Welcome. Hope each of you is safe.
This month I have four topics, but there is no ‘Recollection’ among them. I have been working on it, but the ‘Recollection’ is taking longer than expected and will probably consist of two parts. It should be ready for the next newsletter.
As always, ‘thank you’ to everyone who wrote, especially those with positive sentiments. If you have any questions or comments, regarding Fanstratics (FST) or Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (HoMM3), feel free to send them along, and I’ll try to answer them in future newsletters (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please keep in mind, I will get around to answering your email, but it may take at least 2-3 months before you receive a response (it’s taking longer and longer as production continues).
Until next time.
Fanstratics Game Director & Designer
Fanstratics Troop: Naga Blade Dancer.
If the Medusa is considered a femme fatale, who can turn a Troop into stone, the Naga Blade Dancer is a terrifying beauty who can dismember a Troop into several pieces... before they draw their final breath. Nagas are an offensive powerhouse, using a ballet of blades, to nullify the Retaliation ability of Enemy Troops. When engaged, Enemy Troops can only endure, and wait for their turn to strike. Inexperienced Troops, from a lesser tier, are naturally more vulnerable to the Blade Dancer’s dominating assault.
When we started work on this Troop, one of the first things I mentioned to Justin was, “The Naga is something of a fan favorite. For her, I’d like to stay relatively close to home.” After all, I was also a fan of the Naga. Two rounds of thumbnails later, we adjusted the positioning of her tail, but kept how her arms were arranged. She is indeed a terrifying beauty. Looking forward to her eventual render.
HoMM3 Question: I was wondering if you've heard of this board game in development based on HOMM3 (https://homm3boardgame.com/)? It seems to be a project that is (or has been?) funded using Kickstarter by a group in Poland. Do you have any involvement?
I have heard of this board game, and its announcement was a surprise to me. I have zero involvement in the project, and will probably purchase a copy. I suspect it is worth it, just for the artwork of Iana Venge. Recently, when I purchased a vinyl copy of the HoMM3 OST, the artwork of Magdalena Katańska was a big reason. I’m something of a sucker for talented artists.
Fanstratics Question: Will each faction have a main race like in Heroes 5? If so, what is the proportion of the main race in the lineup?
While a Faction’s organization can appear to be racial in nature, in truth, each Faction is structured around a loose cultural or religious theme. For instance, while the majority of the Allegiant Troops are human, it is not a strictly human faction. It has the Archangel, along with a couple of other non-human Troops (to be named later). So, to directly answer your question, “No.” Each Faction does not have a ‘main race’, but some Factions may ‘appear’ to have a strong racial theme.
Fanstratics Question: I love angels, and your story about the archangel was quite fun. But I found myself secretly wishing for a female archangel by the story’s end. He wasn’t, and that’s fine (he still looks awesome!), but it got me thinking about HoMM3 and how the vast majority of units are male. I can only think of 3 off the top of my head that weren’t: The pixie/sprite, the medusa, and the rider of the Pegasus. So far the gallery for FST has been a lot closer to an even split. Can we expect that all the way to the end?
When it comes to the sex of the various Troops in HoMM3, it is clearly male-centric, and I always found it interesting how different people would interpret the ‘non-male’ Troops. For example, consider the Necropolis. To me, it was relatively obvious the Walking Dead, Zombies, Vampires, Vampire Lords, Black Knights, and Dread Knights were male. As to the remaining Troops, it was really open to interpretation. I always considered the Wight and Wraith to be female, but several people on the team thought they were male. What about the Skeleton/Skeleton Warrior? Lich/Power Lich? Bone Dragon/Ghost Dragon?
Regardless, when putting together the roster of Fanstratics’ factions, I am looking to ‘mix it up’, provided it makes logical sense within the reality of the FST world. A handful of Troops are unresolved, but the split is currently trending toward 40% Male, 30% Female, and 30% ‘Unknown’. Unknown constitutes those Troops where their sex is not obvious, such as the Gawker (aka Beholder). It’s a floating, spherical, monster with no obvious sex, and I’m going to keep it as such (I don’t want to be known as the guy who put a penis or a pair breasts on a Beholder). Other Troops falling into this category, would be the non-anthropomorphic types, such as the Bile Worm, the forthcoming Dragons, etc.
As for why the Archangel is male, there were a couple of considerations. Since HoMM3, the Archangel has become iconic to the HoMM series, and because of this, extra attention must be paid to this Troop. For Fanstratics, I wanted to keep this Troop conceptually consistent with HoMM3. It’s ideologically permissible for me to ‘rip off’ HoMM3, as I designed it. However, I also wanted to distance Fanstratics from the other HoMM games. Why? Fanstratics is specifically a ‘spiritual successor’ to HoMM3. Also, it’s less permissible for me to ‘rip off’ the other HoMM games, as I didn’t design those. So, in the end, I chose to make the Archangel male as it maintains consistency with HoMM3, while distancing Fanstratics from the other HoMM games.
While I like the idea of a female Archangel, in my mind, Ubisoft has claimed this territory. If I had made the Fanstratics Archangel female, I have no doubt I would have been accused of ‘ripping off’ HoMM5/6/7. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ubisoft, or the HoMM5 team, made their Archangel female to specifically distance themselves from HoMM3 and make HoMM their own. If I were in their shoes, I would have done the same thing.