PART I: HOMM IV (13.01.2002)
[Jeff] - Jeff Blattner (New World Computing/3DO)
[Yurg] - Yuri Bushin (Freelancer)
[Yurg] Hi, Jeff! Well... let's start! For how long has 3DO been working at HOMM4, and what will be the full name of the game?
[Jeff] We began planning Heroes IV soon after completing Heroes III: The Shadow of Death. The full name is simply Heroes of Might and Magic IV.
[Yurg] How can you explain the fact that such a popular game like HOMM still does not have a true rival? It is a rare phenomenon at the market!
[Jeff] There certainly has been a number of excellent turn-based strategy games developed over the past few years, so we're flattered that you consider the HOMM series to be unrivaled. I think part of our success is due to our commitment of creating great games that everyone can enjoy, as well as the highly addictive and immersive qualities of the game.
[Yurg] Please, tell something about the game storyline. Where will events take place? Exactly, what kind of cataclysm has destroyed Erathia?
[Jeff] The cataclysm that destroys Erathia occurs when the Sword of Frost clashes with Armageddon's Blade during a battle between two heroes. But before the resulting shockwave engulfs the planet, a fortunate few leap through portals to the new world of Axeoth.
[Yurg] As far as we know HOMM4 uses technology which allows creating "3d" landscape on strategic and tactical level. Could you please describe how this environment affects the game?
[Jeff] Heroes IV is a 2D game like its predecessors, but the new game engine uses a terrain deformation algorithms to make the landscapes look more realistic. There are no strategic effects of the 3D visuals.
[Yurg] Will there be new kinds of lands and what attributes will they have?
[Jeff] The terrain types will essentially be the same ones used throughout the Heroes series: grass, dirt, swamp, sand, lava, rough, subterranean, snow and water. However, they will be more beautifully rendered than ever before.
[Yurg] As far as we know, HOMM4 allows gather several heroes into one party. Does it mean what it's now possible to make duets of Mage and Warrior? Or there will be restrictions for this style of fighting?
[Jeff] You can have up to seven heroes of any type in an army. There are no restrictions. However, Heroes do have morale and may not "like" the other heroes in the army.
[Yurg] To what extent will maps be increased if compared to HMM3 and will there be catacombs still?
[Jeff] Maps are slightly larger than they were in Heroes III, and we will have an underground layer.
[Yurg] Will there be any changes in the economic aspect of the game and will it be possible to trade with friendly neighbors?
[Jeff] The biggest economic change is the introduction of the Lord Hero, who can be made governor of a town and enhance its income. And, yes, you will be able to give resources to your allies.
[Yurg] How big will the magic arsenal be (how many principally new spells will be there)?
[Jeff] There are over 100 spells in the game. Many will be familiar to seasoned Heroes players, but there will be some new ones, including Flight (allows any of your creatures to fly during combat), Displacement (pushes an enemy aside), and Guardian Angel (grants extra lives).
[Yurg] Could you describe "quest system"?
[Jeff] The quest system is similar to that of Heroes 3, except that with our new scripting system, our mapmakers can make the quests more complicated and the rewards more diverse.
[Yurg] Could you describe "scenario editor", which could make random scenarios; will it be in-game features or editor's one?
[Jeff] Heroes IV's campaign editor allows players to create their own single scenario or multiple scenario maps, using all the same tools our own map-makers use, including the terrain deformation tool, scripting system, and wall builder. Heroes IV will not include a random map generator. This functionality always takes quite some time to perfect.
[Yurg] Will the number of artifacts and their combinations be increased?
[Jeff] There are about 175 artifacts with a wide range of effects. Some examples are the Potion of Quickness (heroes or creatures who drink this potion gain an extra attack), the Steadfast Shield (gives all friendly creatures within a 3 yard radius of the hero +25% hit points), the Staff of Summoning (reduces the cost of creature summoning spells by 50%), the Wand of Fire (casts the Fire Bolt spell), and Spider's Silk Arrow (casts Bind on enemy creatures struck by ranged attacks). Combinations of artifacts generally do not yield any special powers.
[Yurg] What can you tell us about the multiplayer mode?
[Jeff] Multiplayer mode will allow several players to join in on a heroes game via a modem, network, or internet connection. And, of course, we will also hotseat mode, where several players can take turns playing a game on the same computer.
[Yurg] Will be any possibilities left for potential Add-ons, as it was in HMM3?
[Jeff] Yes, we are planning on an expansion.
[Yurg] And the last question. At what stage of development is HMM4 now?
[Jeff] We are now putting all the finishing touches on the game. We are very hard at work trying to get it into the hands of all of our fans.
To be continued...