understand why you guys are still busy flogging this dead horse.

Anyway, H6 and H7 wasn't a sinking ship. The "Heroes" part of the M&M universe was sinking, when ... yeah, when they invited the press and the VIPs in February to Budapest to give them them all a first-hand experience, spending big in order to get the headlines before the upcoming release planned for Spring for what was supposed to be an AAA title, and the thing totally flopped for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which was that the game was a lot more unfinished than everyone had thought.

So that's when the ship started sinking. H7, however, SUNK it. With a bang. After the release it went down so fast it was grounded, before anyone could even say "stop".

So terminating support asap was absolutely correct. Because - if no one had a reasonable idea how to keep the sinking ship afloat, even less would have had a reasonable idea how to salvage the wreck and get it seaworthy again. Not to mention, you have to convince someone that salvaging the wreck from those depth, getting it into repair dock and making it seaworthy again would be worth the trouble and NOT end with sending it straight into the Tonga Trench.

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Stevie
Stevie


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 27, 2018 08:17 PM
Edited by Stevie at 20:19, 27 Aug 2018.

It's not worth. Even if Heroes 8 would be a good game, there's no market left for it. Past entries weigh too heavy on the negative side and the Might & Magic name lost its pull. Maybe if they dropped their AAA pretenses and put out a product for 30$ that could run even on medium to low end, who knows. But as it stands, no way. They won't find a fanbase to buy their game.
____________
Guide to a Great Heroes Game
The Young Traveler

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AlHazin
AlHazin


Promising
Supreme Hero
النور
posted August 27, 2018 09:46 PM
Edited by AlHazin at 21:50, 27 Aug 2018.

Youíre into boats, arenít you?

I agree that stopping the support was correct, in my opinion they should have gone one step further and propose a refund to those who bought the game and were non satisfied with it.

I am serious about that, thatís the least they could have done.
____________
Nothing of value disappears from this world, it will reappear in some shape or form ^^ - Elvin

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 27, 2018 09:47 PM
Edited by JollyJoker at 21:51, 27 Aug 2018.

Exactly.
EDIT: To Stevies's post.

To AlHazin. Nah. Refunds would be okay only for a game that doesn't run. H7 runs. You bought it? Well - if you eat somewhere and it's not tasty youdon't get a refund either.

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AlHazin
AlHazin


Promising
Supreme Hero
النور
posted August 27, 2018 10:31 PM

If you ask for a filet mignon and get a hamburger, you should be refunded though.
____________
Nothing of value disappears from this world, it will reappear in some shape or form ^^ - Elvin

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 27, 2018 11:19 PM

Not at all, only when a Filet Mignon was on offer.

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Galaad
Galaad

Hero of Order
Li mort as morz, li vif as vis
posted August 28, 2018 12:31 AM

Quote:
They won't find a fanbase to buy their game.


Too bad they chased away the fanbase already conquered with JVC games.

Quote:
Not at all, only when a Filet Mignon was on offer.


With Might and Magic in the title you cannot give less than a filet mignon.
____________
Even Italian restaurants seemed to betray me. -Neraus

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted August 28, 2018 05:25 AM

Hahaha..Haha..Ha...
____________
DON'T BE A NOOB, JOIN A.D.V.E.N.T.U.R.E.

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blob2
blob2


Legendary Hero
Blob-Ohmos the Second
posted August 28, 2018 10:28 AM
Edited by blob2 at 10:29, 28 Aug 2018.

BTW Storm-Giant should finally change the dreaded "Heroes VII development comes to an end..." news on homepage...

...into "Heroes development comes to an end"

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 28, 2018 10:48 AM

That would have been a much better news headline when H7 was still in "development", at the time when dice of the game had been rolled.

Now, though, what you can say is that development has been paused for an undetermined time.

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Quantomas
Quantomas


Responsible
Famous Hero
AI Wizard
posted August 28, 2018 12:18 PM

Maybe it is the time for a post mortem.

It's clear that things went awry after H5. What did change? I think most people give too little credit to Fabrice Cambounet. While the development of H5 was obviously a struggle, he had the right mindset to learn from deficits and feedback and support a process that improved the game. The result was TotE, and he was fully onboard to improve the game further with the AI I developed.

The other big change was obviously the developer. In hindsight it is clear that Nival was a developer with sufficient technical expertise and also the will to learn what makes a strategy game like HoMM truly tick. I'd say even Nival's B-Team would have outperformed BH big time.

