Many of you have approached me, asking to recount the events of the last ten years. I’m beginning to understand that many outside of the Holy Empire didn’t quite understand what was going on within our borders. As much pain as it causes me to recall the tragic events of this last decade, it is necessary if we are to bring an end to the bloodshed. This might take some time though. A lot happens in ten years, especially ten years of war.
But is the story I will tell you the truth? It would be presumptuous of me to say. I can only tell things as I saw them – my truth. Ask one of Seamus of Stag’s advisors and he might spin a widely different tale.
十年之战的故事 - Tales of the Ten Years War
843 YSD – Falcon’s Last Flight
If Empress Maeve Falcon committed a sin, it is certainly the sin of pride. It is often when you think you have everything under control that it all falls apart. The dangers of unreasonable pride will be a recurring theme in this story. So much that in centuries to come, historians may well call this war, “the War of Pride”.
Where to begin? Maybe with the prophecy.
At the dawn of our era, what the scholars call the “Historical Age”, Ronan the Great, High King of the Falcon Clan, defeated his rivals and had them bend the knee before him. The Human clans were no more. An Empire was born.
It is said that on the day of Ronan’s crowning, the Seventh Dragon himself, Sar-Elam, appeared to the new Emperor and talked with a voice that was both ancient and timeless. “Emperor of the Falcon!” he said. “Your blood is the blood of Men. For as long as your blood endures, the children of Ylath shall prosper.”
…Well, he probably didn’t say these exact words, but all accounts at least agree to their meaning: as long as the Falcon dynasty existed, the children of Ylath – the Human race – would prosper.
But of course, Sar-Elam’s words also turned the Falcon line into targets. The Demons of Sheogh, in particular, made several attempts against the Falcon Emperors through history.
憎恨的计划 - Hateful Plans
In 564 YSD, the Second Eclipse reddened the skies of Ashan, two years earlier than the Blind Brothers had predicted. The Demon Prince of Hate, Ahribban, who had been hatching plans to spread dissent and enmity within the Empire for years, personally led the siege of the Empire’s capital city, Falcon’s Reach. Emperor Liam Falcon died in battle, while Demon cultists led by the traitor Jezebeth hunted down his heirs.
Fortunately, the Duke of Griffin, Anton, managed to kill Jezebeth and rescue Liam’s only remaining family: his niece Gwendolyn. The princess safe, the imperial armies joined forces to liberate Falcon’s Reach and destroy Ahribban.
And so the infernal plans were thwarted, and the blood of Ronan kept flowing.
When the time of the Fourth Eclipse arrived, Empress Maeve was ready. The Blind Brothers had perfected their art, and this time their predictions were completely accurate. The Eclipse happened the very moment it was expected, and when the Demons unfurled upon the lands of the Holy Empire, the Knights of the Light were there to welcome them with blessed steel in hand.
Everything was under control.
But Empress Maeve was underestimating the current ruler of Sheogh, the one they call the Demon Sovereign. While the Demons were being routed on the battlefields, a party of assassins infiltrated the walls of Falcon’s Reach. At their head was none other than Jezebeth, who had been offered – or cursed with, depending on the way you look at it – a second life in Sheogh as a Succubus.
Jezebeth was hell-bent on finishing what she had failed to do four centuries earlier. Jezebeth and her Demons stormed Maeve’s throne room, killing the Empress and slaughtering her entire family. Then, they burnt Falcon’s Reach to the ground, to ensure no heir of Falcon would survive.
The Fourth Eclipse ended with the Demons’ defeat… and their greatest victory.
血债血偿 - Blood for blood
Yet the world of Men didn’t seem in a hurry to end. And for scholars, that could mean only two things.
The skeptics reasoned that Sar-Elam’s prophecy could have been wrong all along, or at least misinterpreted. That happens all the time, really – just as you should never trust someone claiming to possess the one and only truth, you should never believe someone who claims his interpretation of a prophecy is the right one.
The faithful, on the other hand, claimed that Maeve’s son Brendan had somehow survived the massacre of Falcon’s Reach. As unlikely as it sounded, many in the Empire wanted to believe it. The Church of Light proclaimed there would be one year of mourning: if the child Brendan was found alive during this period, he would inherit the throne. If he was not found, then he would be declared dead, and a new Emperor would be chosen among the Dukes of the Empire.
