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Interview RPG Codex Interview: Corey Cole on Quest for Glory and Hero-U (Now on Kickstarter!)

Crooked Bee

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Tags: Corey Cole; Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption; Quest for Glory; Transolar Games

Today is a big day for fans of Sierra's classic adventure RPG Quest for Glory - Corey and Lori Cole, the series' creators, are back with a Kickstarter campaign for a new RPG, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Rogue to Redemption is intended to combine the best about Quest for Glory with an all-new interface and turn-based combat.

Rogue to Redemption's story is, unsurprisingly, that of a Rogue. Like the original Hero's Quest, or Quest for Glory 1, Rogue to Redemption is supposed to launch an entire series of games. In contrast to Quest for Glory, however, each game in the Hero-U series is going to bring a specific class in the spotlight: Rogue in the first game, Wizard in the second, etc. In this interview, Corey Cole talks to the RPG Codex about the decision to make Hero-U's combat turn-based and the combat mechanics he has in mind for the game, the class and skill system, budget limitations, puzzle design, crowdfunding as a way of independent video game publishing, and his and Lori's plans for future games. Have a snippet:

RPG Codex: One significant departure of Hero-U from Quest for Glory is the turn-based combat. What motivated your decision to make combat turn-based this time and apparently give it a more prominent place?

Corey Cole: Two of our inspirations for the game were Rogue and Wizardry; both used turn-based combat. We want to focus on tactical options and not make this a "mash the button fast" game. There are plenty of that type out there! By keeping combat turn-based, we will have more of a thinking person's game.

As for the prominence of combat, we think it's fun, and it makes sense in this game. We watched some play-throughs of Quest for Glory and felt people were avoiding monsters all too easily. You'll be able to avoid some fights in this game – especially since you're a Rogue – but might not want to do that too often because it will be both fun and useful.

RPG Codex: Can you talk about the combat system you have in mind for the game and the combat mechanics involved? Just how tactical do you want the combat to be? Are there any games, computer or pen-and-paper, that you take inspiration for Hero-U's combat from?

Corey Cole: We're looking at in-place combat on the dungeon map rather than the special screens we used in Quest for Glory. We used those because we didn't want the player or enemies to get stuck on room terrain. For Hero-U, we'll set up some of the combat settings to make combat more tactical. You will be able to move around, shift things in the room to channel your enemies, and so on.

If you look at D&D 3+ vs. AD&D, they went with more options such as flanking opponents. In CRPG's, I liked the Betrayal at Krondor tactical combat interface. I'm undoubtedly being influenced by World of Warcraft boss battles after spending several years raiding. : ) But we're trying to come up with a unique system that has intuitive UI, but also gives the player real choices.

We will have an Action Point system so that you can choose between doing a single, powerful action during your "turn" or a couple of smaller actions (such as stab and dodge) or move to improve your tactical position. I won't allow combats to turn into 10-minute marathons, but there will be more choices than in Quest for Glory.

The main feature of the Rogue character will be item use – Your Rogue will supplement his basic skills with a variety of items that let him do some unusual actions. We plan to keep the same basic interface for each game in the Hero-U series, but each character type will have a different flavor in combat.

RPG Codex: Corey, in a comment on your blog you recently said, "we also want to make sure our new games are very distinct from the work we did at Sierra. We’ve moved on, and learned more about game design." What are some of the things about game design, and adventure game design in particular, that you have learned since Quest for Glory?

Corey Cole: We were really pretty naïve when we made at least the first two Quest for Glory games. We based them on our paper RPG experience (including our custom skill-based RPG system), the few CRPG's we had played (Rogue, Wizardry, Dungeon Master, Ultima IV, and Bard's Tale), and a few days spent playing through older Sierra games.

Specifically, we'll be going back to our paper RPG roots to simulate and balance combats so that they will be challenging, but in the player's favor. Also, we will add some puzzle elements to combat – Using items or abilities to negate your enemy's strongest attacks and get through their defenses, and using the terrain to survive combat against multiple opponents.

In addition, Lori and I have to be particularly sensitive that we are *not* making a new Quest for Glory because Activision owns the series license. We may be able to work with them in the future on new QfG games, and we don't want Hero-U to feel like a clone of anyone else's game, including our own.

RPG Codex: Hero-U will be broken down into five episodes, one for every character class, of which "Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption" will be the first. In terms of play time, how long do you want each episode to be - is it one-fifth of a Quest for Glory game? Do you plan on doing a Kickstarter for every episode? When all episodes are released, do you intend to "merge" them into a single game with different routes where you choose your character class in the beginning, RPG style?

Corey Cole: Each Hero-U game is a complete game in its own right, probably about the size of the original Hero's Quest. In fact, whether we even do more than one game will depend on the response we get to our Kickstarter and our sales of the first game. I can't put a number of hours on that play time.

We don't intend to merge the games, but they will all tie together in thematic ways and in terms of events going on in the world around you. If we are able to pull it off, your actions as a Rogue in the first game will affect some things that happen in the Wizard game, and so on. In the fifth game, we want to make it so that you play all of the characters, switching between them as needed to solve certain puzzles or win some of the battles. It's an ambitious plan, and we will have a lot more discussions about the interface and design for that game when we get closer to it.