BH had no valid experience developing strategy titles, so the responsibility rested mostly with Ubisoft's M&M team. The skill was there, as they later proved at Amplitude. We know that the communication between Ubisoft and BH was not were it should have been and lacked understanding and trust. Interestingly late in the development of H6 the M&M team almost collectively lost trust in the project and left to form Amplitude.

Technically, there were many warning signs. Regardless the VIPs mostly ignored these, it was only Cepheus, to a lesser extent Elvin and me who warned that H6 didn't look to meet the bar for a strategy game in the tradition of HoMM.

There was an effort by some VIPs during the beta to question the reduction of resource types in H6 and the faction conversion.

Looking back, it is safe to say that the reduction of resource types wasn't significant.

What mostly destroyed H6 was that the gameplay changed, away from a strategy game and towards scripted challenges and artificial obstacles like an exorbitant growth of neutral stacks.

Why was that done? Was there a believe that that is where the market is? If that was so, it has been proven wrong.

The more likely reason is that the altered game design was approved because it was attainable with less skills and fewer resources.

Technically, from a viewpoint that not only is based on the games (H1 to H7) but also on the evolution of the source code up to H5 and the insight I gained from sources of the development of H6 and H7, there is a red line that connects all the HoMM games and determined their quality.

The original Heroes of Might and Magic (H1) succeeded in the creation of a strategy game in which its different systems and mechanics coalesced into something greater that allowed you to find many different paths to victory. But at the same time it was mathematically balanced, to make sure that all factions, creatures and mechanics worked in the game.

The formula was refined up to H3 and the fanbase and commercial success grew. What were the enablers? On the one hand you had JVC's and his teams vision, and on the other, not so obvious, you had the AI implemented by Gus Smedstad. Technically, it was the AI that made HoMM a success because it brought all the game mechanics to life and made the game reactive, so that the players could explore the maps and strategic challenges in many different ways.

H4 launched with an impaired AI. While technically similar to H3, its biggest fault was that it didn't predict the newly introduced moving creatures feature, and as a result AI heroes died frequently and often all you encountered on the maps were underdeveloped enemy towns with little tombstones nearby. The fans reacted and H4's expansions didn't sell, which was the end of NWC.

H5 to a large extent reused the H3 AI, but because of its design, it needed adapting to changes in the rules, map objects, and creature types. Nival struggled with this, and while the end product wasn't ideal, it was sufficient to produce a workable game that was accepted by the fans.

H6 had an AI that was substandard and not sufficient to support a fully fledged strategy game in HoMM's vein. The gameplay changed as a result of it.

H7 reused the AI of H6, and the CEO of Limbic said to me, I quote, "we have already an AI". Famous last words.

The lesson from this is, a successful HoMM-like needs to have a solid technical foundation, otherwise its trademark and well recognized gameplay doesn't materialize.

As this is a franchise, and the sales of each new installment build upon the last, it means that you have to invest twice now. First, to create a quality title that wins back the fanbase, and subsequently into the next entry that cashes in on the success of the former.

With Ubisoft failing to make a proper investment into H6, it is unlikely that they plan a much higher investment into H8/H9.

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 28, 2018 12:32 PM

I disagree with a lot of this, although not everything, but I also think that debating that doesn't make a lot of sense.

It might make a lot more sense, if there was a hint of H8 anywhere to be seen, but since it isn't, it doesn't.

The one thing I'd like to repeat is the fact that H6 didn't sink the ship, but H7 did. H6 only made it more vital, adding pressure, to make sure H7 would be not a good, but an exceptional game.

Which the combination of Ubisoft and Limbic couldn't deliver. And the real problem is, that it was obvious from day one.

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blob2
blob2


Legendary Hero
Blob-Ohmos the Second
posted August 28, 2018 03:00 PM
Edited by blob2 at 15:21, 28 Aug 2018.

Well I would say it's the other way around. Actually good AI is a hardcore HoMM players dream. People who take challenge above all else. No, I don't want to say AI doesn't matter, but I think it's actually the "packaging" that made M&M unpopular with the fans, not the core (which was also bad to be perfectly clear). The way they shoved their universe into our throats. The spider cult, the messy timeline, color-coding, obvious references and ideas/styles straight from popular franchises. Confluxes, laughable dlc-s and below avarage storytelling. A multitude of layers that were either underdeveloped or simply buggy. I don't remember any game besides H6 that I played in which bugs would be so apparent.

