I had the great good fortune to speak with legendary game designers Corey and Lori Cole, the creative force behind the Quest For Glory series, not to mention the underrated adventure from Legend, Shannara. The Coles are bringing back their singular mix of adventure and role-playing with their new Kickstarter Project, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.
If you’d like to participate in this worthy project, click here.
Kickstarter! Tim Schafer showed us that Adventure games are not dead. People like stories, and they want to play games that tell stories. Then we saw Andrew Golding’s MacGuffin’s Curse, and realized we would use his technology to make a new game.
Quest for Glory V cost $5 million. There was no way we would be able to raise that kind of money now. Kickstarter allowed us to do a game with less.
How have the changes in technology since the Sierra and Legend days affected the development of this kind of game for you?
Lori: The real word is “internet.”
Corey: I’ve been on the internet since the 70s. At Sierra we were totally disconnected from the gaming community. Fans sent us letters in the mail.
Lori: Quest For Glory V came out in 1998, when the internet was still in its infancy. It’s now REAL. So now we have a team that don’t have to be in one geographical place. We’ve never met any of them in person!
I don’t suppose you were tempted, even for a nanosecond, to employ a text parser?
No text parser!
If the Kickstarter funding hits its marks, when can we expect to play the game?
We’re Shooting for October 13. If we just barely make our Kickstarter goals, it might be sooner. But we have some other fundraising ideas that would allow us to add voice to the game. There was a sort of Halloween theme to the Kickstarter campaign, so there’d be nice symmetry to come out on Halloween next year.
PC, Mac in initial version, also Linux. Why Linux? We don’t want any gamers to be able to accuse us of siphoning money away from Linux developers!
Should we be looking for any old-school Easter eggs in the game?
Lori: Definitely!! This is an adventure game, even though it might not look like a traditional adventure game. It’s more than an adventure game. We want it to have the fun of discovery the old games had.
Corey: Of course, we can’t tell you what any of these surprises will be. The best humor is spontaneous. My mind works in really crazy ways.
What classes can we play?
Lori: This is the first game of the series where we’re going back to adventure game roots, so we focus on one character. He does have stats and improvable skills. But you’re going to follow Sean O ‘Connor, who’s a rogue. If we succeed with Hero-U, the next game will be about a wizard. We have four main characters planed : a male rogue, female wizard, female warrior, male paladin. The fifth game will be in a mystery format.
Like Quest for Glory, you will save your character from one game to the next. Sean will be in the next game, too. He will evolve as the games go forward. This way, the fans will be helping write the successive games in the series!
As usual, we’re doing something completely different. We’ll be employing new features that have never been used before, and we’re going to pull it all together. We’re always biting off as much as we can possibly chew!
The whole idea of saving a character is new in an adventure game.
Corey: Our idea is that each character has his own personality and his own agenda, but the player helped define that when he played the earlier game.
Lori: One of the definitions of an adventure game vs. an RPG is that the character is fixed. Not in our game.
Corey: So with our mixture of adventure and role-playing, we’re recording every dialog you choose, and how much time you spend in the dungeon, who you make your friends and who you make your enemies. All of these choices will make a difference later in the game.
Will there be multiple endings?
There will be, and not all of them will be positive. We want to give the player the ability to find out the consequences of actions, but we don’t want to have dead ends. If the player gets to the end and feels like he’s lost, we want him to be able to back up and try again.
Rule No. 1 of games is that games have to be fun. The game designer’s job it to provide challenge, surprise, and joy, so that the game is elevated to a higher rank in his life than something he experienced for just a short time, like a television show.
Corey: If you go back into the history of games, they were always competitive. Tabletop RPGs changed all that. They arecooperative games. The Game Master isn’t against you; he wants you to win. That’s the kind of spirit we try to put into our games. We’re working with the player as the Game Masters.
It isn’t really about multiple endings, it’s about multiple stories.
Instead of the game being a series of puzzles, the idea is that every player creates his own story, with the cooperation of the game.
It’s the relationship you have with the other characters in the game that will make this story. There will be possible romances, villains… it’s all about how the player deals with the relationships. That’s a very complex adventure game puzzle concept that most adventures don’t try to do.
At the same time, we do have a basic storyline the player will be working through. It’s the way you interact with them that’s determines how the game plays.
What else do I need to know about Hero-U?
It is going to be an RPG also. It is going to have people going down into dungeons and caverns, trying to find things that go beyond the traditional RPG tropes of killing for loot. It’s all one story.
As far as combat elements: They will be entirely optional. Combat will be turn-based. It’ll be entirely a thinking game. We’re seeing combat as another puzzle. So adventure players who don’t like combat shouldn’t be afraid of this game. It’s not about reflexes.
That’s a return to classic RPG gameplay. It’s not about fast action and fast thought, it’s about correct action and correct thought.
Part of the joy of this game is exploring. You feel like you’re in the game!
Corey: By supporting Hero-U Kickstarter, you are saying “You want Lori and Corey to be making games again!!”
This is our chance to get back into the industry. We need your help! So that we’ll have the game a year from now. If you wait and see, there will be nothing to see!
Good luck with the game! I’m sure our readers here at JustAdventure will be looking forward to it eagerly!