Hope each of you is safe and healthy.
This month, I have five topics concerning the Allegiant Halberdier, HoMM3 source code, and Ubisoft. No HoMM3 Recollection this month. I was working on a two-part Recollection, but I simply ran out of time and energy. Part one should be ready next month.
Until next time.
Fanstratics Game Director & Designer
Fanstratics Troop: Halberdier
Many Heroes disregard low-level Troops as battlefield fodder for higher-tier enemies. Shrewd Heroes know Allegiant Halberdiers are different. Trained and geared for assaulting ‘greater’ enemies, these stout soldiers specialize in countering Giants and Jousting Troops. When assembled in substantial numbers, and facing down larger opponents, Halberdiers thrive.
Typically, when conceptualizing a Troop, Justin and I have hashed out a three-step process: thumbnails, rough, and final render. This time, because we were creating a fairly stereotypical humanoid troop, we skipped the ‘rough’. I think it turned out great. :-)
HoMM3 Question: Heroes III HD ended up being a significant disappointment for me on the iPad for the following reasons.It was only ever the basic game, NOT the expansions too.This struck me as an incredibly stupid and disappointing move, since Heroes III Complete was long established and very well supported by third party maps.At the time, it seemed to me that it was simply money-grabbing, but later, someone (you?!) said they thought that the expansions weren't made HD because Ubisoft had lost the original resources.(Even if that were true, I'd have hoped that something could be done.)
HoMM3 HD was released in late January, 2015.At this time, to my understanding, the source code for the subsequent expansions (AB, SOD, Complete, etc.), was lost.I asked around, looking for a copy, but unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, everyone was honorable and did not steal any NWC code.Later, it was brought to my attention, a programmer named John Morris, claimed he had a copy of the source from doing Macintosh ports of HoMM3 and HoMM3 Complete. This was from a Twitter post in October 2017. Later, in March of 2019, he also stated he had FTP’d the source to UbiSoft, but had heard nothing from them since. So, according to John’s account, UbiSoft has all the source code.
HoMM3 Question: There is a guy unrelated to HOMM3 development who has both source and beta, but he refuses to share, and actually said he had sent the source to Current HOMM Copyright Holders, and "if they do not allow me, I am not releasing these".Two years passed since, so...and this guy is a supposed preservationist, he should know better than to sit on anything.Could you maybe ask him for those?These both are needed just for interest, as reverse-engineering of code had been done many times, also there is that Dreamcast RoE-based thing (I am not a programmer, so cannot explain proper).Sorry for asking this, I just hope that maybe he would listen to you.
To my knowledge, John Morris was contracted by 3DO to port HoMM3 to iOS.If he were to release the source code to the public (without permission), or give it to me, I have no doubt Ubisoft would take him to civil court and sue him for damages to their intellectual property.Additionally, my possessing the original HoMM3 source code, could expose me to a potential lawsuit.Only Ubisoft is supposed to have the HoMM3 source code.Only Ubisoft can legally release it to the public.As long as HoMM3 continues to make money for them (GOG Edition, HD edition, etc.), I can’t imagine they would release the source code to the public.
HoMM3 Question: If only it (HoMM3) had custodians who actually care about it - like Blizzard with WarCraft, StarCraft and the like.Heroes is SO much better as a game, yet it's never seemed as though it was properly appreciated or marketed by its owners.
Many great franchises, not limited to video games, have suffered abuse at the hands of their owners.HoMM is not unique in this regard.
HoMM3 Question: So the folks at Ubisoft not like you or what? You worked on a game loved by millions and which still has a passionate 20 years after the fact.
I doubt I’m on their radar.
When Ubisoft bought the Might and Magic intellectual property, they briefly approached Jon Van Caneghem (JVC) about working on the project. They didn’t like his ideas, and decided to go their own way. Over the years, they have also been in touch with David Mullich, but not once did they speak to him about working on HoMM.
To this point... consider Star Wars. George Lucas wants to retire. He puts Kathleen Kennedy in charge of Lucasfilm and sells the franchise to Disney. Any reasonable person would want to keep George Lucas in the loop as they drafted scripts, cast the actors, shot footage, edited the film, etc. This didn't happen. Why? Kathleen Kennedy wanted to make her version of Star Wars and claim all the glory for herself. Involving George would have simply undercut her position.
I could be wrong, but I suspect it's no different regarding M&M, HoMM, and Ubisoft.
Believe me, if I had the money, I'd attempt to purchase the IP from Ubisoft, but I don't. Unless something dramatic occurs, I firmly believe, franchise reincarnation is the only way forward.