About this project
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There is danger and intrigue within the hallowed halls of Hero University. Danger? Ha! Rogues laugh in the face... Well, actually, they sneak up behind danger and bop it in the head. Then they run really, really fast.
You can be that Rogue!
In the spirit of our acclaimed Quest for Glory series, Hero-U is an adventure game and an RPG that combines role-playing, exploration, turn-based combat, an immersive story, and rich character interactions to create a unique and fun game experience.
Shawn's life has not been an easy one. Caught red-handed during his thieves' guild initiation, he has a choice - go to Hero University or rot away in prison. Some of the students and school staff seem intent on making Shawn's life miserable, while danger lurks in the halls and dungeons below the University. It would help if he didn’t need to worry about both passing the midterm exams and fighting for his life.
As you help Shawn navigate his freshman year at Hero-U, you will begin to unravel the mysteries of both the school and of Shawn's past. Others may have their own plans for Shawn, but you alone have the power to forge his destiny.
Key Project Updates With More Information:
- The Hero-U Web site and art development blog
- The Hero-U Development Team
- Comparing Hero-U vs. Quest for Glory
- Conversations and Character Relationships
- Stretch Goals & Corey and Lori Play the Combat Demo
- How Your Choices and Play Style Affect the Story
- Skills and Stats vs. "Leveling Up"
- The Hero-U Turn-Based Combat System
- Finances - Kickstarter Goals vs. Project Budget
- Working With a Worldwide Development Team
- Project Delays and Budget Overruns - Why They Happen
- Adventure! - Hero-U is a classic graphic adventure game with a rich story and many places to explore
- Excitement! - Hero-U is also a role-playing with skill development, equipment, treasure, and turn-based combat - no twitch skills needed
- Experience! - Game design and direction by Lori Ann Cole and Corey Cole, award-winning creators of Quest for Glory, Castle of Dr. Brain, Mixed-Up Fairy Tales, and Shannara
- Beauty! - Beautiful 2D and 3D graphics let you explore the castle and the story
- Beasts! - Character models by Concept Art House, famous for their work on such games as League of Legends, Clash of Clans, World of Warcraft, Magic: the Gathering, and Hearthstone
- Friends and Enemies! - More than 20 fascinating characters and many ways to talk to and interact with them throughout the game
- Music and Magic! - Stunning original soundtrack by award-winning television and game composer Ryan Grogan highlights the magic and mystery of Hero-U
Let's take a break and stretch for a minute.
If Hero-U exceeds the $100,000 campaign goal, we will use the additional funds to add features to the game. We've chosen a set of stretch goals that will provide the most value while being within our development budget.
First up is the Tower Garden. We had reluctantly planned to cut it for budget reasons even though it is a unique area of the castle. However, our first $10,000 backer is a garden enthusiast and put his support behind the Tower Garden. As a result, it is Safe From Elimination and back in the game. We're glad! Heroes need a place to rest and recover from their heroic travails.
This room was one of the first areas we designed. The Tower Garden could be a romantic hideaway for Shawn and someone special. It can be an active classroom for identifying and harvesting strange mushrooms and healing herbs for First Aid. It’s also the only area in the game where Shawn can see the sea in the sunshine or the moonlight.
Not everything in this game has to be epic or scary. It’s the quiet beauty that makes the world worth saving.
Just past the basic goal is Improved Animation at $105,000. Currently the game animation is minimal, partly because of budget, and partly because we did not have a strong animator on the team. We've now added the talented Al Eufrasio to the team and have two other candidates waiting for the result of the Kickstarter. Improved animation is a feature we really think will improve Hero-U, so we have set it at a stretch goal below its actual cost.
This is the one that everyone on the team would like to see. Shawn needs some fancy combat and victory moves. Oh, and a snappier walk while we’re at it. Monsters need to have better attacks and dramatic death scenes.
Just beyond that at $110,000 is the Sea Cave Puzzles goal. The Sea Caves are the second role-playing area that Shawn will discover, and it's important for them to be atmospheric and interesting. We have a few puzzles in the design script that add to the challenge, but will take extra art and programming to get into the game. If we meet this goal, the Sea Caves will be more puzzling and challenging.
This goal isn’t just to add a fancy puzzle. We will make the Sea Caves into a huge complex with many areas to explore and mysteries to uncover. No wonder no one has recovered the pirate treasure hidden in the Sea Caves – it will take wits, skills, and a handy treasure map.
If we reach $120,000, we will be able to add additional music and sound effects to the game. We've already checked with Ryan Grogan, and is excited about having the chance to create more stunning pieces for the sound track. We are also in contact with a sound designer who plans to help us improve how we use sound effects and music throughout Hero-U.
The Master Wraith Lair is another section of the game that was planned from the start but placed on the “optional” list. It will return to Hero-U if we reach $125,000 in funding. The Master Wraith is a boss monster in an area with some RPG-type puzzles - you can't just run up and attack it with any hope of survival.