That time was spent hunting the last pockets of Demon marauders. Among them was Jezebeth herself. It was Ivan of Griffin, leading a company of griffin riders, who located and cornered her. The Succubus had been trying to hide in plain sight, in the ruins of Castelrose, the old citadel of the Holy Inquisition.
It was no secret that Ivan had been good friends with Empress Maeve, and he showed her assassin no mercy. You probably know the folk song their encounter inspired? I think it goes like this:
The lyrical qualities of this piece are certainly debatable, but that’s not the point. What is important is what the song doesn’t mention: the fact Jezebeth had one last bargaining chip to offer in the hopes of saving her sorry hide. In a last, desperate gambit, she offered information about the boy Brendan. But Ivan replied that he would never believe one word spoken by an assassin, especially a Succubus. And that’s when he cut her head off with a mighty swing of his sword.
With Jezebeth’s death, the Fourth Eclipse was finally over. But in the Empire the troubles were only beginning…
以下从左到右分别是Limbic CEO，Stephan Winter，英雄无敌7主设计师Xavier Penin ，制作人Gary Paulini。
Upon the announcement of Heroes VII, we sent a series of questions to Ubisoft about the upcoming game as well as other related material. Instead of forcing you to read more of my babble, here it is:
- Kalah: Many fans of the Might & Magic series have been hankering to see Jon Van Caneghem back making games. Have Ubisoft considered talking to him about a future collaboration?
- Kalah：很多魔法门系列的粉丝都期待JVC老爷子（Jon Van Caneghem）回归。请问育碧将来会有这样的打算吗？
- Gary Paulini: Actually, we met Jon Van Caneghem back at GamesCom last year when introducing Might & Magic X – Legacy. It was a really great meeting (and a great moment for Julien, as he`s a die-hard fan). By that time, he was working on Command & Conquer for EA. We haven`t had the chance to get in touch with him since the release of MMXL. We believe he`s currently working on new projects, and we really wish him the best for the future. We are confident that whatever he creates next will be awesome!
- Gary Paulini: 其实，我们在去年开发 魔法门X：传承的时候面见了JVC老爷子。那是一场伟大的会面（当然也是死狂粉Julien人生的辉煌时刻）。那时候老爷子正在EA开发命令与征服系列。我们未能在MMX发售前与老爷子取得联系。我想老爷子正在从事新的项目，我们也希望老爷子前程似锦。我们相信，无论老爷子接下来做什么都是最棒的！
- Kalah: A question specifically for Limbic: You started out by taking over the development of Heroes VI, then you developed MMX on your own, and now you have been given the task of developing Heroes VII. Would you say this is your biggest task so far? What have you learned from the past couple of years working on the other games in the MM franchise?
- Stephan Winter: First and foremost Heroes VII for sure is the biggest project in our collaboration with Ubi. It`s great for us to be onboard right from the beginning of the development this time around. And on Ubi`s side we have many familiar faces working with us once more - that feels good!
- From a development point of view, from Heroes VI and its adventure packs we learned to be smart about the way we create content. On the one hand content creation is always a time consuming process but on the other hand I am confident that we made some good decisions in regards to the engine, the editor tools and especially the connection between story writers and our level designers. As far as I can tell right now this seems to work quite well. For the moment we are not concerned about the amount of maps we are producing. We are still looking to add one or two new people to the level design team but overall the entire team did an amazing job to ensure that we can build the maps and campaigns for Heroes VII. All in all we (hopefully) learnt not to fall in the content trap!
- Even if Legacy was a different in-house team and scope, we benefit from it for Heroes VII. Legacy gave us the opportunity to do one full production cycle with Ubi – including all the required processes from localization, quality assurance, marketing, community work, etc. We had a very fruitful post-mortem with the Ubi team about what went right and wrong and I am sure we will benefit from it. For instance the idea of having the fans vote on two of the Heroes factions plus the Shadow Council approach is based on our first experience with what we did on a smaller scale with Legacy during the Open Dev.
- Kalah: What can you tell us about the skill and magic systems?
- Gary Paulini: Too early to tell! Some things are still being discussed internally, and it would be a shame to announce things which will not make it into the final game.
- Gary Paulini: 为时尚早！有些内容还在商议中，如果公布消息与最终结果不符将是令人汗颜的。
- Xavier Penin: The biggest info is that spells are outside the skill system again, and must be learned in town guilds, adventure map buildings or from other Heroes. Player can complete their Heroes` spell collection while exploring a map or completing a campaign. Heroes have a class (like Paladin) and that defines their skills. They also have a faction skill.
