The Renaissance has never been a particularly popular period among game developers. Ruffled collars and berets don't excite the imagination as much as, say, kevlar helmets and power armor. The 16th century has managed to inspire one shooter, though: Renaissance Heroes.
Heroes launched last month on GameFuse. The free-to-play, Unreal Engine 3-powered PC game lets players travel to a steampunk version of Renaissance Europe. Wielding anachronistic firearms, the players battle each other in deathmatch and objective-based matches.
This week Gaming Blend had a chance to chat with Matthew Lenehan, producer of Renaissance Heroes. We limited ourselves to two "hey, that setting sure is wacky!" questions.
First, the obvious question: how do you differentiate your game from all the other Renaissance-based shooters out there?
With Renaissance Heroes, we are making a game set in the past, based on a style of game that hasn’t been made in a decade. But, we didn’t limit ourselves to making just a recreation of Unreal and Quake. Instead, players will see that we have combined the fast-paced adrenaline pumping twitch style of game play with modern gaming conventions and play modes. Another thing that sets us apart is the attention to detail in the characters, maps, and weapons.
How did the Renaissance setting and story come about? Is there someone on staff with a Medieval Studies degree?
No professors of Renaissance era history on staff, sadly. There are some incredibly talented artists on the development team and when it came down to which setting to put the game in, they felt the Renaissance era was one where their creativity could really come out. And from that decision the wonderful characters, the breathtaking landscapes, and the intricately designed weapons were born. I make no claims that the game is historically accurate, though.
Renaissance Heroes uses microtransactions, correct? What kind of things can players purchase?
Yes, Renaissance Heroes is a free to play game with micro-transactions. Players are very sensitive to “pay to win” meaning that they are concerned that people who spend money will have an edge in the game. We are trying to avoid this at every turn by making sure that anything power related can also be purchased with in-game currency. If the players would like some decorations or boosts to allow them to level more quickly, they can buy those with cash.
Besides weapons, we have character animations, costumes, and power-ups in the shop.
The game's beta kicked off in May and officially launched last month. How has the game changed in those months?
When we did the beta in May, we were expecting that old-school players of Quake and Unreal to flock to the game. But, what we found was that young players (players who had no context at all for twitch shooters) were joining the game. However, at the time there was so little information available to the user in the game that they were repeatedly killed before they understood the kind of game it is.
What we have done since then is add a tutorial that not only explains how to play the game, but also the philosophy behind this play style. The goal is to equip the player with both the skills and the necessary information (example: never stop moving) that they will need when they enter their first battle.
We also used this time to improve overall usability, as well as create two brand new modes: Touchdown and Domination.
What are your hopes for this game for the next year? What do you plan to change or add?
Over this next year we will of course add in more maps, modes, weapons, and characters. My hope for this game is that we can make it more social. Twitch and Steam integrations and a clan system will help increase the user base, and create a competitive environment within the game. I also think that e-sports are a natural fit for Renaissance Heroes and hope to see that in the next year.
This year we may see two new consoles. Do you think that this flashy new tech is going to make it harder to sustain a F2P game?
On the contrary, you will see F2P be a bigger and bigger part of the next consoles. I personally don’t see them as a threat to us. While they will have flashy graphics, what matters most is fun and no one can argue that Renaissance Heroes isn’t fun. We will continue improving the game and offering the best twitch-style, arena-based shooter around.
A big thank you to Matthew for speaking with us. If Renaissance-based arena mayhem sounds like your thing, check out the game at GameFuse.com.