Hero-U: Rogue To Redemption.

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption Kickstarter Is Live! If you’re on Twitter (or just want to use a short URL), you can use: http://tinyurl.com/hero-u-kickstarter

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

  • Launched: Oct 19, 2012
  • Funding ends: Nov 20, 2012

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a classic 2D RPG for Windows PC and Macintosh – we may add other platforms later – by award-winning game designers Corey and Lori Cole (Quest for Glory, Castle of Dr. Brain, and more).  In our genre-bending style, Hero-U combines classic RPG skills and combat with the rich character relationships of Persona, and the story and puzzles of Quest for Glory in a single challenging game experience.

  • A classic role-playing game with exploration, combat, and skills
  • Tactical combat that is much more than “hack and slash”
  • A rich story that changes based on the way you play
  • Characters with unique personalities and their own agendas
  • Adventure-style puzzles that are an integral part of the story

There is danger and intrigue within the hallowed halls of Hero-U. Danger? Ha! Rogues laugh in the face… well, actually, they sneak up behind danger and bop it in the head, then run really, really fast.  You can be that Rogue!

  • Game Designers:  Lori and Corey Cole, creators of Quest for Glory, Castle of Dr. Brain, Shannara, Mixed-Up Fairy Tales, and Tower of Indomitable Circumstance
  • Programming:  Andrew Goulding and the Brawsome team, developers of Jolly Rover, MacGuffin’s Curse, Emerald City Confidential, and other games
  • Art and Animation:  Eriq Chang and Eric Varnes (Fable Foundry Creative Studio), Paul Bowers, and John Paul Selwood.
  • Music and Sound Design: Ryan Grogan, composer of music for film, animation, and games including MacGuffin’s Curse.
  • Marketing Maven and assistant combat designer:  Michael Cole
  • YOU! Your support makes this game possible, and your feedback on the Hero-U forums will help us shape and perfect the game.

Our target date is Fall, 2013, but we will not ship the game until everyone on the team agrees that it is ready and it’s great.  The delivery date may be affected by the level of Kickstarter support.  (Adding lots of features takes time, even if we add developers.)

We are developing Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption with the popular Unity game engine and the tile graphic system from Brawsome’s MacGuffin’s Curse.  Besides Windows and Macintosh, we will add support for other devices when we reach our stretch goals.

  • Help us create a wonderful RPG, full of unforgettable moments
  • Promote the creation of new CRPG’s that care about story and challenge, a type of game that the big game publishers “just don’t get”
  • If you liked Quest for Glory or Castle of Dr. Brain, supporting this project is the only way to see more games by Corey and Lori Cole
  • Be an insider, and watch the game’s creation through project updates
  • Outstanding Kickstarter rewards such as a unique collector edition game box, your own Varsity Letter, and even inclusion in the Hero-U Yearbook!

Lori and Corey Cole are happy to present Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.  Our new game combines role-playing, puzzles, an immersive story, and rich character interactions.  As in our acclaimed Quest for Glory series, every element works together to create a unique game experience that you will love.

In Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, you will take on the role of Shawn O’Conner, a would-be Thief who has had a rough life.  As Shawn, you will attend Hero-U, a school that tries to teach young adventurers to be heroes.  Shawn can continue his quest to join the Thieves’ Guild, or he can strive to become a Rogue Hero.  He has a lot to learn to succeed at either path.

Hero-U plays like a classic RPG, with turn-based tactical combat and exploration of the environment on top-down, 2D maps.  There are traps, obstacles, and enemies for you to overcome as you explore the school and the ancient catacombs beneath it.  Key scenes feature beautiful painted backdrops to let you see from Shawn’s perspective.

  • A classic role-playing game with exploration, combat, and skills

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a true RPG.  Your character has skills and attributes that improve through game play.  You will acquire and use a wide variety of inventory items to enhance those skills.  Explore the world on 2D maps as you fight monsters, avoid traps, find hidden items, and more.  You will also meet non-player characters with their own agendas, and try to build up your relationships with them as you learn more about the school and the game world.

  • Tactical combat that is much more than “hack and slash”

One doesn’t just wander around an ancient, possibly haunted, castle and expect to have an easy time of it. Your hero must learn the cunning, deception, and just plain Rogue skills, then use them to survive. “Hack and Slash” won’t cut it for a Rogue. Shawn must outwit and outmaneuver the creatures that lurk within the ancient catacombs beneath Hero-U.