We might or might not do a Kickstarter for the future games. The major advantage would be as a presale and publicity vehicle – Kickstarter gives us a way to reach more fans. But if we have adequate funding at the end of the first project, and sales of the first game go well, we might fund future games from the proceeds of the earlier ones. A Kickstarter drive is time-consuming and potentially expensive, so might not be an appropriate way to fund a sequel. But it will depend on our bank balance after the first game.​

Read the full interview: RPG Codex Interview: Corey Cole on Quest for Glory and Hero-U (Now on Kickstarter!)

We thank Corey for his time, and for providing us with some exclusive concept artwork for this interview. Don't forget to check out Hero-U's Kickstarter page to study the rewards and pledge if you'd like to support the game.
 

oldmanpaco

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Backed it for $20. The game might suck but I like the QFG series as kid.
 

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I'll say it again:

I can't help but feel disappointed by how these two never really wanted to make an adventure/RPG hybrid. They made something really unique, but it turns out to have just been an accident.
 

Zed

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This is a good Kickstarter. Good. After OLDSCHOOL RPG!!! stumbling with theirs, it's nice to see that some people actually sit down and make a plan.

*They have thought it through with a breakdown of funds allocations
*Assembled a reliable team (I assume by Lori and Corey will write as well). well-presented.
*Codex interview ;)
*They don't ask for A MILLION DOLLARS PLS.
*Good reward tiers

The game seems good too. Pretty small scope, which is good for a first game in a series.
Turn-based combat, being able to set traps and all that stuff sounds good.
Graphics are a bit cartoony but I don't really mind. I want to punch that arrogant-looking ginger-motherfucker in the face though. I assume that's the PC. Hopefully customizable. Environments look great.

Pledged!
 

mediocrepoet

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I'll say it again:

I can't help but feel disappointed by how these two never really wanted to make an adventure/RPG hybrid. They made something really unique, but it turns out to have just been an accident.

I agree, I love QfG a great deal. Much of the special place it holds is because of its unique genre blend, though. I mean the characters and settings were nice and what not but I don't know that I'd still remember the games as well as I do if they were straight RPGs.

Even so, I'm curious to see what they do with this... though I wonder if it's aimed at a younger audience - or perhaps, the same audience since I was relatively young when I first played Hero's Quest.
 

mbpopolano24

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Horrible video (in my irreleavnt opinion), but great game. I'm in as well. Then again, I have a lot of cash to burn... I wonder if I will get a single decent game out of the dozen Kick-my-balls-starter projects I gave money to... Still I have got nada-zero-nothing-niet out of this fucking business.
 

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I'll say it again:

I can't help but feel disappointed by how these two never really wanted to make an adventure/RPG hybrid. They made something really unique, but it turns out to have just been an accident.

I agree, I love QfG a great deal. Much of the special place it holds is because of its unique genre blend, though. I mean the characters and settings were nice and what not but I don't know that I'd still remember the games as well as I do if they were straight RPGs.

Even so, I'm curious to see what they do with this... though I wonder if it's aimed at a younger audience - or perhaps, the same audience since I was relatively young when I first played Hero's Quest.

I am curious also - but I think I won't pledge to this one. The Coles seem out of touch after playing MMOs for seven years.
 

Azalin

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I am a bit confised.how is this thing going to look in the end ,like something made with rpg maker?
YIyw2.jpg


Or something like QfG 3-4

sQxoV.jpg
 

FeelTheRads

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Eh, would be too inconsistent. Bottom one is probably just concept art, unfortunately.
 

Crooked Bee

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In the interview Corey says they only have the budget for a 2D top-down look. I don't think the looks in that screenshot are final, though - the game is only in pre-production. So that's just a quick mockup, most likely.

Anyway, personally I couldn't care less how it looks, and the ideas they have for the gameplay sound pretty good to me.
 

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Two game creators best known for their work at Sierra On-Line say adventure game puzzles "sucked". Okay...

So they were RPG people all along, right? But then they say they couldn't get into Ultima Online, but have had their brains fried by seven years of WoW. And they don't even mention any experience with the single player RPGs of the late 90's and early 2000's, just the blobbers of their youths.

Red flags, people. I'm sure they mean well but they seem painfully out of touch.
 

Crooked Bee

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Two game creators best known for their work at Sierra On-Line say adventure game puzzles "sucked". Okay...

Well...

Corey Cole said:
Many of those "devious" adventure game puzzles sucked. : ) They really didn't make sense to anyone other than the designer. We don't like to create busywork or puzzles that suck. We were appalled when a certain Sierra game incorporated a puzzle that could only be solved by dying and restoring the game; you won't find anything like that in our games if we can help it.

This is true.

To be a challenge today, puzzles need to be much more subtle. We will have stuff going on with character relationships where it will be very hard to follow a walkthrough. It isn't a single thing you do that makes another character like or trust you – It's the accumulated effect of multiple interactions.

