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Hero-U is a turn-based PC RPG with adventure game puzzles and immersive story, by the award-winning designers of Quest for Glory.
Created by

Corey Cole

6,093 backers pledged $409,150 to help bring this project to life.

Monday Appearances and Risk vs. Reward

As I post this at 4 a.m. (sleep is for the weak!), we're up to 5,160 backers and almost $352,000 (that's $48,000 more to reach the project goal) with 32 hours to go.  This is definitely the home stretch, and it's looking good.  Not that any of us will be able to relax until the closing bell... and probably even less so then! :-)

Lori and I plan to make two public appearances Monday night. We will do a Google+ hangout (as "Hero-U") at 7 pm EST. A few people can join it, and everyone can watch and type comments. The chat will then be posted to YouTube.

Then we will move over to reddit, where we plan to do an AMA ("Ask Me Anything") in the www.reddit.com/r/gaming subreddit at 9 pm EST.

Matt Barton of Armchair Arcade's "Matt Chat" did a long interview with us last month. Part 2 is up on YouTube now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CfUgS_iZOw. Part 1 aired a few weeks ago and is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U780GGvEgco.

There is a  new interview in Hebrew at http://www.calcalist.co.il/internet/articles/0,7340,L-3588038,00.html

Lori has updated the project video.  We wanted to say thank you to all of the backers who are helping us cross the finish line, and to show a bit more of what you can expect from Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.

Risk vs. Reward In Backing a Kickstarter Project

I ran into an interesting post about Kickstarter projects in which the author said that people who support Kickstarter games are stupid because there are no guarantees they will receive anything. He had a point, but...

Kickstarter tracks these things. Many projects ship later than their projected date, but almost all of them do ship. The projects that get funded usually depend on the reputation of the project creator. People who come to the Hero-U project know that Lori and I have a history of delivering what we promise... and more.

There are many kinds of risk. Every game you buy entails risk. If you get that heavily-advertised AAA game, you are putting out $50 to play something that might be a bad game. And it's probably a lot like the last three games you played, because the big publishers love to make sequels.

Here's the risk of NOT supporting a Kickstarter game – If you sit back and decide to wait until the game is released, it might not be made. Most of your money on Kickstarter goes directly into product development. If we come up short of our goal, there is no funding and no game. If we're funded, we promise a game next year. Lori and I made eight adventure-style games at Sierra and Legend, and all of them won approval from both critics and players.

If you like the kind of games Lori and I make – games that applaud heroism and the human spirit – you will win by supporting our drive to make new games for you. Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption will be just the beginning.

Personally, I think that putting $20 into the Hero-U Kickstarter is much less risky than paying $50 for Yet Another First-Person Shooter. And it's way cheaper than spending $13 a month on an MMO subscription.

So far, over 5,150 gamers agree. If you are not yet among them, why not join the winning team? Besides, Tuesday is Eriq Chang's birthday. It wouldn't be a very nice birthday present for his game with us to go unfunded, now would it?

Two Testimonials

krieghan wrote: There have been several of these Kickstarter-funded game development projects over the course of the past year. This campaign is unlikely to generate the attention or funding that that one guy from Double Fine did, but I wanted to clarify a few points that only apply to me personally.

  • Quest for Glory 1 (Hero's Quest, I guess my dad and I just called it "So You Want To Be a Hero") was my first game ever. This was back in the days when the F4 key was reserved for an option called "High Speed Hero" (anyone else remember that? I noticed that it disappeared from the anthology/gog version. It's kind of a small detail, but I always wondered why that disappeared).
  • Every game to come out since then (Adventure Games, RPGs, First Person Shooters, First Person Sneakers, RTS, TBS) has had to be measured up to that game in my eyes.
  • For many games, being measured against QFG is frankly an embarrassment. Some of them do okay. Few come close. None can really match it in terms of charm or humor. The Adventure/RPG combo is powerful, but there's a personal touch that is extremely rare.
  • I waited for this campaign to register with Kickstarter. I have no intention of funding anyone else's projects. I acknowledge that I am a bit biased by having my entire gaming worldview shaped by So You Want To Be a Hero.
  • I remember no time in my life with more gaming-generated exuberance than when I walked by the PC game section in a Best Buy back in December 1998 and saw that Dragon Fire had been released. I'd heard no release announcement, it was just kind of there.

