HD Wizards: Heroes Of Might & Magic III HD Announced

The judges give champions Skeleton Crew four stars - a perfect score.

In my hypothetical Gaming Made Me, playing hotseat Heroes of Might & Magic would be the moment where I discovered multiplayer. HoMM 2, maybe. Then I discovered I could shoot faces in multiplayer, and scampered off in that direction. I haven’t played a HoMM in yonks (and hear rough things about recent games), is the point, so I’m glad to see Ubisoft rework one of the classics. Yesterday they announced Heroes of Might & Magic III – HD Edition with a release date of January 29th, 2015.

What does this HDifying bring? Literal HDness, with support for modern widescreen resolutions, and a load of redrawn sprites. Many revamped re-releases over recent years go wrong when they redraw art, not capturing the original style, but this looks pretty good to me. It’ll also offer online multiplayer lobbies using Steamworks.

Unfortunately, HoMM III HD will only be the base game, The Restoration of Erathia, without its expansions. Ubisoft explain in the announcement:

To understand the origin of the project and its development we need to go back to 2003. At that time we asked New World Computing to retrieve their archives for all the Might & Magic titles. We found tons of documentation and data but regarding Heroes III we had nothing but the usable source code of Heroes III Restoration of Erathia.

Boo. Hiss. I wonder how much Future People will mourn our sloppy backups. Many groups are now trying to preserve old games, gaming systems, and source code, but a whole lot is already lost.

Might & Magic Heroes VII is still in development, mind, inverted name and all.

Anyway, here’s a look at someone HDifying HoMM 3’s Hydra:

43 Comments

  1. Anthile says:

    link to gog.com

    Accept no substitutes. Grab mods for better resolution and fonts.

    • rocketman71 says:

      And no shitty Uplay. Fuck Ubi.

      • EvaUnit02 says:

        This very article states that the game uses Steamworks. Get your facts straight before you go off being an irrational, reactionary retard.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Similar to what I wanted to say. Also keep in mind it’s often discounted during sales (as it is right now, by the way, because of the winter sale).

  2. golem09 says:

    The expansionsless release bothers me quite a bit, so with the PC Version + mods available it’s a pretty useless edition for me.

    What could be interesting though, is the tablet release of this. Hot Seat with actually passing around the tablet sounds…. awesome.

    • Moraven says:

      Someone had an mod/app on Android to play Heroes 2. It worked pretty well.

      I look forward to random games with my wife during the evening on the tablet. Or even on PC, since we can probably have windowed mode and alt tab.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      While it’s a bummer that the expansions aren’t included, it should be noted that they don’t add anything substantial in terms of gameplay mechanics, except for one unfinished faction* and a rather janky random map generator. The campaigns were really good though :-(

      *The conflux faction added in Armageddon’s Blade is hilariously, brokenly overpowered, and the graphics for its units are crappy placeholders. Apparently something went very wrong during development and a steampunk faction was cancelled on short notice leading to the mess that is Conflux. There’s more to the story but its been a while.

      • froz says:

        I disagree. Random map generator was single best feature in the game. It’s pretty much one of the main reasons why I still keep playing the game from time to time. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it really is good and a must-have feature.

        I also disagree about conflux. I don’t think it’s OP, unless you talk about small maps (because lvl 2-5 in conflux are basically at the same level, meaning that lvl 2 is better then average lvl 2, but lvl 5 is weaker then average lvl 5, so as low levels are better, on small maps you have adventage, on big maps it’s not really an issue and considering all units this castle is quite weak, that’s why it’s focused on magic.

        There were also new items and monsters in the expansions and I believe some balancing changes, but I’m not sure about it. Probably some new heroes as well.

        But the random map generator is the most important, without it I can’t imagine playing the game with my friends anymore. Sure, there are lots of user-generated maps, but usually either you played them or you don’t know if they are well-balanced for multiplayer. There are also infinitely less user-generated maps then the generator can generate :).

        Seriously, this HD remake is not needed, when we have great Horn of Abbys fan-made patch with new castle and many other, small improvements (omg, those small UI improvements, extra buttons etc. – it really is much better then original).

    • mr48 says:

      There is an emulator called Exagear Strategies that runs Heroes 3 quite well. Works great on my 2013 Nexus 7.

  3. Kefren says:

    Interesting, though I have mixed feelings on almost every element. On the one hand I love the game, but on the other I have never desired HD graphics – I think the existing ones are fine, though the HD hydra definitely does keep the original style. On the one hand the original game with no expansions probably has more gaming hours available in it than most people play; on the other hand, it is nice to have the full game as GOG offers. On the one hand updates can be nice; on the other, they are sometimes worse (e.g. I prefer the original HoMM2 soundrack to the one now available on GOG, though they do make the original soundtrack available as extra files). I also worry that they might add extra DRM, as with MMX (link to rockpapershotgun.com) which I decided not to buy because I didn’t want to use Uplay; my DRM-free GOG version (and the version I have on CD) install with no extra accounts, online connection, or shenanigans required.

