EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The Making of Hero Academy!
If you have an iOS, you’ve most likely already downloaded, played, and became addicted to Robot Entertainment‘s Hero Academy. We reviewed the game back in January, and with the introduction of new teams, there is no reason to put our iPhone down.
We got a chance to talk to Andrew Olson, Concept Artist, for some interesting facts on the genius behind the making of Hero Academy.
Ellenwood-ep Games: First of all: Congratulations with the accomplishment of Hero Academy, as it has been in the App Store’s “What’s Hot” section over the past couple of weeks! When did you realize Hero Academy was going to be a huge success?
Andrew Olson: Thanks! For me, it when I was unable to stop playing VERY early versions of the game. Even before we had push notifications enabled I would constantly check to see if I had a new turn. I still play a ton, (even though I’m slowly sliding out of the top 25 on the leaderboards). It was great to see early reviews coming in with people as excited about the game as we were, and it’s been cool seeing more and more people playing it!
Ellenwood-ep Games: When coming up with the animation for the Teams, was there a reason to make them cartoon animated vs. a more realistic looking character graphics?
Andrew Olson: Most turn-based strategy games that I’ve seen have a fairly realistic and detailed style, and we wanted a look that would draw people in that normally might not play those kind of games. We wanted a fun and unique style that would work well across a bunch of different teams. It’s a different style than I’m used to, but it was a ton of fun to work on!
Ellenwood-ep Games: What was the inspiration behind the design of the animated characters?
Andrew Olson: Vinyl toys definitely inspired a lot of the design of the characters. I also looked at the character designs from TF2, they have a great way of distilling the character down so the viewer instantly knows what role they play. I wanted to make sure all the different units had distinct silhouettes so it would be easy to tell what their abilities were, and make them identifiable on the battlefield. The large bobble head look helps with that, and helps show a lot of the unique expressions that were made.
Ellenwood-ep Games: What was the idea behind the story of the Teams? Was there a consciousness beforehand to keep creating different types of teams, or was the development of the Dwarves something that came after the app started to take off?
Andrew Olson: The idea behind the different teams was that all these different fantasy archetypes come from across the lands to train at the Hero Academy before they are placed in various dungeons and castles for heroes to battle. Sort of like Hogwarts meets Ender’s Game. It really helps open up the world so that any team doesn’t feel out of place, you could have all sorts of different units fighting each other.
We had always wanted to create new teams, and we went through several other team ideas before we ended up with Dark Elves and Dwarves. With the different teams the idea is to create a new fun and unique play style with each one, without them being overpowered. They also have a general theme to tie them together, like the Dwarves’ specialty in area of effect attacks. I hope Hero Academy continues to take off so we can create more awesome teams!
Ellenwood-ep Games: Are there plans in the future to integrate Hero Academy into other portable devices such as the Android Market, PlayStation Vita Market, or Windows phones?
Andrew Olson: We’re currently working on an Android and iPad version at the moment, but I don’t believe we have plans for the others at this time.
Ellenwood-ep Games: Will there be plans to migrate Hero Academy to consoles in the future? Many have asked whether they will see this game on Xbox Live Arcade, or in the PlayStation Network.
Andrew Olson: We don’t have any plans at this time.
Thank you to Andrew Olson, and the Robot Entertainment Team! We look forward to the future of Hero Academy!
Hero Academy for iPhone via iTunes