Our turn-based combat system features an action point system that will make you choose between slow, powerful attacks, tactical movement, or a mixture of defense and quick attacks.  Shawn will supplement his Roguish skills with clever use of traps and other items.  Between battles, you will explore the catacombs, setting and avoiding traps and other challenges.

  • A rich story that changes based on the way you play

Your life has not been an easy one. Caught red-handed during your thief guild initiation, you have a choice – Go to reform school or rot away in prison. The teachers and students are intent on making your life a living hell, while trouble lurks in the catacombs below. It would help if you didn’t need to worry about being killed and passing midterms.

In your hands, Shawn has real choices.  If he does someone a favor, it is because he figures they will be useful to him later. If he wants to unleash nameless horrors of destruction upon the world, well, hey, that’s his business… and yours.

  • Characters with unique personalities and their own agendas

Many of the characters you encounter have their own reason for being there.  Many of their stories have been planned for future games, and they aren’t there to serve you, only themselves.

Shawn will experience character growth in two ways.  Of course we have all the traditional role-playing game mechanics.  Shawn will improve his abilities and learn new skills through research, study, and using them in action.  Shawn will also grow by learning more about the world and his heritage.  As in a good film or novel – and unlike most games – Shawn will have the opportunity to change his attitude and outlook as the result of his experiences.

  • Challenging puzzles that are an integral part of the story

Corey designed the award-winning puzzle game, Castle of Dr. Brain.  Andrew co-designed and developed MacGuffin’s Curse. We believe that puzzles are an important part of a good RPG.  Hero-U is filled with challenges that will make you think and that enrich the story.

  • Elective system that lets you customize Shawn’s abilities

All rogue candidates study basic techniques such as stealth, picking locks, and setting traps.  But Hero-U also offers elective courses that will allow Shawn to customize his to assist his extra-curricular activities.  These electives will give you choices on how you like to play.

Along the south coast of Marete to the east of Silmaria, there stands a great sprawling castle built in ancient times when demonic creatures sought to dominate Gloriana. Long abandoned, the castle was greatly feared by the people of Silmaria. There were rumors of hauntings, curses, and a great Evil buried within its rocky walls.

Over the years, a few desperate and foolhardy souls dared to explore dark towers and musty hallways in search of forgotten treasures. Even fewer returned; they whispered of eldritch horrors best left buried beneath the ancient stones. The castle’s grim silhouette upon the cliffs warns us that there are dangers in this world that mere mortals are not prepared to face.

So what better place than this to build a University for Heroes?

Besides, the rent was cheap.

The Kickstarter revolution has changed all that.  Now you, the players, help decide which games get made and which go back to the drawing board.  We are very excited about our plans for Hero-U and think you should be too.  This game will be the spiritual successor to our Quest for Glory series.

We have a file drawer full of great game proposals that we couldn’t convince traditional publishers to support.  In one case, the publisher decided instead to design their own game.  Millions of dollars later, they created a dismal failure that sold under 1,000 copies.  Alas, we didn’t get a chance to tell them, “We told you so!”  They were out of business after that.

We think you’re a lot smarter than most of those publishers.  You know the kind of game experiences you want to have – Ones in which substance rules over form.  You want well-designed game play that rewards thinking, with an immersive story, meaningful character development, and intelligent puzzles.  Killing monsters is fun too, but it all needs to be part of the story.

Do you want an endless succession of first-person shooters and mindless Facebook games?  Those are the only ways the big publishers define games.  Our definition is different, and your support will show everyone what really matters to you.

Lori and Corey Cole have been making and playing games for… let’s just say, “forever”.  We had a unique experience at Sierra On-Line when we created the first Quest for Glory (then known as Hero’s Quest).  Management stayed out of our way and let us develop the best game we could make with Sierra’s tools.  As a result, our game became a hybrid of role-playing and graphic adventure games.  It also became a best-seller, Computer Gaming World‘s Adventure Game of the Year, and the start of a very successful series.

We’ve made other successful games before and after Quest for Glory including Castle of Dr. Brain, Shannara, Mixed-Up Fairy Tales, and Corey’s paper RPG module, Tower of Indomitable Circumstance.  Corey and Lori have directed teams on our own games and multiple other projects; we know how to encourage creativity while still completing the projects on time and within budget.