  4. xfstef says:

    Oh great, they are changing the title on this one as well.
    This is just an insult to the series. M&M was NOT better or more popular or more loved or more played or sold more than the HoMM series.
    Why in Christ do they absolutely need to change the title around is just fucking beyond me. I’m pretty sure there are a bunch of retards sitting in on the Ubisoft board going “… um yea… what’s this game ?!?! oh some strategy shit, what do you call it ? HoMM ?!? well shit that’s not good, let’s switch it around, we’ll make it look like we’ve got the whole series under the same name… just like those King guys, they’re pretty smart, makin’ loads of money and stuff … yep, yea ! that’s it… what a great plan, I’ll go tell my slaves at the estate how I “turned” a dying brand around, everyone will certainly congratulate me on my genius….”
    … meanwhile H6 releases and it’s shit.

    Look I like it that they are remastering the sprites but if they change the name, I will see it as a mockery towards the fans.

    • pepperfez says:

      While I’m leaning more towards derisive laughter than outrage, it is a deeply silly branding move they’re making.

    • RanDomino says:

      HOMM died at V, when they switched from hexes to grid and changed the art style to “horrible Russian”.

      • xfstef says:

        Still Ubisofts’ doing but at least H5 was a decent experience, although the game itself moves obscenely slow, and no, the graphics weren’t the problem, the AI was. I think they were trying to push the player base to go online and play against each other and thus gave no shits regarding the AI move times which were horrifyingly long.

      • Niko says:

        I sometimes think HOMM3 art was a pinnacle of hi-res sprite graphics.

    • green frog says:

      What are you talking about? Sounds like they’re just adding “HD Edition” on the end.

      “Yesterday they announced Heroes of Might & Magic III – HD Edition”

      Or are you talking about Heroes 7? At any rate, you seem way too worked up over something as inconsequential as which order the words in the title are arranged.

      • Not Marvelous says:

        Actually the link provided (mostly) uses the Might & Magic: Heroes III as a title, yuck.

    • Niko says:

      “Retards”?

      • xfstef says:

        Mentally incapable of managing their assets.
        Does that sound better now ???

  5. Fanbuoy says:

    Ubisoft going for Steamworks? Interesting…

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      Not without precedent, though; Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is also Steamworks only.

  6. SkittleDiddler says:

    Really? Is this what this “generation” of video games is going to be about? Friggin’ HD remakes…

  7. waltC says:

    M&M 10, was thankfully, not a remake. The problem with it was that Ubisoft left it with lots of bugs and rough edges, and pretty much immediately dropped support a few months after it shipped. Too bad that Ubisoft didn’t revitalize the M&M (not Heros) franchise…but just did this one M&M game and left it hanging in space by itself. This is what will happen with this game, too, although this one is a remake/remastered game as opposed to something original.

  8. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    This is a big meh. HOMMIII with all the expansions is much better, and cheaply available on Gog. It plays fine. Who cares about an PC HD remake that misses all the expansions. Better graphics with half the content.

    My 13-year old son plays hotseat on the original with his buddies all the time. They love it’s old school goodness because the core of the game still stands up after all this time.

    I agree, on tablet would be pretty nice.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      It’s a big ‘meh’ for me because Heroes 3 is far and away my least favourite in the series (haven’t played 1 or 6, just to point that out, and both are probably worse).
      Note that I’m not saying 3 is in ANY way a bad game, it’s fantastic. But its visuals were a huge step down from 2 in my opinion and the gameplay wasn’t in any meaningful way improved. 4 experimented much more and while large parts of that experiment were a failure, I at least found it interesting and enjoyable to mess around with. And 5, for me, felt like the best bits of 2, 3 and 4 with lovely visuals (seriously, why am I the only person on the planet who doesn’t hate 5’s art?).
      All in all, I have just never felt compelled to play 3. I poked around with it on my old disc like a year ago because I didn’t have a rig that’d run 5 at the time, but eh, it was still just ‘alright’.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    link to sites.google.com

    Unofficial, fan-made HoMM 3 HD patch that does SO much for the base game, although, again, is not compatible with the three xpacks.

    “Compability: The Shadow of Death, Complete, Horn of the Abyss 1.3.x – 100%
    WoG 3.58, TE, WT, ERA – some features are not available

    HoMM 3 HD is NOT COMPATIBLE with Restoration of Erathia, Armageddons Blade, Heroes Chronicles.”

    • MisterMumbles says:

      You do realize Complete, which is compatible, is the base game and its two expansions as available from GOG.

      I don’t really count Heroes Chronicles as a real expansion. It’s more of a standalone bridge between HoMM3 and HoMM4… which I find kind of funny because I’ve never actually played any of these games for story. Hell, the original didn’t even have a story other than “pick one of them and beat the stuffing out of your opponents and win!” So I’ve always viewed it as extra fluff. In HoMM V’s case it was quite amusing in its sillyness while trying to come off as serious.