- Skills have a global effect and offer access to abilities, which have a more specialized effect. When levelling up, the player must spend a point to upgrade a skill or buy an ability. You cannot have everything so you must make choices: you can specialize or try to be balanced.
- Also, skills are divided into Might, Magic and Neutral categories, and are consistent with the Hero`s class.
- Xavier Penin:最大的消息是，本作的魔法系统再次与技能系统分离，并必须从城镇中的公会、冒险地图的相关建筑或是其他英雄那里学习。玩家能在探索地图或完成战役的同时搜集英雄的法术。英雄有不同职业（比如 圣骑士）来划定他们所能掌握的技能。他们同时也掌握着一个种族技能。技能有全局效果，同时也是掌握能力——提供更分化专一的效果的必要条件。当升级时，玩家必须花费技能点升级技能或是点选能力。你不能拥有一切技能，所以你必须做出抉择：专精还是通范。此外，技能划分为魔法、力量和中立三个类别，并与英雄的职业相符。
- Kalah: Tell us about the editors;
- - Will there be a map editor released with the game?
- Gary Paulini: Yes, there will be a map editor released with the game! As a matter of fact, the map editor should be considered a core feature of the main game, and we`re putting in a lot of effort and giving it a lot of love to make it as accessible as possible for players. We`ll give you more details really soon.
- Gary Paulini:是的，会在游戏发布时就有地图编辑器。实际上地图编辑器是游戏的核心功能之一，我们正倾注大量的精力和心血使其更加亲民便捷。我们不久之后就会公布其细节。
- - Fans were disappointed with the H6 editor and hardly any maps was made for the game; will the editor be better this time?
- Gary Paulini: Well... The easy answer is just: YES, plain and simple... As I already said, we`re putting in a lot of effort to design and develop the map editor. Moreover, we`re currently bringing some seasoned map makers to help us improving the User Experience (including UI), but also testing the map editor.
- But keep in mind it`s always easier said than done. So instead of bragging and trying to oversell it, I would simply put it this way: you can be the judge when the game is out!
- Gary Paulini:嗯……最简单答案是：是的，简单明了……正如我早已说过的，我们投入大量精力开设计和开发地图编辑器。此外我们也邀请了一些资深地图制作者，来协助我们改善用户体验（如操作界面），同时测试编辑器。 但请记住，所有事物总是说起来容易，做起来难。所以我不会吹牛或者套空话，而是只会说：游戏出来了你就知道了。
- - What about an RMG?
- Gary Paulini: As I said previously, we`re really working a lot on the map editor! We`ll provide you more information as soon as possible.
- Gary Paulini:正如前面所讲，我们真的往地图编辑器里加了很多东西。我们将尽快提供更多消息。
- - Can the editor be used to make campaigns with carryover heroes?
- Gary Paulini: We`d certainly love to have the campaign editor right from the start and that`s something we`re looking into. However, I don`t want to say or promise anything as we`re still really far away from the release.
- Gary Paulini:大家肯定喜欢一开始有战役编辑器，这也是我们现在正在努力研究的。不过，我还尚不能做出承诺，毕竟离游戏发布还早。
- Xavier Penin: As a matter of fact the campaign editor is planned and would allow carryover heroes, but also artifacts and other data to be used for storytelling.
- Xavier Penin:事实上，战役编辑器或许会允许英雄保留，包括宝物和数据用来满足剧情需求。
- Kalah: Is there an online system? What about DRM?
- Gary Paulini: I guess the question is more: will the game use Uplay? Am I wrong? More seriously, Uplay is part of Ubisoft corporate strategy so it will be part of Heroes VII. However, as we`ve mentioned before, Uplay doesn`t mean permanent connection anymore. Just like Steam, you have to connect once to activate your game and then you can play offline as long as you want. It will be this way in Heroes VII.
- Gary Paulini:我想这个问题也代表着：会用到uplay吗？不是么？严肃的说，uplay是育碧公司战略的一部分，所以也会将是英雄无敌7的一部分。然而，正如之前所说，uplay并不是意味着全程连线。如steam一样，你必须在uplay上激活一次英雄无敌7，之后你也可以选择离线模式。这即是英雄无敌7的模式。
- Xavier Penin: The game will feature the classic online modes and maybe even more.
- Xavier Penin:游戏将采用经典的在线模式，或者还有别的什么。
- Kalah: Battle system and battlefield - what can you tell us about this?