This campaign kind of brings back that exuberance.

Jonas Kyratzes wrote: I'm still writing a blog post to try and put it all into words, but let me just say that the Quest for Glory series has been a massive influence on me as a game developer and writer; and of my own games, the ones that are perhaps closest to my heart (the Lands of Dream series - http://www.landsofdream.net) would never have been what they are without what you and Corey created.

That I am here, years after falling in love with Shadows of Darkness on a friend's PC, making strange and unusual games with my wife, with fans who love what we do and look beyond the occasional rough spot... it's amazing despite often being very hard, and you deserve a very big thank you. You inspired me and you helped shaped my imagination.

You have no idea how nervous I was about writing this. You and Corey are, well... heroes to me.

(And Lori and I are suitably embarrassed at that. Being a game designer takes a fine balance between confidence and standing up for your vision of the game, while also keeping ego out of the way and listening to suggestions, advice, and constructive criticism from others. Knowing that we have just as many character flaws as anyone lets us smile and accept being called "heroes" or "legends" without letting it go to our heads too much. We've been called much worse. :-) )

Comments

    1. Creator WP - Member, Mutant League on November 19, 2012

      Here is an awesome example from a Creator Born Ready Games 4 days ago (Strike Suit Zero)
      This kind of professionalism stunned me, and can learn from it for use at my own workplace.
      I'm guessing it's the kind of message Hero Univerisity wants to teach it's players.

      @TheChosenOne -- the Marauder isn't a bonus or a cheat item in any way, it's just slightly different to the Strike Suit we have in the game at the moment. Apologies if this disgruntles you in any way -- shoot us a line if we can address any concerns you might have or alleviate your worries in any way.

      Thanks for your support up until this point anyway :)

    2. Creator Federico on November 19, 2012

      I'm a little worried here, and i would so hate for the campaign not to succeed for few thousands dollars, so i'm upgrading the pledge. I would like to point out that in these last years many adventure games came out (like whispering world, deponia, machinarium, chain of satinav, book of unwritten tales, walking dead...). Also, Bioware and Bethesda made some of the best rpgs i've ever played. On psp, there so many rpgs i had some difficulties in finding the time to play most of them. So to say that the fps limit your choices of game genre may be true but only to a modest degree. Still, you're the only rpg-adventure developer, so i really like this kickstarter (which, by the way, made me buy your previous games, that i only knew by name!)

    3. Creator Justin on November 19, 2012

      Um...ok. I never said anything about making premisses that can't be kept. But it's certainly a good rule to live by! Not doing it that is :)

    4. Creator Corey Cole on November 19, 2012

      @Justin: Yes, we made a number of mistakes in the campaign, despite months of research. If we do another for the second game (and at this point, we plan to) we will have learned a lot from this one. I totally agree that a positive message is better than a negative one. I also feel that an honest message trumps any number of positive or negative lies.

      Telling the truth costs support, but it's still the right thing to do. For example, we will not promise to make a game with AAA-level assets when our budget is literally 1/100 of the budge of a modern AAA game. It's not what people want to hear, but I'd rather tell it up-front than disappoint people a year from now. We're going to make a beautiful game with rich game play, but it won't look like Star Wars or Call of Duty. We don't have their $40 million development budget.

    5. Creator Timothy Cook on November 19, 2012

      As an addendum--I wouldn't have been interested in this kickstarter if it wasn't the Coles producing this game. A lot of indie stuff these days isn't very good either, and I've seen a lot of concepts like this that fail to deliver really hard. But, these are designers I trust and if anyone can pull it off, it's them.

    6. Creator Timothy Cook on November 19, 2012

      I only even know about this kickstarter thanks to mail from The School for Heroes, but I'm so glad I heard about it.

      The first QFG game also made a massive impact on me. I've only played the first couple, but I've played the first to death...and yet I got them as copies from a friend way back in the day.

      I am so very, very happy I'll be able to own them legitimately.