Andrew Goulding founded Brawsome, an independent game development studio based in Melbourne, Australia.  Brawsome has developed two award-winning titles.  Jolly Rover is a humorous graphic adventure game featuring talking dogs as pirates.  MacGuffin’s Curse is a puzzle game that features rich adventure-style story, dialogue, and quests.  Andrew and Brawsome have also worked on many development projects for other publishers.

Ryan Grogan is a talented composer and sound designer with many credits in films, animation, and gaming.  He composed the music in MacGuffin’s Curse.  I can’t say enough about him here – You have to listen to his music to experience his talent and understanding of each medium.  Ryan created the music behind our Kickstarter video.

Eriq Chang, Eric Varnes, Paul Bowers, and John Paul Selwood are our fabulous art team. John Paul Selwood’s beautiful artwork helped bring remakes like Quest for Glory 2 VGA and King’s Quest III to life with AGDinteractive. Eriq & Eric keep the fires hot in the Fable Foundry Creative Studio – working on preservation projects like the “Art of Sierra” and creepy collectibles like Nightmare Gloves. Paul Bowers worked on MacGuffin’s Curse and many other illustration projects.

Michael Cole, our Marketing Maven, grew up around Sierra On-Line, so wisely decided to go into marketing rather than game development.  However, he plays games – a lot – and is our resource for learning what other games have done well.

YOU are also an important part of our team, and that’s another reason we chose “Hero-U” as the name of the game.  Besides supporting Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption through your Kickstarter participation, you will be able to participate in development of the game through your comments on the Hero-U forums.  In addition, if you participate at the $75 level or above, you will have exclusive access to Alpha and Beta test builds.  We will take your feedback into account when we fine-tune combat and other game systems.

We know that you are taking a leap of faith by supporting our new game, and we want to assure you that we will use the money wisely.  Our goal is the minimum budget with which we can make a high-quality game.  Here’s our breakdown based on reaching our minimum goal:

  • 65% – Art, programming, music, and design of the game
  • 10% – Kickstarter and Amazon Payments fees
  • 10% – Reward Premiums and Shipping Costs
  • 5% – Repayment of pre-Kickstarter loans and expenses
  • 10% – Marketing and Project Overhead

If your generosity helps this project exceed its minimum goal, it is likely that a higher percentage (possibly as much as 20%) of the funding will go into reward premiums, but most of your support will go directly into the game.  We will add features such as voice acting, and we will add more content including additional art, music, locations, story, and dialogue.

Friend ($5): Thank you for your support! Your name will be added to the Hero list on www.hero-u.net/leadersroll.php, a small first step towards immortality. Access to project updates.

Freshman ($20): You will receive a DRM-free digital game download, access to discussion forums to help us improve the game, and your name will appear on the Hero list.

Sophomore ($35): Digital Reward 2: Receive everything from the Freshman level, the downloadable Hero-U Soundtrack, and the gorgeous Hero-U Art Book in PDF form. The art book contains production sketches, final art, and insider commentary on the making of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.

Junior ($50): Get a head start on your education by playing one of the development team’s previous award-winning games. You will receive all of the Sophomore class benefits plus a digital key to your choice of MacGuffin’s Curse, Jolly Rover, or the complete five-game Quest for Glory collection.

Senior ($75): Get physical with a high-quality boxed copy of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption containing the game on DVD and a printed game manual. You will also receive all of the Sophomore benefits (including an additional digital copy of the game). While you wait for your box, enjoy a preview with early access to our Beta and Combat Balancing Tests. All Seniors may add any of the Junior-level previous games at $15 each.

Big Man On Campus ($100): (Super Digital Rewards) You’re special, and everyone should know it. Your name (or your favorite character’s name) will appear in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK along with a brief statement of your/their accomplishments. We will also email you the Secret Thieves’ Guild Password. (Other players will need to discover this in the game.) You will also receive everything from the Sophomore level as well as early access to our Beta and Combat Balance tests. (NOTE: This tier does not include any physical rewards. It’s highly International-Supporter-friendly.)

Graduate Edition ($150): Unique Kickstarter-Graduate-only Collector’s Edition Box containing the game DVD, manual, a Music Soundtrack CD, your own Varsity Letter, Hero-U button, and everything in the Big Man On Campus digital reward tier including your very own entry in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK.