- Gary Paulini: There are really many things to say about those topics. I don`t want to give away too many details, as we`ll unveil them through the Shadow Council website. You should definitely keep an eye on it to get as much information as possible. Instead, I`ll just throw out some teaser words: different combat map layouts, obstacles, different victory conditions... and flanking!
- Basically, we`re not trying to reinvent the wheel, but using the combat of the previous Heroes titles as the basis and building from there, hopefully bringing some interesting variations to the battlefield.
- Gary Paulini:谈起这些真有不少可以透露的。我不想谈太多细节，因为我们将通过影子议会公布它们。你一定要擦亮眼睛关注官网的信息动态啊。在这里我就留下些令人遐想连篇的话吧：不同的战场布局、障碍物、获胜条件，以及侧翼攻击系统！ 基本上我们并未推倒重来，而是结合历代英雄无敌战斗精华并加以创新和改进，以带来充满有趣变化的战场系统。
- Xavier Penin: The motto for the battle system in H7 is less abilities, more tactics. We want dynamic battles with movement, risk and sacrifices. We want to encourage offense and reward smart placement of units and use of space. Also, we want to strongly emphasize each faction`s battle style, through faction skills but also creature stats and abilities.
- Another big topic is the variety of battle maps and NPC formations. You will encounter surprising terrain and enemy formations, varied armies using specific tactics.
- Xavier Penin:英雄无敌7战场系统的座右铭是：能力变少，战术变多。我们需要动态的战斗、移动、冒险和牺牲。我们要鼓励进攻，慎密的战场布局和空间利用。此外，我们通过种族技能、生物的属性和能力，着重强调每个势力的战斗特色。 另一大话题就是各种战术地图和NPC编队。你会遇到奇形怪状的地图，千奇百怪的敌人，以及使用特定战术的敌军。
- Kalah: Lineup;
- - Which factions?
- Gary Paulini: If you`ve seen the trailer (and we certainly hope you have!), you already know that 6 factions are planned for Heroes VII. 4 of them were decided early on due to production constraints: Haven (as usual I would say), Academy (finally making their big comeback!), Necropolis, and Stronghold. In the meantime, the remaining 2 factions are not set in stone, and in fact we chose to let the fans decide what they want in the game. Right now, a vote is currently ongoing on the Shadow Council website offering fans the choice between Sylvan and Fortress, which will be followed by other votes (such as the 2nd implemented, affecting the storyline, the environments, the lineup and abilities. Basically we`re letting fans be a huge part of the development process, allowing them to help make the Heroes title they want. So don`t miss out this opportunity and please make sure to spread the word in the various communities!
- Gary Paulini:如果你看过预告片（我们也当然希望你看了！），你就已经知道，英雄无敌7原版会有六个势力。其中四个早已加入开发日程：圣堂（例行公事），学院（强势回归！），墓园和据点。与此同时，剩余的两个席位并非一成不变，而实际上我们希望玩家们选择谁将出现在游戏中。眼下，在影子议会网站，森林与壁垒的投票竞争正在进行着，第二轮投票也将紧随其后。这将影响最终游戏内故事情节、环境、势力和能力的最终实施。基本上我们让玩家参与很大一部分开发进程，来决定最终成为他们自己想要成为的英雄，所以千万不要错过这个千载难逢的好机会，请一定要把它在各个网络渠道传播开来！
- - Units?
- Gary Paulini: You should take a look at the Shadow Council website as it already contains details about announced creatures. Stay tuned for more as we`ll unveil more details during the development!
- Gary Paulini:你应该看看影子议会网站，那里已公布许多兵种细节。我们将会在不久的将来公布更多，敬请期待！
- Xavier Penin: The biggest news is the comeback of war machines in a different form, but with a similar role to what they played in older games. You will be surprised.
- Xavier Penin: 最大的新闻是像前几代作品一样，战争机器将会复出。虽然有不同的形式，但作用方式都相似。你将会感到十分惊讶。
- - Neutrals?
- Gary Paulini: Sure neutrals will be part of Heroes VII. I can`t give you more details at present, but we`ll make sure to make them an important part of the game.
- Gary Paulini:中立生物当然会成为英雄无敌7的一部分。我不能透露更多细节，但我们确保中立生物会在游戏中占有重要地位。
- Xavier Penin: We know the importance of having neutrals to provide variety in random encounters, but we also count on the variety of armies, formations and terrain to reach this objective.
