Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by the Quest for Glory designers
(an unofficial Q&A-style list of known/important details by yours truly)
Pledge goal: USD 400,000. End date: November 20. Reached 1/2 of its goal in 2/3 of the time, so we need a bit of a proper end rush to prevent it from becoming one of the 3 % of KS projects that fail despite having reached 50 % of their goal.
If you have already seen the project page, I implore you to check out the replaced video/recent updates. Or at least check the art question at the bottom here.
Q: What is Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption?
A: A role-playing/adventure/puzzle game by Corey and Lori Cole.
-Q: Can you be more specific?
-A: The first game in a planned pentalogy (and potential hexalogy) of tile-based turn-based role-playing/adventure/puzzle games, each following a different character of a different class with different reasons for attending Hero-University through their freshman year at an actual mythology-based medieval fantasy-themed school complete with haunted catacombs, by Corey and Lori Cole, the core creators behind the setting and all (official) games of renowned groundbreaking 1990's (1989-1998) adventure/role-playing game series Quest for Glory. (It might also be followed by a series following them through a sophomore exchange year, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.)
-Q: That sounds like an overambitious hodgepodge of genres, does it not?
-A: May sound like it at first, but when you think about it, it all fits together very well. IMHO one could just as easily describe it as a role-playing game that cherry picks the best(-fitting) parts of adventure games and puzzle games, which are already way more present in most tabletop RPG's than in most computer RPG's. Besides, they are all seasoned developers.
Q: What platforms will be supported?
A: Windows PC, OS X and Linux. (I think tablets have been mentioned as a potential stretch goal.)
Q: Why should fans of the Quest for Glory series be interested in this project?
A: It's by the creators of the QfG series, set in the world of QfG, with the writing style (and thus both depth and humor) of the QfG series.
-Q: But I'd rather they make a game in the exact same style as the (VGA) QfG games, why don't they?
-A: Painted graphic adventure backgrounds are very expensive (but the more money they get the more will be made to illustrate important scenes) and the easily expandable tiles lend themselves better to the focus on RPG gameplay, i.e. navigating between rooms and around enemies.
--Q: Well, okay, but I don't owe them anything and it just doesn't interest me, so?
--A: Fair enough, but you should still join in advertising it to your friends and followers as Activision has been lazily sitting on the QfG rights, neither selling nor licensing them to any of a number of interested parties that wanted to continue the series -- many (all?) of them with the Coles --, so a combination of this project and Telltale's King's Quest sequel (merely oddly phrased by them as a reboot) both being successful would go a long way to ensure not just any Quest for Glory game, but a "true" Quest for Glory VI (starring the Hero's child of whatever pairing you ended up with in QfG5 if the Coles have their way).
Q: Why should fans of role-playing games be interested in this project?
A: Three words: Tactical turn-based combat. And because your choices will matter; not just through dialog, but also your actions. What's more, each game will focus on a character of a particular RPG archetype class in their QfG interpretation: The first game will star a male rogue called Shawn O'Conner, the second a female wizard, the third a female warrior and the fourth a male paladin. And there'll be RPG-style equipment. Also, the QfG games were revolutionary for their time in their offering of multiple ways to solve a problem, so expect much of that.
-Q: Wait, didn't you say there'd be five to six games?
-A: The last game as I understand it will star a "mystery character" (I suppose the child of a QfG NPC?) and have segments of you controlling each of the prior protagonists. But that's just speculation on my part based on a hunch or three. And they've talked about maybe adding a game starring a (proper) bard student between the fourth game and the final one if the series is big enough a success.
-Q: Tactical turn-based combat? Tell me more!
-A: The current plan is for there to be five action points per turn, movements costing 1 AP per tile, light attacks (and minor actions?) costing 2 AP and heavy attacks (and major actions?) costing 4 AP. And of course Shawn being a rogue, he'll be able to sneak, backstab and lay traps.
--Q: Wait a moment; tiles? You mean squares? Ugh.
--A: I can think of some games with hexagonal tiles (instead of just an according overlay), but they mean tetragonal ones, yes. I'll be honest, I prefer vector-based a bit over hex-fields and both a lot over square grids, but I am capable of enjoying all of them. If you like turn-based you should be very much used to them as well. And if you actually prefer them, all the better; go pledge now!
-Q: And how will my choices matter?
-A: Primarily in the first game you can decide whether to go with Shawn's original plan of joining the Thieves' Guild in the end or try to follow the school's teachings and become a heroic rogue. And you can decide every time whether to diligently go to class (etc.) or to spend that time exploring/treasure-hunting in the catacombs, caves and ruins below and near the school instead. Whether you attend your classes and how you behave there (or in the library or wherever) will affect how the instructors, administrators and fellow students think of your PC, everyone liking different kinds of conversation/behavior.
--Q: Care to elaborate?
--A: Sure. For example you can work together, help someone out, play pranks, try to cheat on tests, take the blame for something or put the blame on somebody else. So, while Shawn will always have a typical roguish personality, it's up to you if he's just a jerk or has a heart of gold (or both, I guess). Spend enough time on Shawn's (and later the other PC's) social interactions and you may gain him some friends and/or foes (and potentially also find him some love) who then may show up to help or hinder you throughout various points of your adventure. And you will be able to import your characters into the sidequels, so they'll have the same personality and abilities as a (cameo-ing) NPC as they had as a PC. That and some other undisclosed changes and minor bonuses.
-Q: What about experience gain and skill progression?
-A: It will be neither typical XP-leveling like most RPG's, nor exactly akin to the easily exploitable repetition-based systems of Quest for Glory and The Elder Scrolls. The current plan goes something like this: Doing something new with the abilities at your disposal, like defeating a new enemy type (in a respectively new way), will give a boost to the skill you used, but slaying fifty rats or throwing a dagger at a wall fifty times won't get you anything but maybe carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, attending classes will increase your stats in some way, with elective courses potentially even giving you new skills altogether.