Hero-U Update #3 - Adventure, Meet RPG!
Incidentally, that $120,000 is a "magic number". Kickstarter projects that achieve at least 30% of their goal make it all the way to the goal more than 90% of the time. This won't happen by itself, but if we all keep sharing the project with our friends and interest groups, Hero-U will start to gain momentum. We want to reach the goal and rocket past it so that we can make the game even better.
I've added a new section to the project description, the "Research Library". This section has links to interviews and articles with more information about Hero-U, Lori's and my philosophy of game design, and our belief that the right games can help each of us become Heroes. You aren't just saving Shawn; you're winning a bigger game!
Where's the Adventure?
One concern that we've seen raised on many adventure game forums is that Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption will be too much of a role-playing game and not enough of an adventure game.
The short answer is, "Adventure gamers – You are going to LOVE Hero-U!"
When we created the Quest for Glory series, people raised exactly the same questions. Many people – even at Sierra – said that adventure gamers hate CRPG's, and CRPG players had no interest in playing adventure games. With Quest for Glory, we proved that we could make a game that was fun for everyone who likes tales of heroic deeds and high fantasy. Our first hybrid game was named Adventure Game of the Year by Computer Gaming World... and that might have seemed a bit strange for a game that many considered to be a CRPG.
I think we could have done the same with a science fiction game, a Western, a historical romance, or a modern-era drama. You see, we don't think there is a conflict between adventure and role-playing gaming. We think that both genres belong together, and that a game that contains elements of both is more fun than a game that only does one thing. We proved it once, and with Hero-U, we plan to prove it again.
It's a Floor Wax AND a Dessert Topping
Add enough character development, and a bit of combat, to an adventure game, and you have a CRPG. Add enough story and puzzles to a CRPG, and you have an adventure game. Why settle for just one?
That's exactly what we did with Quest for Glory. We started with an engine that was designed strictly for graphic adventure games, and then we started adding on layers. First, we let you choose abilities that affected how well your character could fight, climb, cast magical spells, and so on. Then we added a layer of skill improvement through practice. And finally, we let your character fight vicious enemies with all of those abilities, just like in a CRPG.
It worked – We ended up with a game that was both an Adventure and a CRPG. We're doing it again with Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, but this time we're focusing even more on the character and the story. Shawn has strong reasons for improving his skills and solving the mysteries around him. As a result, you will help him become better equipped to make his way past diabolical traps and overcome the forces of evil. Or maybe join them – Sometimes that's easier.
Puzzled About the Combat?
We want combat to be interesting and exciting, but not a "twitch game", which is why Hero-U uses a turn-based, tactical combat system. We are turning combat into a puzzle, but one to which every player will find different solutions.
Adventure gamers thrive on puzzles. They are why an adventure game is more than just watching a movie or reading a book. Adventures are interactive, and everything you do in the game furthers the plot, or branches it, or gets your character past an obstacle. We love to solve puzzles, and they make the player part of the game.
But there are limits to the types of puzzles you can put in a computer game, and too often they devolve into asking the player to guess the designer's mind. Famous game designer Ron Gilbert wrote "Why Adventure Games Suck" about this problem. If we want to make it better, we need more types of puzzles, not to keep using the same ones over and over.
Adding role-playing skills and tactical combat to an adventure game is one way to solve this dilemma. The game designer might have "the solution" – or two or three – in mind, but the players will find a dozen other ways to use their skills to get past each challenge. This amazing open-endedness is what makes tabletop roleplaying so fun, but it's lacking in most CRPG's and adventure games because it's hard to allow and balance.
Lori and I thrive on "hard". So does Andrew, and he'll soon be learning a new definition of it. :-)
Yeah, but I Hate Combat
You know those multiple solutions? Many of them involve avoiding fights entirely. As a Rogue, Shawn can sneak around many combat situations. He can get away from them by using sneezing or flash powder. He can sneak up behind his enemies and take them out of action before they know he's there. He can lay traps to keep his enemies away. Hero-U's tactical movement and action features will let you play the game the way you want to play it.
No combat? No problem.
Of course, if you want a higher level of challenge, and don't mind getting your hands dirty in combat, you'll treat battles as a new type of puzzle. All of our combat is turn-based, so you will make decisions and see how the monsters respond, then try your next actions. Many died-in-the-wool adventure gamers may soon find they love Hero-U's combat. If you're one of the players that doesn't enjoy it, you'll avoid it. A skilled Rogue chooses his fights, and might well choose "none".
Hero-U is all about choices, and to fight or not to fight is one of them.
So... Role-Playing or Adventure Game?
The answer is "Yes!" Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a new generation of adventure game. Lori and I are working hard to develop a huge network of dialogue and story options that depend on your choices. There's only so much a designer can do with "branching stories", but we don't think that way. In Hero-U, you will develop relationships with other characters, make choices about what to explore and where to spend your time, and work on your choice of skills. All of these subtle variations play into the story and the puzzles in ways that will make the game different for every player.
We're also a new breed of CRPG, but I'll talk more about that in a later update. Just adding all of the adventure and realistic conversation elements to the game already make it different, but there's much more.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is an Adventure Role-Playing Puzzle Game. Why settle for just one genre when you can have them all?