For the lucky ones that will truly have time to themselves over the next couple of weeks, this is a great time to catch up on your nerd quotient. Most television shows are on hiatus, theres a lull in video game releases, and plenty of sales out there to entice your credit card to jump out of your wallet. Time to hit your nerd media collection hard, and get started on some new stuff too.
I said it before and I’ll say it again, Hero Academy is the best asynchronous strategy game currently on the iOS. We were lucky enough to chat with Marcin Szymanski (check that link for a great interview over at Tap), lead programmer and designer of Hero Academy at this years PAX: East, and learned a little bit about the game we here at NA have grown to truly love. According to Szymanski, Hero Academy was a bit of an experiment. Designed by an incredibly small team over the course of six months, Robot wasn’t really sure that their risky pet project would catch on. With a ton positive buzz and impressive sales, Hero Academy should be hosting chaotic battles for many years to come. During our chat with Mr. Syzmanski we learned that there will be a number of new teams on the way should things continue to go as well as they have been. Symanski noted that it has always been his intention for Hero Academy to have an expansive roster of varied teams to choose from (Street Fighter was used as an example). The tricky thing is making sure all teams are truly unique, balanced, and fair. With each army having their own distinct “flavor”, the challenge lies in making each of those flavors taste nothing like any of the others before it. For example, we probably won’t be getting another army with life draining abilities like the Dark Elves for quite some time. Variety.. as they say. On a personal note it’s always a pleasure to talk with developers that are truly excited about their work. Here are some juicy things we learned from our chat with Robot.
1) New Maps? : There are more maps with environmental hazards on the way soon. (Note: personally I think it would be incredible to have game changing inviormental hazards that have the capacity to disrupt “trench warfare” .)
2) Cross-platform play? : Robot is working hard on the Android version of Hero Academy. And good news! Android users should be able to play with their Apple using friends and enemies.
3) Choose your hero? : The possibly was tossed around for players to be able to choose their own hero unit, but balance became an issue and the idea was scrapped.
4) There is a reason for the fighting! : In terms of lore, the Hero Academy is a place where combatants go to train prior to heading to war. Sysmanski made it seem as though this game was just the beginning of what could become an incredibly rich and robust IP. Note: Bring it on! I’m all for Hero Academy becoming the next FF-Tactics.
5) Never “pay to win”: Hero academy is specificaly designed with balance in mind. That being said there are currently no plans to allow players to purchase superior units or buffs. Armies, colors, and taunts will continue to remain as micro-transactions.
I’m going to be honest here, I never thought I’d be excited about a mobile game, they’re just not my thing. As soon as I got my hands on Hero Academy, I ate my words. Hero Academy is proof undeniable that you don’t need a huge team with an endless budget to create something truly fun and innovative. Oh yeah! We’re giving away some free Dwarven armies! Keep an eye on that Twitter feed!