Help save Heroes of Might and Magic 5

Bluesnews quote:

Worldwide, Jan. 26, 2006. A group of Heroes of Might and Magic community Websites today launched a collaborative effort to persuade Ubisoft executives to delay the launch of their highly anticipated title Heroes of Might and Magic 5. SaveHeroes.Org is a concerted community effort to further that cause.

This effort, and the reasons behind it, started largely because of the open beta test, which started on GameSpy on Monday, January 23rd. With Heroes of Might and Magic 4 having received poor sales in comparison to its predecessor, Heroes 5 is seen by most as a make or break game. If it fails, so will the entire Might and Magic franchise. If it succeeds, then the product line would gain the support it needs for a long term at Ubisoft.

With these facts in mind, community websites, including Celestial Heavens, The Oracle League, Age of Heroes, Heroes Community, The Genies Lamp, Guardians Grove, and many others started posting petitions and banners to “Save Heroes 5”. Not long after, these same leaders gathered to try and organize a collaborative effort to attempt to show Ubisoft that releasing an unfinished game would not go over well at all.

After the rough start and continued issues of the Open Beta, and some investigation, these leaders realized that there was little time to act. Ubisoft’s fiscal year ends on March 31, coinciding with the release date. Ubisoft was also the target of a takeover bid in December of 2004, something they are not likely to forget easily. Wanting to hit or exceed their yearly targets could be a reason for the March 31 release date.

However, such short-term plans are exactly what doomed Heroes 4, New World Computing and The 3DO Company. SaveHeroes.Org is now open to try and prevent such a thing from happening.

March 31 isn’t that soon. I’m guessing these people don’t have a lot of experience with beta software. I’ve seen games in a lot worse shape than Heroes 5 come together in a lot less time.

I haven’t seen the beta, but I could see people just being spoiled by Blizzard betas.

Ben, the game’s missing all kinds of things… most importantly good AI. There is no way they can add all the missing stuff - AND add competant AI in less than 2 months. Did you “play” the beta or just tinker with it? Once you get past the flashiness of the graphics you’ll understand the concern.

Hilarious. Heroes IV was ruined by being rushed out the door–its potential was obvious, but its flaws were equally obvious. Now, history looks to repeat. Why would anyone buy the rights to a franchise on life support and then ignore the mistakes that put it into bad shape in the first place?

This kind of thinking (immediate profit at the expense of future success) is hardly unique to the game industry…I think our MBA programs need some serious retooling.

Ai is the last thing added isn’t it? I mean the Gal Civ II beta was AI less pretty much and people haven’t been whining to hold back on it’s release.

AI scripting can be mostly transfered over from the previous renditions and improved as needed for the new engine.

Also wasn’t this a MULTIPLAYER beta? What kind of AI did people expect to be included for a multiplayer trial?

In fact they’re probably hurting their own cause because now all the people who didn’t try the beta are gonna be wary of a purchase. How many preorders will get canceled becasue of this move? .

Ben, the game’s missing all kinds of things… most importantly good AI. There is no way they can add all the missing stuff - AND add competant AI in less than 2 months. Did you “play” the beta or just tinker with it? Once you get past the flashiness of the graphics you’ll understand the concern.

But it’s been known for a long time that the purpose of this open beta was purely to test netcode and compatibility issues. From what I understand the singleplayer and AI has already been in closed beta testing for quite a while.

I don’t have high hopes for the game, but do we actually have any experience with the AI to know that it isnt competant yet?

I did play it, and I understand the concern. I just don’t think it’s warranted. You’d be surprised how many games look like this 2+ months from release. Like, the majority of them. They absolutely could add all that stuff in two months, which I doubt they have to do anyway, since this multiplayer beta probably isn’t the most current build of the game. That doesn’t mean they will, of course–we’ll just have to wait and see. But I don’t think that time is against them. If the game were two weeks out, that would be another matter. Unless they were EA.

On a related note, this is exactly why game writers don’t often criticise games in previews. Because a lot of the time, this is the sort of code we get to see.

Its a little late now. The game was doomed once Ubi picked Nival to develop it.

Ooooh, burn!

As for the open beta, isn’t it MP only? What AI matters in that?

What’s wrong with Nival? Didn’t they do Etherlords, which were both great games.

Anyway, if they want to save the game, they should collect donations so that the company can afford to delay the launch. The article says the company is up against a wall. What are they supposed to do?

Nival is awsome, but I’ve never liked HOMM ;D

If it was just silent storm w/ fantasy crap, I’d actually be interested, hehe

I liked their Silent Storm but over all, I didn’t see anything there or in any game of theirs that showed the needed talent to bring HOMM into 3D.

I played it too and uninstalled after a few atempts at play… I think the concern is very warranted. There is a very strong chance that if the game ships with the current schedule it will have some severe issues. I dont think the rally is for new features but more for stability and quality. From my experience, miracles in Q&A can happen but it is best not count on them.


I would imagine that if the developers had any type of AI code in place at all, they’d have put it in the demo. The fact that it IS multiplayer only at this stage surely scares the hell out of me.

MP-only tests are super common, so I don’t see any cause for alarm. A publisher’s internal testing infrastructure can handle single player testing much more easily.

In my experience, two months is a lot of time to fix those sorts of problems. I’ve seen a lot of software in that stage of development doing game previews, and Heroes 5 is not at all atypical for a game that’s two months out.

Nival is definitely a developer I would have singled out for this. Evil Islands, Etherlords, Silent Storm - all good pretty good.

Cool - then we can agree to disagree :). It not atypical from what i seen either, however, games in similar state almost always have serious problems and I generally stay away from - which indicates a sad state for PC development. Also, they probably dont have 2 months - there is manufacturing time after GM.

Playing this beta has changed my feelings from a “must have” to a “wait and see”. Heroes 3 was one of my favorite games of all time.


Silent Hunter III go delayed and has a much smaller audience than HOMM V. That delay (to add a dynamic campaign) proved very successful… Successful enough to warrant a sequel/expansion.

Ben, I totally disagree with you. Nival doesn’t have the resources to pull off a last minute miracle.