Research Assistant ($200): You’re practically a team member, so you will receive a very-limited-edition Team Meep Hat plus insider access to developer discussions and Alpha tests. You will also receive everything in the Graduate Edition, and your chosen picture (subject to team approval) will appear in the in-game digital yearbook.

Alumnus ($250): As a proud Hero-U Alumnus, your chosen name, preferred photo (or other image of your choice, subject to team approval) will appear in the Very Limited Edition physical Hero-U Yearbook. Of course, alumni like to collect signatures from their University friends, so Lori and Corey Cole will autograph your yearbook and Graduate Edition premium game box. You will also receive Research Assistant privileges and a Team Meep hat.

Master Rogue ($500): The rewards of your advanced education include a limited-edition art print of the school on Canvas, everything in the Alumnus package including the autographed premium game box and autographed yearbook. You will also receive a Limited Edition Kickstarter Superfan T-Shirt, and digital keys to ALL SEVEN previous games – the five-game Quest for Glory Collection, MacGuffin’s Curse, and Jolly Rover.

PhD ($1,000) – SORRY, SOLD OUT: You will be immortalized. Not only will you receive all of the benefits of a Master Rogue, your chosen name, hero biography, and picture will appear prominently in-game as well as in the yearbook. Your canvas art print will be supersized, and you will be one of the proud few to complete a graduate school education at Hero-U. We’ll also provide you with the secret location and key to the Faculty Lounge. (Other players will be able to break in later in the game.)

DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts) – New Reward!

DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts) ($1,050): You will be featured on an in-game painting. When players click on it, they will see your chosen name, image (this could be you, a favorite character, pet, or other approved image, converted by our artists to look like other in-game portraits), and humorous description. You also receive all of the benefits of a Master Rogue, You will have a listing including your chosen image in the yearbook, and of course will receive an autographed copy of the physical edition. We will send you a canvas art print of your in-game “portrait” in addition to the school art print, and you will be one of the proud few to complete a graduate school education at Hero-U. We’ll also provide you with the secret location and key to the Faculty Lounge. (Other players will be able to break in later in the game.)

Benefactor ($2,500) – SORRY, SOLD OUT: As one of the top alumni contributors to Hero-U, we will name one wing of the University after you or a loved one. The name you choose (with team approval) will be prominently displayed when any student enters your wing. We will send you a customized architectural drawing of your wing. If you send us a suitable video clip, it will appear in the launch video for your wing. You will also receive all benefits of the PhD reward tier. Free shipping worldwide!

High-Roller ($5,000): You’re a serious role-player, or just really want to support our game at a high level. In addition to all of the PhD-level rewards, Corey and/or Lori will run a D&D game for you and friends at a convention anywhere in North America. Or add $1,000 for our additional travel expenses, and we’ll join you anywhere in the world. Does not include the Benefactor reward – The school doesn’t have enough wings. Instead, you’ll have a large statue in the main wing celebrating your or your hero’s accomplishments.

Philanthropist ($10,000): You really care! And we care about you too! Spend a day in Oakhurst with Lori and Corey, sharing a nice meal and discussing game design or anything else you want. You’ll also receive all the rewards of the PhD level and we’ll find a prominent place in-game to thank you for your awesome support. We will cover a one-night hotel stay, but you are responsible for transportation. Make sure you allow extra travel days to visit Yosemite Park while you are here.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

“We choose to go…not because [it is] easy, but because [it is] hard, because that goal will serve to measure and organize the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” – John F. Kennedy establishing the Apollo space program

Creating a new computer game is hard. Making one up to our standards is harder. Hero-U will require an intensive development schedule that includes game design, writing, programming, creating art, creating music and sound effects, and constant quality assurance. But it’s not rocket science.

Fortunately, our team is up to the task. We have created multiple best-selling, award-winning games with budgets ranging from $250,000 to over $4,000,000. In particular, our team members led the development of six acclaimed projects – all comparable in budget to this Kickstarter project – that shipped on time and under budget. We know exactly what we can and can’t accomplish at various budget levels and schedules.

We don’t just believe we can make this game, and make it great. We know we can! With your support and feedback during development, we will show the world that there is a place for well-written, well-crafted role-playing adventure games. More importantly, we will deliver to you a quality role-playing game that measures up to our standards and yours.

Also check them out on their Facebook Page: School for Heroes.