Most monsters in this game can either be avoided or negotiated with, but not this nasty. He’s haunted this crypt since the heyday of the Illuminari, and he’s not about to let any would-be thief desecrate his crypt. This is the toughest battle in the game. Shawn had better be at his best to take on the Master Wraith.
The Sea Cave Boss - also known as The Unspeakable Horror - is a puzzle combat encounter in the Sea Caves. Think of the monster in the pool just outside the entrance to Khazad-Dum in Lord of the Rings. It's way too powerful to fight, but maybe there's something a clever Rogue can do about it.
Ever wonder why someone bothered to build a medieval castle on Sardonia? The castle conceals many dark secrets within its walls. Unfortunately, not all the darkness has been contained. Things – vile things – are invading this world. The Unspeakable Horror is one of those things that man (or woman) was not meant to know.
If we come up short of this $130,000 stretch goal, perhaps no one will know about them and the world will be swallowed up in Darkness! Don't let that happen, please.
The Temple to Gog-Sosloth is a gorgeous area that will add some very interesting story and game play to Hero-U. For just that reason, it's also challenging to implement - we will need additional art and programming to make it "sing", so we reluctantly moved it to a stretch goal. Reaching $145,000 in funding will allow us to do justice to the Gog Temple.
This will be a chance for Shawn to really put all his roguish tricks, wits, skills, and traps together if he wants to steal the Gog treasure. Those players who love combat will have Shawn fighting for his life here. Those who love stealth missions can sneak through and try to get past all the Gogs. It’s definitely one of the most exciting places to explore in the game.
If we do not make it to the Gog Temple stretch goal, we will plan on developing a Sea Cave Expansion after the release of Hero-U. This expansion will add the Gog Temple and other additional challenges to the Sea Caves. We want the Gog Temple in the game, but it's a significant and difficult area to integrate into Hero-U.
At $160,000, Shawn will find a new friend - a baby Kwirk companion that follows Shawn around, makes cute noises, and generally does its best to get in the way. There might even be a hidden significance to the Kwirk that even Shawn doesn't know about.
$180,000 will let us localize Hero-U into several additional languages. The most probable candidates are French, Italian, German, and Spanish. Other possibilities are Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Basic Chinese. We will prioritize languages according to a backer vote, and add in as many as we can at this and higher levels.
At the $200,000 mark, we will add voice acting with professional actors. In practice, this will cost much more than the stretch goal, but we will find a way to make it work because we think that quality voice acting will add a lot of dimension and warmth to Hero-U.
Beyond the posted stretch goals (and likely after we release the game) are conversions to other platforms. We would like to support iOS and Android tablets, and it only makes sense for Hero-U to appear on the Wii-U! Other possibilities are gaming consoles such as the PS4 and XBox One. Are console gamers ready for story-based role-playing adventures? We'd like to find out.
If you like what you see, please contribute to this project. We will use the funds to finish developing the game, add new art and music, and polish everything to a quality level where all of us can be proud of the game we made together.
We are rewarding our backers with a variety of exciting rewards. In addition to the game, you can get souvenirs such as box covers, t-shirts, hats, and keychains. You can also get accessories that enhance your game-playing experience like the “Art of Hero-U” book, the “Music of Hero-U,” and the Hint Book. We’re even giving away your opportunity to be a part of the game with our “Wanted Ads” and “In-game Paintings.” For details about these rewards, check out our reward page at http://hero-u.com/artwork/.
Here are a few of the reward tiers at which you can back Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption:
Totally Plush - This set includes your very own lovable stuffed Meep to cuddle you to sleep after a hard day of adventuring. We are also giving away a physical copy of the game, the beautiful virtual “Art of Hero-U”, the music soundtrack, a digital hint book, and a physical manual with maps of the school!
Collector's Edition - This edition includes a keychain, a cloth varsity patch to sew on your letter jacket to prove you are a worthy student of Hero-U, and a choice of an “All Kinds of Heroes” t-shirt or a “Hero-Unicorn “ baseball cap. You even get your very own ‘Lucky Coin!’
Most Wanted Rogue - With this set, you’ll get the Hero’s t-shirt and a Hero-Unicorn cap. You will also get some lovely posters and limited edition artwork to hang on your walls. Best of all, you’ll get your picture in the game with a list of crimes you are wanted for. Are you guilty of ‘Questioning Authority,’ ‘Ate the Last Chocolate Chip Cookie,’ or ‘Cheating at Solitaire?’ You decide what crimes you want to be remembered for - and who is looking for you.
Immortal Image - With this tier, you get your very own portrait to hang on your wall as well as in the halls of Hero-U. This painting can be anything from a simple portrait of yourself (like that of the Headmaster, shown above or Sir Jamus, below) to immortalizing a beloved pet to a painting that shows off your true heroic nature. Whatever you choose, it will be uniquely your own.
