Interview with Fabrice Cambounet - AOH Exclusive, 8 June 2006.

Fabrice Cambounet, Ubisoft Heroes of Might and Magic V developer, has been interviewed by Valera Koltsov, wembaster of Age of Heroes and Heroes Community HOMM fan sites.

Valera: Heroes 5 has just been released and has already received a very positive reaction. The large effort and detail put into the game is obvious. In this interview I'd like to focus on the game's perceived shortfalls, not to relate to this great game as flawed, but to find out more about the future of Heroes 5 development.

This week's Heroes Community poll featured a ficticious story in which you were portrayed to ask the fans to select two HOMM5 features for urgent development.
The choices were: Map Editor, Random Map Generator, Additional Factions, Duel Hero Customisation. At the time of writing this over 60 Heroes Community members voted. Map Editor and Random Map Generator are at 42 vote points each, followed by Additional Factions at 38 vote points, while Duel Hero Customisation received only 6 vote points.

Players say that the main limit to this great game is the lack of maps to play it on, combined with inability to create a map or generate a random map. Could you comment on the development and release plans with regards to the Map Editor and the Random Map Generator? Will they be released together? Downloadable or in an expansion pack? And what is the likely timeframe?
And the question on many mapmakers' minds: will the map editor allow creation of cutscenes and linking scenarios together into campaigns?

Fabrice: First I壇 like to detail our updates planning on Heroes 5. We壇 like to release a monthly update, starting from the release. Each update will come with patch material : crunching leftover bugs, improving the balance, tweaking the AI and difficulty level, and also with new features or material.

The first patch should have been ready for the US release, two weeks ago. I知 sorry that we didnt reach this objective, this was due to the patch creation process which was not tested previously. Hopefully this will not delay further patches now that we handled it once. We値l try to catch back on our planning and release each new patch in the second half of each month.

The first patch mostly introduced another difficulty setting, the easy mode, which should allow anyone a safe cruise through the campaign story.
The second one will propose new multiplayer maps, and should improve the multiplayer gameplay. We値l introduce ten new multiplayer maps starting from this second patch.

The third one, due in the second part of july, will propose the map editor. We値l hand it over to a few selected testers in about a week, in order to fine-tune it. The map editor is of course a critical tool for the game interest in the long run, and we felt it was better to work on it a bit longer after the release.
Combined with the map editor, or with a further patch will be added the capacity to link missions together as in the Heroes 5 campaigns.

Valera: And what about Duel Hero Customisation, are we likely to get it in a patch or with the first expansion pack? It would certainly add unmatched strategic depth to the quick multiplayer battles.

Fabrice: We will be improving the duel mode with lots of new features over the second part of the updates planning, in the late summer. Many ideas have been retained, and this should answer the wishes of all players. The customisation of duel presets is one of the first ideas, of course :)

Valera: Another issue that has been raised is the skill of the computer opponent or AI in Heroes 5. Are there likely to be AI improvements offered by the patches?

Fabrice: We値l be tweaking the AI in the patching process. This is part of the game refining after the launch, when we receive many feedbacks and many datas, in a volume that is not possible during our own testing phase. Any AI weakness will be taken care of, and its challenge, which is already quite good I think, will be improved.

Valera: With regards to Additional Factions, quite a few Heroes 5 players feel that six is not enough, but tend to agree that this is expansion material and a second priority after Map Editor / Random Map Generator. Would you be kind to shine some light on the additional races that we can expect to appear in Heroes 5, and perhaps a few of their notable creatures?
And lastly, a speculative question. Ghost mode is definitely a breakthrough innovation, not to undermine it in any way, are we likely to see the simultaneous multiplayer turns option in Heroes 5, or is it Heroes 6 material?

Fabrice: All of these questions will be answered to later :) Although I can say we are already thinking about other races the world map should give some hints on that :)

Valera: Fabrice, thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. I think I am speaking on behalf of the whole heroes community in saying that heroes 5 is great, and the HOMM series are reborn once again thanks to Ubisoft. We are enjoying the new game and looking forward to future developments.

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