Heroes IV post-release Q&A

We sit down with developer New World Computing to find out what's next for 3DO's popular turn-based strategy game series.

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3DO recently released Heroes of Might and Magic IV, the latest game in its popular turn-based strategy game series. The game has since received praise from both the public for improving upon the previous games in the series while retaining the series' classic feel. GameSpot recently sat down with Jeff Blattner of New World Computing, the studio that created Heroes IV, to hear how the developers felt about their accomplishment and what lies in the future for the Heroes series.

GameSpot: Hi Jeff, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Now that Heroes IV is out, have you been pleased with the response from the public?

Jeff Blattner: I must say I am a little disappointed with the public response so far. Sure, people are lavishing praise on the game and spending hours and hours in a fruitless attempt to satiate that "just one more turn" addiction. But we really expected to be on the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Cigar Aficcionado. We are sitting by the phone for our congratulatory call from George W. Bush.

GS: What aspect of Heroes IV are you most pleased with?

JB: That's like asking which is your favorite child, isn't it? Everything turned out really well. The game looks great, plays great, and has some fantastic innovations beyond the previous games in the series. Perhaps the best part is being able to sit back and read about how many people are getting such tremendous enjoyment from the game.

GS: Many fans of the Heroes series have proven themselves to be dedicated, even fanatical. Did you have trouble reconciling the wishes of dedicated Heroes fans with those of the team, as well as with what more mainstream players would want?

JB: Last year we had a fan theme his bar mitzvah around Heroes of Might and Magic. We do have some incredibly enthusiastic fans but disappointingly few groupies.

We get tons of great feedback from our fans. Often, suggestions are very much in line with our present thoughts and plans. It would be impossible to make a game that used every suggestion we received, but we frequently measure our current development against what our fans are hoping for and/or expecting. The bottom line is that we make games that we all want to play, and we keep our fingers and assorted body parts crossed, hoping that other people will want to play them too.

I think we have a game that would appeal to a mass market, but the challenge is getting people to try the game. Most people get hooked once they play Heroes for any length of time.

GS: Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently? Or anything you had hoped to include that didn't make it into the game?

JB: I sure would have loved to include multiplayer in the box. In hindsight, we also shouldn't have used live fantasy creatures while testing combat for the game. PETFC (People for the Ethical Treatment of Fantasy Creatures) gave us some serious heat for that. Other than that, there is nothing I would have done differently.

GS: A lot of new content for Heroes III was released over the past few years. Do you have any plans to add more features or content to Heroes IV in upcoming expansions?

JB: Nothing has been announced yet. If I were a betting man, I would be willing to place some spare change on a Heroes IV expansion. However, no matter how many fans request it, we will not be including a "Teletubbies" town.

GS: Now that Might and Magic IX and Heroes IV are complete, what's next for New World? Are there any new projects in the works, or are you just focusing on supporting those games?

JB: We're planning our next projects as I am typing this right now (which is 47 percent more difficult than walking and chewing gum at the same time). Once we do have new projects, I promise you that GameSpot will be among the first to know.

The official order:
1. Management decides about new game
2. Dev team members are notified of precise details via Russian fan Web site
3. GameSpot story

GS: That sounds about right. Thanks for your time, Jeff.

For more information about Heroes of Might and Magic IV, take a look at our full review of the game.

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