Girl Gamer

Women in Gaming: Lori Ann Cole and Her new RPG, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

By GG-jackie879 1 year, 5 months ago • 1 Comment

If you were gaming in the 80’s and 90’s, you most likely remember Sierra Entertainment. They were responsible for bringing us some very influential titles, one of them being the Quest for Glory games. The five-part RPG/adventure series was designed by Lori Ann Cole along with her husband Corey, and if you haven’t played them yet, do yourself a favor and check them out.

Lori Ann Cole has a new Kickstarter project underway for Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, a turn-based, 2D classic style RPG that’s due out for the PC next fall. Having fond memories of Quest for Glory, I was very excited to hear what she has in store for this new game. I had the pleasure of asking her some questions about Hero-U and what makes it so unique.

GirlGamer: What prompted you and your husband Corey to launch the Kickstarter campaign for Hero-U?

Lori Ann Cole: For a year now, we’ve been getting letters from our fans about doing a Kickstarter project. I had not heard of Kickstarter before. We watched the rise of Double Fine Adventures skyrocketing to the top. Then at San Diego Comic Con, we went to the panels on Kickstarter. We realized – We can do this! We can make our own games. It’s a very exhilarating feeling – and Scary.

Starting a company, managing finances, finding people to work for you, and designing games are all huge tasks in and of themselves. Combine them all into a Kickstarter project, and it’s daunting for anyone who has been there and done that before. We should know better by now.

And yet… here we go again…

GG:Kickstarter has become a popular method to get creative projects out there. In what ways do you think it has affected the video game industry?

LAC: Has it affected the industry? Well, the industry is watching this Kickstarter phenomenon very closely. They are looking at the game licenses they hold that have been obsolete for years, and licking their chops. There may yet be money in old games, or so they hope. However, they aren’t ready to risk their precious funds to make one.

If Kickstarter continues to grow and promote a new rebirth in old-style games, and million dollar projects become the norm, THEN the industry may take more than just a wishful look at it.

GG: The final Quest for Glory game was released in 1998. Will Hero-U be related to that series in any way, or will it be a standalone title?

LAC: Hero-U is a standalone title and a slightly different style of game than Quest for Glory. On the other hand, they both share the same game world. Anyone who played Quest for Glory will recognize the similarities.

But Quest for Glory followed a nebulous, unnamed Hero through his journey from one game to another in the series. The Hero was designed as a sort of “Everyman” for the player to instill his personality upon. Hero-U is more of a Role-Playing game. You will take on the part of Shawn O’Connor, would be thief who gets caught and sent to the Hero University. Shawn is a very distinctive character with a past history that will affect the play of the game. He’s bright and a bit of a wise guy. Okay, so he’s very much a smart mouth. In Quest for Glory, the Hero starts out wanting very much to become a Hero. In Hero-U, Shawn wants nothing more to than to get as far away from being a Hero as he can get. The question becomes, “will he – or won’t he – become a hero?” Only the player will know for sure.

GG: During the game design process, what are some of your biggest sources of inspiration?

LAC: Books, games… everything in life is an inspiration. Our team is going to have a real influence upon this game, and so is every fan who pledges to make this game happen. I’m really excited about this project, more than any other project I’ve worked upon in the past. I can’t wait to get started on the serious design work to make Hero-U.

Never let it be said that work has to be dull and boring. I prefer my work to be challenging, exciting, and creative.

GG: Strong, female characters played a role in the Quest for Glory games and you also have a series on your blog about the Women of Quest for Glory. What sort of female characters can we expect to meet in Hero-U?

LAC: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, centers around the Rogue class and Shawn O’Connor. As his classmate, Katy MacMichael points out, “Rogue is the class where they stick all the misfits and losers who are too weak to be warriors, too stupid to be Wizards, and too smart to be Paladins.” She’s wrong about that, but she doesn’t realize it. Katy’s a strong-minded and strong-willed young woman who has her own reasons for being at Hero-U.

There will be a cast of other interesting and influential women at the school. Sophia Miranda, the school receptionist, has more to do with running the school than the rest of the administration wants to believe. The librarian is a strange person. No one is sure whether she’s a he, but the librarian seems to hold many other secrets, as well.

Then there’s Moira Glenshannon, the Paladin instructor. She’s the one person who is there to help you no matter what.

The women are outnumbered by the men at the school, but their influence will be huge.

GG: In what ways will Hero-U be different than other RPG’s currently on the market?

LAC: Hero-U emphasizes story, character, and decision-making. Does the player want to play this game as a romance? There are others who will be interested in him, once he proves himself. Does the player like puzzle games? Every monster you fight in the dungeon is more a matter of puzzle-solving than hack-n-slash. We’re one of the few games that combine strong story-telling with exciting exploration and combat. Our combat is turn-based, rather than twitch on the key. Players can out-think their foes rather than win because they got a bigger glowing magical sword than the monster has. We’re also one of the few games out there with a sense of humor.

GG: What are some of your favorite RPG’s?

LAC: I played World of Warcraft for years. I loved the humor and the different characters. I even enjoyed the real-time action. I enjoyed playing the hunter character who searched the lands for rare and interesting pets to tame. And I really enjoyed the sense of humor in the game. Troll humor is droll. Gnomes are nutty and could have come straight from a Quest for Glory game. But few people who still play on WoW seem to care much for role-playing or story.

Star Wars: the Old Republic, dragged me away from WoW. Star Wars has interesting characters and a compelling story for each character class. I wanted to know more about the character I played and what would happen to her. I could be as good or bad a person as I wanted to play. There is a lot of love in SWtor – the voice acting really makes the characters come to life.

GG: Which platform do you prefer for RPG and adventure games, and why?

LAC: I’m a PC gamer. All the good games are there… :)

GG: Your Kickstarter campaign is doing very well, but if it should fail to meet its funding goal, what will the future hold for Hero-U?

If our Kickstarter fails to meet the goal, we will be very disappointed, and so will the fans who are supporting it. It really depends upon how many backers we get for the project. If a lot of people really want to see the game, we’ll find a way to make it. If most people decide they’d rather play something else, then we’ll probably find something else to do, too. We got to make a living somehow.

Special thanks to Lori Ann Cole for her time and we look forward to seeing what’s next in her bright future. You can check out and back Hero-U on their Kickstarter page.

You can also learn more about Hero-U on the official website and check out Lori’s amazing art on FarStudios.com.

Tags

Hero-U: Rouge to Redemption, Kickstarter, Lori Ann Cole, PC

Debz

1 year, 5 months ago

Great interview! Thanks for sharing the news about Lori's latest project.

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