But most importantly the ever-present feeling that the games are not for fans but for milking them. I don't want to witness anything like this ever again. Being a part of the community, witnessing this disintegration first-hand at the time of Heroes 6 from the point of a HoMM fan, was one of the most disappointing experiences in my gaming life.

That's my two cents at least.

PS: They say to forgive is to forget, but I will never forgive Ubisoft nor Le Breton and his staff for destroying my favorite childhood franchise.

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bitmaid
bitmaid


Adventuring Hero
posted August 28, 2018 08:21 PM

Looks like they learned a lesson and know they need to radically innovate next. But WILL THEY?! For the time being they'll be milking the Chinese fanbase, who will not stand shoddy downgrades for long (I hope). All official spinoffs will DIE. The money and resources they burnt on these inane, FAILED spinoffs is more than enough to create a decent, true Heroes game. This is all due to the complete disorganization within Ubisoft as is reflected by the disbandment of the M&M team revealed in this interview. Heroes is nobody's priority now.

But as to why Ubisoft assesses it's too costly to develop a good Heroes game, I think there is some stock in that. The game itself is not that costly to make compared to other AAA titles, but the player base as well as talent pool for this specific genre is dwindling.

It comes down to gameplay, the balance and AI that separate Heroes from most other games. If you look at the market today, most games being developed are action, shooting and adventure all in first person. It's baffling to me why so many people like to play as a foot soldier rather than a general/king, but that's how it is. So as a result, programmers in training is going to be focused on the action aspect, edge detection, physics, that sort of thing. It actually affects not only AI but level design, economy, even graphics as well. Simply put, you can't expect a developer who's used to make games where you run around shooting laser at monsters and hiding behind crates and barrels to suddenly adapt to making turn based strategy games. Just like casual games artists can't convey the epic-ness of the worldview in graphics, a non-strategy game studio isn't going to do well with the gameplay. People say Ubisoft has been making mistakes since h6, but they've ruined it since Day One when they took over the IP because the first order of business was supposed to be forming a dedicated studio.

It's a simple question of supply and demand, and maybe it's worth asking why is it that today's players gravitate toward games like Fortnite, Minecraft, or whatever ass-fk games out there, rather than sophisticated turn based strategy games. Shortened attention span? The MMO social aspect? I don't know. A lot of us were very young (younger than Fortine's main playerbase) when we got into Heroes, and we fell in love with it. But people's taste has changed drastically today. There is some fear that just like Erwan said, even if a good game is made "with 90+ metacritic" score, there won't be enough people to buy it. It's really concerning.

Therefore I believe Quantomas is prolly one of the rarest breeds of programmers left lol... how's your AI going, give us an update!


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Stevie
Stevie


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 28, 2018 09:48 PM

"The TBS genre is dead" has been a recurring theme for quite some years and I can see why people are tempted to ride that train of thought, but frankly I don't buy it. There are obvious examples of very successful TBS games even nowadays and needless to say their respective devs know what they're doing and what market they're trying to reach. With Heroes, not only that the recent titles weren't  decent to say the least, they weren't even trying to adapt to the market. Now it just might be too late for a change of perspective, depends whether China saves the day or not.

But honestly, I'd much rather have them fold on Heroes and start a new franchise, at which point I wouldn't buy it anyway because it's Ubisoft and no Might & Magic. There's no way in my mind Heroes can bring itself back to the surface from the slump it's in right now, it would take nothing short of a miracle.
____________
Guide to a Great Heroes Game
The Young Traveler

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blob2
blob2


Legendary Hero
Blob-Ohmos the Second
posted August 28, 2018 10:16 PM
Edited by blob2 at 22:25, 28 Aug 2018.

