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View Full Version : Ubisoft needs to learn from Stardock



sobaka770
10-04-2015, 11:51 PM
Here's a story of a game called Elemental: War of Magic, which was supposed to revolutionize the 4X genre 5 years ago. Coming from a well-known developer of Galactic Civilizations it was eagerly awaited by fans only to turn out to be rushed to market for full price, missing key features, full of bugs, lack of polish, balance and fun.

As the story of many such releases go, this franchise could've joined countless other overambitious overhyped releases now forgotten in the depths of the Steam Store, served as a cautionary tale for other developers of niche games. But it is not what happened.

What happened was miraculous indeed. First the president of Stardock issued an apology for the terrible state of the game at launch. In this apology he promised that Stardock values all its games and as such Elemental would not be thrown away. Instead the game would get full support, including not only the expected bug-fixing and balance changes but also a revamp of several in-game systems, including combat and magic, the improvements of AI, additions to gameplay, interface and even certain graphical elements. But that wasn't all, as for everyone who bought Elemental early the developer promised an expansion for free as an apology. This expansion would be released only when the core game would be in a playable state and not a day earlier.

As the story goes, Stardock worked for over a year fixing the game and then months more to release an expansion which was available for free for most people. And a miracle of the story is that the developer didn't whine of poor sales or reviews, didn't defend the niche market or lack of marketing. They found profit by restoring the franchise and recently released a new game (Sorcerer King) which is a continuation of Elemental without major bugs, or glitches or terrible animations for 40 EUR and continue to support and add major features to it.

I think there's no need to draw parallels between Elemental and Heroes 7 but the situation is quite similar. We got a game with low budget, unfinished, unpolished, full of bugs and glitches. It's time for Ubisoft to stop being the corporate villain, suck it up and gain some points by seizing the opportunity to work with fans (God know this franchise has many hardcore involved fans) and understand that immediate profit from selling an unfunded game for 60 EUR is just a short-term boost, but if you want to make the franchise go on, you gotta invest and think long-term.

So don't be stupid, issue an apology, and let Limbic fix the game. And by fixing I mean not adding Axeoth campaigns, but actually solving issues with AI, performance, terrible UI on certain screens, making new models and animations for those units that need them. Then put a price of 30 EUR on the whole package and see how reviews change so maybe you get to salvage something out of Might and Magic yet.

kohzh
10-05-2015, 03:10 AM
Meh, Stardock isn't that great an example compared to CD Projekt Red. Just look at how many nickel and diming DLCs Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes has... Compared to Age of Wonders 3 where a lot of these things which ended up being DLC content by Stardock were just patched into the game (new victory conditions, new mechanics, better random map generator seeds, etc.).

Or obviously of course, CD Projekt Red which releases the very significantly updated Enhanced Editions of their games for free and in the case of Witcher 3, something like 12 free DLCs (which probably costs them money to even publish on Xbox and PS).

victorash
10-05-2015, 06:21 AM
Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes and Elemental: War of Magic seem like nice tbs to play while devs will get the 1 year to fix H7

Greywolf_19
10-05-2015, 08:09 AM
Well kohzh, this is actually a perfect comparison. As I'm one who bought the CE for Elemental, and oh yeah the CE of HOMM VII. Ubisoft has sent a product that is not what if offered in both the physical items it described and the issues with the product. Stardock took care of the CE customers who ordered early in a way I have never seen. The apologies from the president was just a nice start. I didn't just receive the DLC for Elemental, but Stardock offered several more games free from the series as they went. I would consider Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes not a real expansion, but more what the game was supposed to be the first time. Oh and they gave that to us free. So instead of turning around and changing pictures on the website and doing a coverup, they should do the right thing. But Ubisoft will not.

sobaka770
10-05-2015, 10:33 PM
Cd Project RED don't release unplayable games. Even the first Witcher was not in such a poor state. They do make them a LOT better with patches and definitive editions but that's just a bonus.