On Tuesday night, Aug. 21, Lori and I were invited to do a podcast with Chris Pope, social media manager for the Guys from Andromeda Space Venture. We talked for about 75 minutes. You can find link’s to the podcast here.
Much of the discussion was about the making of Quest for Glory and tales about Sierra On-line. We have fun talking about our experiences, and the memories come rushing back. Chris did a great job as host, so we were able to share some of those old memories.
“You don’t have a game until all the pieces are there. It takes a good game design, it takes great storytelling, puzzles, wonderful graphics, and great music. The voice acting adds another layer, and when you have everything working together, that’s when you look back on having worked two or three years of twelve hour days and six- or seven-day weeks… and think, ‘You know? Maybe it was worth it.’” – Corey
That Was Then, This is Now
At the end of the talk (about 47 minutes in), Chris asked us about our current plans and the upcoming School for Heroes game. Lori started it off by saying, “Basically, the stars are aligning.” When we left Sierra in the late 90’s, the industry had shifted entirely over to first-person shooters, and publishers had no interest in making story-oriented games.
Now the tools are better, so games can be made for more reasonable budgets, and Kickstarter makes publisher-free funding possible. As a result, Lori and I started dipping our toes back into the game development water by doing some contract design work. We also had many fans asking us, “When are you going to do your Kickstarter?” and several developers saying, “We want to work with you on a game.” Suddenly the impossible began to seem possible again.
What’s It All About, Alfie?
Our new School for Heroes game is most definitely not Quest for Glory, but it has a few elements in common. We are once again reaching back into our tabletop D&D roots to make a game that combines role-playing with story and strong character interactions.
This time, the emphasis is on the role-playing. The School for Heroes will be a 2D game with two distinct parts – In the school and beneath it in the catacombs. The latter part is an old-fashioned “dungeon crawl” with tactical combat similar to Fallout 2 or Dungeonmaster. Your character will explore the catacombs to solve mysteries, fight monsters, and acquire money and equipment.
Back in school, you will improve your skills and learn how to be a Hero and a better adventurer. You are also competing against other students and trying to survive hostile instructors. Getting to know the other students and weave your way through social interaction is just as important as your schoolwork and “dungeon time”. If you’ve played Persona 2, you’ll have a feel for that part of the game, although we will give you far more choices.
We plan to develop the game in several phases. In the first scenario, you will play a Rogue. For you, the school is more like a reform school, and most of your instructors treat you like a prisoner. You need to find a way to improve your skills, and at the same time, you learn what it means to be a Hero. And it’s a good thing, because you’ll need both sides to survive.
When you come back to the game in the second scenario (as a Wizard), you’ll be in the same setting, but playing an entirely different game. The dialogue, story, and your abilities are all new. In the third scenario, you take on the role of a Warrior, and once again playing a completely different version of the story. We also plan to include the Paladin scenario in the third release, but only players who have completed at least one of the other character stories will be able to unlock and play it.
Of course, there will also be plenty of our trademark humor. After all, even great dramas usually include humor to release the tension occasionally. Our goal is to make games that are at least as fun as Quest for Glory or Castle of Dr. Brain. But we also want to make sure that every game is a new experience. Every time we make a game, we ask, “Would we enjoy playing this?” If the answer is “Uh, maybe,” we do something else.
Enjoy the podcast, and we hope all of you will join us in November on our Kickstarter Adventure!