  10. Morph says:

    Well if this post has done anything it has helpfully informed me that HoMM3 is on GoG for a few quid. Off to buy it…

  11. josch says:

    While a pity that they lost the sources for the expansions it matters little because:

    If you love heroes of might and magic 3 then check out the vcmi project:

    link to forum.vcmi.eu

    It is a free reimplementation of the heroes of might and magic 3 engine. Just add the graphics and sounds of your original game (it wil automatically extract them from the CDs or the GOG installer) and play homam3 with all its expansions in HD already today!

    On top of support for higher resolutions, vcmi also brings vastly increased modding support so that you can easily add your own faction or in fact even create a whole new game on top of the engine as literary *everything* can be modified.

    If you are running a Debian or Ubuntu then it’s super trivial to install vcmi because it is packaged for them (just apt-get install vcmi).

  12. karnak says:

    Great!

    Instead of using their time to create new games, they’re spending it on “face-lifting” old ones.

    :(

    (sigh)

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      To be fair, from what I’ve heard about Heroes 6 that’s probably not a bad thing.

      • karnak says:

        One thing is to emulate an old gaming formula, using new technology and creating a new story and setting (what HOMM VI) did. That is creation, regardless of the final result.

        Another different thing is to remake old pixels in HD format and sell it as something new. That’s just cash-grab.

  13. xfstef says:

    Guys, Everyone ! You need to see this:
    link to neogaf.com

    I think we need an angry mob to burn them down…

    • Horg says:

      Holy pixelated sprites, Batman! Yeah, they got caught making HOMM3 out to be far uglier than it ever was to justify a new edition. I’m not even sure how they got it to look that ugly in the first place, even if you turn the graphics quality down in the GoG copy it doesn’t look anywhere near that bad.

      Lying to your customers over the visual fidelity of a classic title, that’s a paddlin’.

    • froz says:

      Thank you! I knew something was wrong with that “original” hydra. I played HOMM III last time just a week ago and it’s still good looking (with low resultion, can’t really play full HD or everything is very small).

  14. catscratch says:

    Meh. People put up with Uplay because they can’t get Ubi’s games without it. Now they’re gonna be competing with GoG that has a more complete edition of the game without any DRM and for a few bucks. I daresay this is gonna flop.

    I put probably more time into HOMM3 than any other game besides Quake. I loved it, was terrible at it for a while, got taught how to play properly by a friend of mine who was one of the top players on TOH, and then finally started playing well. And played it for years and years. I even liked Heroes 4 despite the bugs, underneath the lack of polish was a very good, and very different strategy game. Then 3DO died, unfortunately took New World Computing with it, and the series died too in my mind. Heroes 5 was boring and generic and ignored every advance made in H4, and H6… the less said about that, the better. Maybe it was a good game, but most of us will never know because underneath the draconian, absurd DRM was a mess of game-crippling bugs, and you pretty much had to pirate the game to have a working version.

    Anyway… I kinda hope Ubisoft continue to do what they’re doing, because they’re eroding any good will gamers have towards them, and fast. Soon enough, their sales will start to suffer, and maybe they’ll go the way of 3DO too. Which means the franchises they have licenses for may actually end up in the hands of someone that gives a damn about them, instead of only caring to make money. I thought EA and Activision were bad (and they are) but this has been the year of Ubisoft making a fool of themselves.

    • Borsook says:

      H5 actually added most advances made in H4 to H3 formulae. E.g. caravan system, choices of upgrades. Even heroes could partially fight during battles. All in all H5 did use a lot of ideas from H4, and after expansions it is one of the best games in the series.

      Also, I’ve played through all H6 campaigns in the offline mode, the DRM was silly, but disabling it made for a very nice and stable game, while losing only meaningless additions (conflux system)

  15. Haborym says:

    Cool. I kinda liked HoMM3.

  16. Borsook says:

    I’m calling bullshit. The expansions did not add a ton of new code, mostly new campaigns and maps, not having source code for that is a very minor issue, one added faction (conflux) and some minor features can be recreated and the rest will just work with this version. As it is, the HD mod is a much better deal than this silliness.

  17. Shardz says:

    I got really excited when I saw the article, but the Steam part let the hot air out of the balloon for me. I’ll stick with the Heroes III Complete version and the awesome user patch which merges all expansions together. Thanks, though!

    • Biscuitry says:

      That user patch sounds rather good. Would you mind sharing a link, please?

  18. Hellgha says:

    Dreams come true thanks to the ExaGear Stratigies.
    Heroes of Might and Magic III, Disciples II and Civilization III.
    All this on smartphones and tablets based on Android.
    link to play.google.com

  19. someloser says:

    Ah, HoMM3… Happy memories. Back when game manuals were actual books on how to play the game rather than a pamphlet warning you that trying to eat the game disk may cause health issues.

    From memory, I think I bought the original game, the first expansion, and then later on, the complete edition. (on those fancy-pants CD-ROMs that pushed data uphill both ways why aren’t you off my lawn yet?)