Hero-U Update #25

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. 🙂 )