Gameplanet offers an interview with Ubisoft's producer Erwan Le Breton on the oddly-titled Might & Magic Heroes VI, and it's a surprisingly focused and interesting one, in which many of the design decisions for the title get tackled. Here's a sampling:
Gameplanet: Heroes has a strong following of arguably seasoned gamers, precisely the type of audience unlikely to be wowed by social networking widgets. Why the desire to push them towards these platforms?
Le Breton: We have to disagree with you. The Might & Magic community is one of the most active at Ubisoft. Our official sites and Facebook pages are consulted daily, and with the game about to be released, the numerous community sites are buzzing with excitement! Our fans are constantly connected, with each other, with the world of Might & Magic, and for some of them, with us.
With Heroes VI, we will facilitate this connection. And these networking widgets are among the many options we have added to the Heroes formula so players can really customize their experience. If you like it, it's there, it you don't need it, simply don't use it.
Gameplanet: Have you actively attempted to simplify this game in order to make it appeal to a wider market?
Le Breton: Our aim for Heroes VI was to make it more accessible, which does not mean simple, dull, or boring. If you want to have fun with a game, you have first to understand its rules. You also need to trim all unnecessary repetitive, tedious tasks. Heroes VI focuses on the fun parts of the game (capturing and developing towns, expanding your empire, selecting and levelling up your heroes, experiencing countless tactics on the battle maps, etc.). Heroes VI also puts you in control of your choices, and we have done our best to ensure that the consequences of these choices were logical and meaningful.
We have purged the random choices and inconsistent prerequisites. We have found ways to reduce the time spent in repetitive micromanagement (for instance using (mule) heroes to carry troops and flag isolated mines over and again across already-explored and emptied areas). But the game is still rich, deep, dense! For instance, there are over 200 hero abilities in the game, and they combine with your creature abilities, your artefacts, and even some abilities granted by specific buildings in your town.