Kombo did the 1000 Heroz trailers, as mentioned above. But a special mention should also be given to Lauri Konttori of Kombo, who did drawings of all 1000 relics that are in the game. Unlike the characters, these are all custom created drawings, based on the text descriptions created by our in-house writer, Jason Bates.
Traplight’s role however, was even bigger. They were the primary developer on the game, working closely with me as I worked as lead designer, and with Joonas Tamminen, the game’s producer. Riku “the Boss” Rakkola was the lead coder and Jari Paananen was the art lead, along with the rest of the great Traplight team.
So you could say 1000 Heroz was co-developed by RedLynx and Traplight Games and published by RedLynx.
The “one level per day for the next thousand days” release strategy has to be one the most ambitious approaches to content design any developer has undertaken, iOS or no. What considerations shaped this approach to 1000 Heroz? How many of the 1000 levels are completed at this time, and how has RedLynx prepared for the stress of juggling new game development with long-term work on 1000 Heroz?
Our levels are generated by a level designer and by using code, nothing is just randomly tossed out there, there is a design process on each and every level. The levels are all done now, all the Heroz are done, all the relics are done. But we are tuning them all the time, listening to what people want, the feedback in the reviews and on the forum threads, both our own forum and in places like Touch Arcade and many other places people are talking about our game.
However that doesn’t mean we won’t still be working on tuning the level generation process, or adding new obstacles, environments, objects and items in the levels related to later periods of history. So be prepared for some surprises and changes on your long journey.
RedLynx may be an industry veteran when it comes to racing game design, but did the quirky ragdoll characters in 1000 Heroz give the development team a chance to try out any new gameplay ideas that wouldn’t have been as plausible in the vehicle-centric games RedLynx has become known for lately?
It’s true we’ve done quite a few racing games recently and are working on a few more right now (DrawRace 2 and Trials Evolution come to mind), but we’ve always been a multi-genre company, as well as a multi-platform company. In fact, during our years of making games for Nokia, we were tagged more as a strategy game company when we did games like Pathway to Glory, High Seize, and Reset Generation. Of course all that changed after Trials HD.
Both 1000 Heroz and MotoHeroz definitely are related quite a bit to the platformer game genre, too. It’s a very fun, 2D genre that works perfectly on iOS and WiiWare. It’s also one of the more “pure game” type genres out there; players tend to know right away what to do to move their character around on the screen.
One of 1000 Heroz’ most surprising assets is its good humor – I have a feeling the daily joke that goes along with each character will complement my Argyle Sweater calendar quite nicely over the next few years! Was there ever a point at which the development team were thinking of going for something with a more serious tone, or has the lighthearted approach always been part of the project?
I think in the very beginning we tried the serious tone, but it quickly grew apparent that one thousand, one-line biographies was about as interesting as reading an ancient Sumerian king list.
Of course comedy is much harder to come up with, but Jason is the man! Need twenty jokes about sarcophagi? They are in there. Then we added the relics and the “relic joke” to the mix, tied to the Heroz’ biography, it all came together nicely. The idea of the relic as like a one panel cartoon to reward the player, for one thousand days, fits in well.
The jokes do get funnier as you get through history and towards the modern era, because it is easier for us to relate to cowboys and astronauts than more distant Stone Age people and their dinosaur bones.
There are a couple of serious articles however – the two final relics give a hint as to why you were collecting these relics all along…so there are some secrets still in there, yes.
Players have no doubt noticed a strong evolutionary theme in 1000 Heroz; as I write this, it seems the Stone Age runners are just learning how to speak. What can you reveal at this point about any surprises that may be in store as the game transitions into new eras? Have all major design decisions been set in stone, or will the design process continue well into the game’s thousand day lifespan?
You are correct to guess that as the game continues into each new Age of History, new characters will come with more modern ideas and disasters that have befallen each of their lives. All the Heroz’ names, biographies and relics have already been created, and the history has been written of their larger world – the 500 generations that make up the game.
I couldn’t help but notice that RedLynx will release a game called MotoHeroz for WiiWare soon (emphasis mine). Does this mean what I think it does – that a major Illuminati conspiracy is afoot? And if a franchise connection does exist, what challenges and advantages does RedLynx see in splitting a single franchise across multiple platforms?
There is definitely a connection there. Originally when we were creating MotoHeroz for the WiiWare platform, we had the idea to include Ancestor Spirits as collectibles you would discover on each of the maps. The original idea was to include a thousand of them, but as we developed the game, we saw that would be too many for the different levels. So we ended up using only about 150 or so.
At the same time, we had this idea with Traplight to create a time-based running game that eventually grew into 1000 Heroz. We already had the 1000 heroes and their history designed for MotoHeroz, so we thought it would be a fun way to expand the game world of Gema and also let fans of one game discover the other game.
So if you enjoyed the characters of 1000 Heroz, you will enjoy seeing their distant descendants grumbling and driving through the world of MotoHeroz and beyond.
Heroz is definitely a big game world with multiple games and lots of stories to tell – the 500 generations of Heroz, spread throughout history – and who knows, maybe someday the future — are the key.
iFanzine’s thanks goes to Antti for taking the time out to answer our questions. You can get more of the lowdown on RedLynx’s product history, as well as all their social media info, right on their website. Now let’s leave you with one of their awesome trailers, this one for the upcoming Draw Race 2.