In addition to tier rewards, backers may order some very cool additional rewards. To get an add-on, simply add the price of the add-on to your Kickstarter pledge.
After the campaign closes, we will direct you to a BackerKit page that works like an online shopping cart. That page will tell you how much of your pledge is available for add-ons, and will let you select the ones you want and even add more funds for additional add-ons.
We have two types of add-ons - digital and physical. For digital add-ons, we will email you instructions on downloading the add-on. Physical add-ons will be shipped to you. The cost of shipping is included in the price of the add-on.
Digital Add-Ons (delivered by email):
- Indulgence freeing you from sin $5.89
- Quest for Glory 1-5 Game Key $15
- Extra copy of Hero-U for a friend $20
- The Hero-U Bestiary Book PDF $20
- Set of 5 Hero-U Concept Art Images $20
- Five Quest for Glory Art Images $20
- Four Digital Travel Poster Images $20
NOTE for backers of the previous Hero-U Kickstarter campaign: The add-on we called “Set of 4 high-resolution game art images in PDF” will receive a free upgrade to the current add-on called “Set of 5 Hero-U Concept Art Images”.
What's an indulgence? Well, suppose you were a sinful software pirate on one of our previous games and you still feel guilty about it. You are already forgiven for that - what happened in the 20th Century stays in the 20th Century.
But we can help you with the guilt. Add $5.89 to your pledge to join the Adventurers' Guild, and we will send you an email exculpating you from any sins you may have committed on our previous games. Of course, the $5.89 pledge is also available to backers who are completely free of sin. The indulgence lets you freely enter into the Gates of... well, let's not stretch the metaphor too far!
Why $5.89? That's a number the backers came up with. It's based on the Quest for Glory series - 5 games, the first released in 1989. This add-on recognizes and salutes the heroic efforts of the backers who created the Adventurers' Guild concept. Once you have purchased your indulgence, you will have the right to add "AGL 589" to your Kickstarter handle and may call yourself a proud member of Adventurers' Guild Local 589.
Physical Add-Ons (prices include postage and handling):
- Two Hero-U Key Rings $15 to any destination
- Autographed Postcard $25 to any destination
- Cloth “Varsity Letter” Patch $25 to any destination
- Shawn’s Lucky Coin $30 to any destination
- Set of Four Travel Posters $40 U.S. / $50 International
- Hero-Unicorn Baseball Cap $40 U.S. / $50 International
- All Kinds of Heroes T-Shirt $40 U.S. / $50 International
- Customized Wanted Poster $250 anywhere
(Wanted Poster also appears in-game for all players)
(Travel and Wanted Posters also include high-res digital copies)
- Help us create a great new game without publisher interference
- Learn more about game development through project updates
- Be among the first to play a new RPG by Corey and Lori Cole
- Receive outstanding limited-edition rewards such as a unique custom game box, t-shirts, baseball caps, and much more
- Get Hero-U at a discount compared to the retail price
- Help us make a better and more beautiful game
We will have a playable version of the game to our backer Beta Testers by late 2015. The actual release date will depend on the length of the beta testing and game polish phases.
What happens after that? We plan to make at least three sequels and other new games with new dialogue, character classes and skills, story, art, and music.
Visit our web site at http://www.hero-u.com to learn more about Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, participate in our message forum, and read Lori's game design blog. Come on back here when you're ready.
Also check out the many posts on our first Kickstarter campaign for this project at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/transolargames/hero-u-rogue-to-redemption. They will give you more information on the many transitions this project has gone through to get to where it is today.
Compare Hero-U to our award-winning Quest for Glory games at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/transolargames/hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game/posts/1242834.
Learn about project finances and how the Kickstarter funds will be spent at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/transolargames/hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game/posts/1233204.
We support "Kicking It Forward" (http://kickingitforward.org). After our game is released, we will put at least 5% of profits into other worthy crowdfunding campaigns. None of our Kickstarter funds will be used for this; it is only after the game is released and successful.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk will be the possibility of additional project delays. Almost every major game has them, and we are not going to release Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption until it meets our very high standards. This is the most complex game we've made and our lowest budget since Quest for Glory III in 1992.
Hero-U is a labor of love for Lori and me; it is a reflection of both of our individual styles. If either of us becomes unable to work, completing the project will be challenging. If something happens to both of us, the project may fail or might need to be released in an incomplete form.
If other team members leave the project before we complete the game, that will likely introduce additional delays. We have weathered this situation several times so far and expect that we can continue to handle it, but it always costs time.
If we run out of funding before the game is complete, that will *not* stop the game, but it will require compromises. We will find additional funding sources and make sure we finish Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Future games in the series will depend on the success of the first game.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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