@bitmaid

I can't agree with you: it's not that the TBS games "market" has become smaller. It's the game market (read as "playerbase") that has become bigger. Games that you mentioned: shooters, battle royales, action games or moba-s are popular because of a single simple factor: they are easy to stream. Those are games that are easy to share, expierience together. It's a completly different mindset then a couple of years ago. Youtubers/streamers are todays role models for young gamers. They've made a culture around playing games together. It is a social phenomena, call it mainstream, and if you wanna be the cool kid you need to watch and play the popular games.
BUT!
That doesn't mean there aren't players who aren't interested in TBS genre. Nostalgia driven gamers or people who became fascinated with the genre for instance. There are devs that remember how to make good strategy games: Triumph, Amplitude, 1C and their partners, Paradox and their partners. The list goes on and add indie devs or companies started by veterans. Moreover, with the recent rise in popularity of board games (note: TBS games mind you) I can only tell you this: just wait and see! Take Iron Harvest, a Company of Heroes like game that is created by people inspired by the board game Scythe, who say: "we want to make a classic area control RTS like in old times". Yes they played Company of Heroes and they want to create a game like this. There are a lot of these kind of developers. Or Pillars of Eternity, a classic isometric RPG that brought back the genre. TBS will also make a comeback, belive me.

You need to discern a bad TBS game like Heroes 7 that is s*it and doesn't sell from a good TBS game that does (ex. Age of Wonders III, Civ series rtc).

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bitmaid
bitmaid


Adventuring Hero
posted August 28, 2018 11:13 PM

I've never wanted to be proven wrong so bad. I'm very aware of the whole Twitch & YT situation and it's pretty overwhelming. A genre can't sustain on nostalgia alone and a good number of living tbs titles today are legacy franchises: Civ, Crusader Kings, Age of Wonders etc. I'm glad they're maintained by dedicated developers who do no disappoint their fans, but does anyone know despite their active communities if Civ and Paradox games (which are notorious for having a steep learning curve) are attracting new players?

I also wonder how much potential there is for a new franchise to break through and be successful. Just because the game market is expanding doesn't mean more people are choosing tbs. This genre is not growing as fast as others and relying on devs not snow up rather than innovation. Again that's a personal observation. Quite frankly some of the big titles are already getting tired, as I see majority of players agree Civ 5 is better than Civ 6, even though Firaxis can never snow up as bad as Ubisoft.

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Valen-Teen
Valen-Teen


Famous Hero
UFOlolOgist
posted August 28, 2018 11:17 PM

@blob2

Great words!
Thanks for believing in TBS. Share it with you)

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blob2
blob2


Legendary Hero
Blob-Ohmos the Second
posted August 28, 2018 11:32 PM
Edited by blob2 at 23:36, 28 Aug 2018.

bitmaid said:
This genre is not growing as fast as others and relying on devs not snow up rather than innovation.


And maybe that is a good thing? I don't want to sound like some elitist pr*ck, but I'd rather see TBS games stay as a niche genre, with sales just enough to sustain them, but made by dedicated people who know they'll get a dedicated player base. Not for the cool kids to swarm it with their state of mind (yes, I hate streaming as a phenomenon).

And what actually do you understand by innovation in TBS? Ubi-Conflux? Streaming? Microtransactions? The only improvement I can think of is in the multiplayer/mod department. Other things should stay the same, that's where I find the comfort zone. Why do I go back to Fire Emblem games? They change a few things, but the core game has ALWAYS been the same. It's the feeling of familiarity plus some new interesting stories to tell that keeps me coming back. Why do I go back to Pokemon games, which only "big" change in he span of 20 years was adding 3D graphics. Why do I keep coming back to Heroes III which is archaic and by todays standards limited? Cus it is a good formula, that's why.

You know what is the best thing about todays gaming market? You can choose from a plethora of options. Bored of Heroes of Might and Magic formula? Go play a Moba or some other stuff and and then come back.

I don't want an innovative Heroes game. I want a tried and true formula with some twists, but familiar atmosphere and not the haunting feeling that it's a cheap cash grab made by people who have their heads so deep in their "backends" that they're only decided to finally admit that "yep, something did go wrong!" after 15 years...

But it's my personal view, sorry for a bit of a rant Guys.

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bitmaid
bitmaid


Adventuring Hero
posted August 28, 2018 11:43 PM

That is some dangerous thinking. That's exactly what tanked h7 because it was trying to replicate the success of h3 and lacked a unique identity of its own, as admitted in this interview.

The GAMEPLAY has to be innovated, refer to Sid Meier's 33% rule

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/119857/Shirk_Sid_Meiers_Rule_of_33s_Reigns_For_Civilization_V.php

And you don't sound elitist, more like myopic. No one is better because they resist change. As I said a genre cannot run on nostalgia alone, it has to be able to attract new players. A franchise doesn't exist merely to cater to a small group of "OG players", you know?

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