    7. Creator Corey Cole on November 19, 2012

      Heh, I did not mean to bash FPS's. What I was bashing is lack of choice. There are other AAA games besides FPS's - sports games come to mind - but not many. The adventure game renaissance due to Kickstarter is bringing us an entire other category of game next year. I should say, "YOUR pledges for adventure and RPG projects is bringing about that rebirth."

      So I apologize for using the FPS genre one more time as a throw-away line. Here's a more extended view of the topic:

      I do have an objection to combat games in that they glorify violence, and in many cases (I know - not all) it's best to "shoot first and ask questions later." That isn't, in my opinion, the best message for a game to give. We had some people at Sierra who refused to work on any game that involved violence, including Quest for Glory. At least one quit the project because we had a Thief character. So I'm sure we're violating some players' moral standards by even having combat and a Rogue main character in Hero-U.

      As Lori pointed out, we both did FPS-type play in World of Warcraft. My Mage (Dreadmon@Silver Hand) had over 50,000 player kills in PVP action. It's fun, but only as one thing to do in a game that has a lot of other options - quests, working as a group to take down a raid boss, etc.

      That latter type of "killing things" feels qualitatively different to me than PVP. MMO dungeons and raids extend tabletop roleplaying, and the messages from that style of gaming. In those games, you are a hero, and your small group of heroes bands together to fight almost-overwhelming evil. You know that the odds are against you, but if you all work together as a team, and to the best of your individual abilities, you can succeed. There are no experience points from killing squirrels - These are viciously evil creatures that need to die before they overwhelm the world. There is a feeling of purpose and heroism when you fight them.

      But no, nothing wrong with first-person shooters as a genre. Everyone at Sierra was completely blown away when someone brought in Castle Wolfenstein 3D. We all thought how great it would be to have 3D technology in our adventure games... but eventually we learned the cost. With a few shining exceptions (e.g. Broken Sword and other European-made games) part of that cost became "no adventure games at all".

      We aim to help change that.

    8. Creator Timo Kilpiäinen on November 19, 2012

      I had to comment on this one, since I became a backer and I need to explain it to myself.

      I have to admit that I at first didn't mean to back this project up. Why? Because it wasn't Quest for Glory 5. If it had been, I would have jumped the bandwagon of old nostalgiafreaks in a nanosecond. It sounds silly but I know I would have done so.

      Im still not as excited about this as many other are, but you are still few of the greatest storytellers and gamedesigners that I have ever had the privilege of playing games from. Your series has been an inspiration, enjoyment, laughter, tease and a lot more throughout my life as gamer. No other series besides QFG and Star Control are permanently based on any hard drive I own.

      I was 25 (now 31) when I discovered thieves guild in the original game. It was twenty years after the game was made. It opened up a whole new world for me :)

      I was 31 when I finally completed the series as Paladin

      And for those moments and joy that this game has brought I decided to pledge you little something. Not much, but something.

      Because you are worth it.

      Thank you :)

      Timo "Griffin Kilbane - Hero" K

    9. Creator KirinnBunnylin on November 19, 2012

      @Justin - Fair enough. I'm perhaps also biased against FPS's, since I'm working for a big console maker/game publisher, and nearly all the stuff we keep putting out is rubbish. All the more reason to accentuate the positive wherever it can be found, of course!

    10. Creator Justin on November 19, 2012

      @MimuBun - We did agree to disagree....the first dozen times. Like Gregory said, it's wearing kind of thin. A joke is only funny the first few times at most then you need a least a year off for it to be funny again. This comes from someone who was done with FPS after Doom 2.