- Xavier Penin:我们都知道中立生物提供的各种随机遭遇战的重要性，我们也对野兵组成、排兵布阵和地形因素进行推敲来达成这一目标。
- Kalah: Game economy: what resources? Are some resources linked to specific factions?
- Gary Paulini: We did our homework and heard your feedback. There will be 7 resources in Heroes VII, and some of them will be linked to specific units tiers. So, more than ever, controlling resources will be the key to success.
- Gary Paulini:我们悉心为您的反馈作出工作。英雄无敌7将有7种资源，有些会与在特定的单位层级息息相关。因此，与以往相比，控制资源更是成功的关键。
- Xavier Penin: Some factions will need certain resources more than others, but we don`t want to create bottlenecks. Those factions will have means to gather their preferred resources even in difficult situations, through hero abilities and town buildings.
- Xavier Penin:某些派系更青睐特定的某种资源，但我们不希望做出瓶颈。即使在十分困难的情形下，通过英雄技能和城镇建筑，这些派系也会收集到他们首需的资源。
- Kalah: What will the campaign be about? Where are we in the MM timeline?
- Gary Paulini: The "framing" story of Might & Magic Heroes VII takes place in 853 YSD. That`s ten years after the Fourth Eclipse and the death of Empress Maeve Falcon, leaving the throne empty and the Empire in turmoil. After countless battles, treaties, betrayals and alliances, two contestants remain to claim the crown: Ivan of Griffin, and Seamus of Stag. Now most of you are aware that in the end Ivan wins the war and becomes Emperor. What you don`t know is that it almost didn`t happen.
- We meet Ivan in a state of self-doubt: the war has taken its toll on both his body and mind. He saw a lot of horrors and devastation, and he probably committed a few himself. Now he is tired of it all, wanting to lay down arms, declare the independence of his Duchy and leave the Empire to Seamus. But as he`s about to make this fateful decision, his council of advisors (among them a few familiar faces) start telling him stories of past heroes, who, like Ivan, were faced with impossible choices.
- These stories are the six campaigns of Heroes VII, each focusing on a key moment of the history of one particular faction ... And that`s all we will say for now.
- Gary Paulini:英雄无敌7的故事取自七龙纪853 ，第四次血月之蚀与玫芙女王去世十年后，王位空悬，帝国陷入动荡中。经历过无数次战斗、围剿、联盟、背信和协约，现在只有两位候选者：雄鹿公国的谢玛斯和狮鹫公国的伊凡。大多数人都知道，伊凡最终取得胜利。但你不知道的是，这场胜利差点落空。我们正巧目睹伊凡自我质疑的状态，五年的战争已损耗了他的身心。他看到了不少惊惧与破坏，其中一些还是他亲手犯下的。现在他已倦怠，准备放下武器，诉求他和他的公国独立，离开谢玛斯的帝国。但当他正准备做出这个决定的时候，他议会的参谋（其中有几张熟悉的面孔）开始告诉他过去那些像伊凡一样的英雄，是如何面对天命之选的。 这个故事由6章战役组成，各侧重于某族的某一关键时刻……而这一切，正是我们现在要说的。
- Kalah: Who does the music? Will the fans` favourite duo King/Romero return?
- Gary Paulini: Heroes is not Heroes without Rob and Paul. So for sure they`ll return... oh sorry, I should say they already returned as some of their new compositions can already be heard within the demo presented at GamesCom.
- Roc Chen, a composer who has worked on the Heroes VI Adventure Packs and also on MMX – Legacy, has also contributed some tracks to the game.
- Gary Paulini:无Paul和Rob，不成英雄无敌。所以我相信他们会回归……哦，对不起，我应该说在GamesCom的演示中，你们已经听到他们回归后的作品了。Roc Chen，MMX与英雄无敌6探险包的音乐制作人（译者注：也是部分网龙版英雄无敌在线音乐的制作者），也制作了一些游戏中的音乐。
- Kalah: System requirements?
- Kalah: 配置需求如何？
- Gary Paulini: Hard to say right now as the game is still in development, changes are being made, features are being added. However, we`re focusing a lot on system requirements to make sure the game can be run on a wide range of computers.
- Gary Paulini:很难说，因为现在游戏还在开发中，正在不断进行修改，功能正在增加。然而，我们仍十分重视系统要求，以便游戏在大多数计算机上都能运行。