This sounds really good.

One of the things that set Quest for Glory apart from other adventure games is that we tried not to tack on puzzles just to add challenge. Almost all of our puzzles were part of the story and tied in to the needs of other characters in the game. That's a basic part of our game design philosophy, so of course we'll be doing similar things in Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.

This is also true.

In fact, everything about this game's gameplay sounds good. I'm not claiming it will have good gameplay, of course, because nobody can tell. And who cares if they enjoy WoW. I honestly think you're being, or trying to be, too negative there.
 

Azalin

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Eh, would be too inconsistent. Bottom one is probably just concept art, unfortunately.

I am not exactly happy paying 20$ for something that looks like it was made with RPG maker but with better writing,I would prefer something with more personality like their QFG,especially 3&4.They do get extra points for putting that Dagger of Amon-Ra reference in the first picture I posted but for now:keepmyjewgold:,I might reconsider though
 

Crooked Bee

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Overall, I'm usually really picky about red flags in interviews myself, but here I don't see any red flags at all. Apart from perhaps the graphics if you can't stand this particular style.
 

Crooked Bee

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You should've quoted that because not many people click on links.

Lemme do it for ya:

Regarding the graphics posted above, all I can say is I hope that's just some early speculation. That view looks like standard RPG Maker but worse.
That perspective is going to probably stay as it let's us creating a larger game on a smaller budget. The art style will change drastically and probably me more painted in style (think Bastion).

I was also thinking the paper doll has fewer inventory slots than I'd have figured... but then QfG didn't have much in the way of equipment, but it was a different style of game.
Equipped items will be less important in this game as you're not really built to fight things heads on. Most of your items will be poisons and traps, which don't need equipping.
 

Infinitron

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Two game creators best known for their work at Sierra On-Line say adventure game puzzles "sucked". Okay...

Well...

Corey Cole said:
Many of those "devious" adventure game puzzles sucked. : ) They really didn't make sense to anyone other than the designer. We don't like to create busywork or puzzles that suck. We were appalled when a certain Sierra game incorporated a puzzle that could only be solved by dying and restoring the game; you won't find anything like that in our games if we can help it.

This is true.

To be a challenge today, puzzles need to be much more subtle. We will have stuff going on with character relationships where it will be very hard to follow a walkthrough. It isn't a single thing you do that makes another character like or trust you – It's the accumulated effect of multiple interactions.

This sounds really good.

One of the things that set Quest for Glory apart from other adventure games is that we tried not to tack on puzzles just to add challenge. Almost all of our puzzles were part of the story and tied in to the needs of other characters in the game. That's a basic part of our game design philosophy, so of course we'll be doing similar things in Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.

This is also true.

In fact, everything about this game's gameplay sounds good. I'm not claiming it will have good gameplay, of course, because nobody can tell. And who cares if they enjoy WoW. I honestly think you're being, or trying to be, too negative there.

That's all true Bee. And in fact even the original Quest for Glory games didn't really have many "puzzles" as such.

But still, they need to consider their audience. The hardcore audience that will actually being giving them money to make this - which consists in large part of oldschool Sierra fans.

Now it's true that they gave this interview on the RPG Codex, so maybe they'll being talking another talk in other, more adventure-centric venues. We'll see.
 

Crooked Bee

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But still, they need to consider their audience. The hardcore audience that will actually being giving them money to make this - which consists in large part of oldschool Sierra fans.

Now it's true that they gave this interview on the RPG Codex, so maybe they'll being talking another talk in other, more adventure-centric venues. We'll see.

Actually, from what I've read on their blog and in this and other interviews, one enticing thing about this project, at least to me, is that they seem to be pretty honest in their marketing, and open about the design fundamentals they have in mind for this game - and, in contrast to many other Kickstarter projects, the fundamentals are all there already, they aren't making stuff up on the fly.

So far I haven't seen any "oldschool!!" audience pandering from them, and personally I think that's a very good thing, so I hope they keep it that way. (Not that, say, Brian Fargo's pandering wasn't also a good thing in its own right, but generally I prefer this kind of approach.)
 

Infinitron

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Overall, I'm usually really picky about red flags in interviews myself, but here I don't see any red flags at all. Apart from perhaps the graphics if you can't stand this particular style.

That's because for you, whatever red flag was there was vastly overshadowed by the white flag of them being Wizardry fans. :smug:

But again, is a blobber-influenced game what Quest for Glory fans want?

Actually, from what I've read on their blog and in this and other interviews, one enticing thing about this project, at least to me, is that they seem to be pretty honest in their marketing, and open about the design fundamentals they have in mind for this game - and, in contrast to many other Kickstarter projects, the fundamentals are all there already, they aren't making stuff up on the fly.

So far I haven't seen any "oldschool!!" audience pandering from them, and personally I think that's a very good thing, so I hope they keep it that way. (Not that, say, Brian Fargo's pandering wasn't also a good thing in its own right, but generally I prefer this kind of approach.)
Well, we'll see where their honesty leads them.
 

oldmanpaco

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Someone donate $10 so Infinitron can get the tag.
 

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