    11. Creator John Garretson on November 19, 2012

      Well, in my opinion, the FPS did kill off the adventure genre. As developers found that they didn't have to include story as an element of a game, and they could sell mass quantities of a product anyway, guess what... they shifted over. It seemed like it happened almost overnight. One second we had games that drove story, the next they were gone. I think that is the point. I understand that FPS shooters CAN include a solid story and SOME notable titles have done so, unfortunately, most FPS titles have had a paper thin story element if one at all. That is fine for all of the gamers who enjoy the FPS but for those of us who like a good yarn or prefer some type of character development, it is a glaring deficiency within the current state of the games industry. The constant retread and subsequent milking of the FPS genre is to me, the equivalent of why we keep getting Justin Biebers and Brittany Spears in the music industry. It's why we only get adaptations of current existing properties and countless sequels in the movie industry as opposed to new concepts. It makes sense. If game publishers did not move toward genres that actually made money, well the game industry would not be as large as it is, and it wouldn't employ as many people or have as much of an impact on our current culture. So I am not trying to attack FPS games, as much as point out that it is a shame the art of the story driven game has been almost lost. It is just an objective and related fact that the FPS has been the main genre that has rushed in to fill that vacuum. As a result, those of us who love the pure adventure or RPG game have had less of a voice, and since those genres typically don't rake in the kind of dough required to get a publishers green light, there was a real possibility we would have had to continue living in a world where the adventure was dead. I think that is Corey's point. Kickstarter gives us that voice back. We don't have to be dependent on a publishers desire to make hundreds of millions of dollars on a game, in order to see it turned into a reality. Now we have the chance to bring the story back and story connects a game to a gamer in a more fundamental way than pure action. Think about how passionately people remember playing Quest for Glory 4 or Monkey Island 2 or Final Fantasy 7. Do you often hear people talk about how much they were moved by playing Call of Duty: Big Red One? or Medal of Honor 2? I'm not saying they aren't fun, just that they are not the same type of experience. (Half-Life and Mass Effect being exceptions) It's great to have the chance to bring the 'adventure' back into gaming.

    12. Creator KirinnBunnylin on November 19, 2012

      It took a few tries, but now you've got the project video looking really good. And just in time. :D

      Also, what? A guy can't even bash FPS's anymore without worrying about political correctness? :p I would have thought most QfG fans would have the good humor to grin and agree to disagree?

    13. Creator Justin on November 19, 2012

      You know, it's possible for people to enjoy FPS and RPG. It's best to not leave any foul taste in any ones mouth. You should be embracing all gamers. The amount of negativity throughout the updates has kind of "put me off" a little. Also the amount of "it's up to you players if this game gets made, if you don't back us then it's all your fault"....that notion is actually making me think twice about my pledge. Can you please stop beating us with that hammer? I think if this project doesn't get funded then there are other faults here to point fingers at. Not us RPG gamers.

    14. Creator Lori Cole on November 19, 2012

      I think Corey's prejudice against First Person Shooters is that we are lousy at them... Corey gets motion sickness. I just never cared for the genre. MMO's, on the other hand... Well, my Troll Hunter in WoW earned the rank of Lieutenant General in PVP and had tamed almost all of the unique pets in the game before I moved to Star Wars: the Old Republic. Considering the fact that I've never been a Star Wars true fan, that's quite an accomplishment.

      We all have our game-playing quirks.

    15. Creator The Lurker formally known as Mrs. S.D. on November 19, 2012

      Okay, so...it's difficult to convey intent, with only the written word, to folks you've never met in person; many Kickstarter backers support projects to see a change in some aspect of the world, and the rewards (for that group) go far beyond swag; and Hotel Noir (beyond the 10 minutes I've already watched and loved) will most likely be amazing. Am I caught up?
      In other news, I really enjoy the updated video. I think it's just the right balance to show off the art, music, and humor going into this game. Thanks!

    16. Creator TheChosenOne on November 19, 2012

      Wanted to back Hotel Noir but since they didn't want to respond to my questions they missed my $$$.

    17. Creator Rinu on November 19, 2012

      @WP: Yeah, I watched one of Sebastian's movie which was a bit flawed but unique enough to catch my interest. And I feel that Carla Gugino has a potential to become a solid actress. And when I saw that KS project I couldn't believe my eyes. I'm happy to be its backer; not only because there aren't official channels where I can watch his movies in my country and it was a great chance to compensate my misconduct :).

    18. Creator WP - Member, Mutant League on November 19, 2012

      @Rinu, you backed Hotel Noir ?! omg how could I have missed that, so glad to have talked to you and see that gem, anyways you are right, cya on the interwebs o/

    19. Creator Rinu on November 19, 2012

      @WP: I think it really depends a lot when creators do the shift. Mass Effect was a trilogy and the change happened in its conclusion. As for DE series, I can only judge Deus Ex 1 and DE:HR which I have played. Deus Ex 1 was a story on its own. DE:HR is a prequel. It shares lore but it is an independent story. It's an ideal place to experiment. Just my opinion, I guess this place isn't probably best for such discussion. So... *cough cough* Nothing to see, please move along. :)

    20. Creator WP - Member, Mutant League on November 19, 2012

      @Corey Cole: posting @ 4 a.m.with weeks of sleep deprivation can result into bad wording m'kay :)
      But I still thank you for the effort for that, let's hope others can see the context of the wording.
      @Rinu, even though Deus Ex: Human Revolution is also a sequel, oh my what a game :)

    21. Creator Rinu on November 19, 2012

      @WP - I understood their statement in same way as you but I think the wording was unlucky and has a potential to alienating a backer.
      And off the record, a problem of Mass Effect 3 was that it tried to be a different genre and approach a different, larger target group IMO. It isn't an innovation and it's sadly a trend nowadays. #mefan

    22. Creator Rinu on November 19, 2012

      I agree with Brad. I know you don't mean no ill however let's concentrate on what is the strength of this project. This in Internet, a home of infinite flame wars, after all. :)
      By the way, a number of FPS or many similar games on the market isn't the issue. It's a lack of other choices and a recent wave of KS projects is luckily trying to change it.

      Anti-Kickstarters have a point. In comparison with a newly released game, you can't see game-play or play a demo (mostly). However they often make a mistake and confuse KS projects for pre-orders. Recent Kickstarter updates are trying to fill the gap "I won't see a thing if successful project decides so", the buying decision is still based on faith and - ideally - reason (Have they already created something? Was it good? Does they have a clear vision? Do they really know how much money they need?). It's up to a pledger to decide if they are willing to loose their investment and how high probability mass is.

      I backed you because I've enjoyed your work, I miss its positive vibe and I want to see more from you. And a purely practical note - I have never heard anything about you obstructing a game development. :)

    23. Creator WP - Member, Mutant League on November 19, 2012

      @Gregory, I think that what they mean is that so far the fps genre has played it "safe" since 2005, and nothing innovative has emerged from that genre lately. Just look at all the sequels, even Mass Effect 3 had it's dissapointments.
      They game that still is an amazing standard to compare other games from that genre is "Goldeneye 007" and that fps from 1997. The last release from the QfG series is also from that time era, and I think it's abit of nostalgia vs facts vs personal opinion about what games can be all about when someone qoute the "yet another Cod etc"
      For me I am happy to see how crowdfunding can bring back old genres in a new jacket without having to plug in a gamepad as a must, however any game that can create a world where you can be really attached to is worth a pledge :)

    24. Creator Brad Dancer on November 19, 2012

      Well good luck in these last hours, really hope you make it - I can't squeeze any more out for you. I have to agree with Gregory as well - stop with worrying/insulting other successful genres - stand behind your product rather than commenting on other products. I didn't pledge because I'm fed up with FPS, pledged because your game looks cool and you guys seem to have a great strategy going into this - still a risk, however - but one i think is worth taking.

    25. Creator Gregory on November 19, 2012

      "Personally, I think that putting $20 into the Hero-U Kickstarter is much less risky than paying $50 for Yet Another First-Person Shooter"

      Your weird hang-up with the FPS genre is wearing kind of thin,

    26. Creator Frank on November 19, 2012

      "the author said that people who support Kickstarter games are stupid because there are no guarantees they will receive anything. He had a point, but..."

      I've seen this line of argument in the rockpapershotgun comments plenty of times. I wouldn't even go so far as to say he has a point. De gustibus, y'know. He doesn't know what our motives are for funding your project or other Kickstarters, and (speaking for myself) seems to utterly misunderstand our reasons. It's not just a commercial transaction for the rewards. And it's certainly not an "investment" wherein the rewards constitute an risky return.

      Best of luck in the final day and a half!

    27. Creator WP - Member, Mutant League on November 19, 2012

      "Personally, I think that putting $20 into the Hero-U Kickstarter is much less risky than paying $50 for Yet Another First-Person Shooter."

      Look what you did; now you made me add another $20 to the pledge.