Review Fix chats with Thierry Haibach, Creative director for the upcoming Free-to-play MOBA Third Person game, “Energy Heroes.” Breaking down the development process, inspirations and goals for the future, Haibach lets us know why it’s a project that has the potential to change the third-person action genre.
About Energy Heroes:
Created for the PC platform, Energy heroes is set in a distant future, featuring a rich science-fiction world where players can choose from 10 different characters belonging to three different species classifications with each their own unique set of skills and weapons. The environment sprinkled with a mix of style elements from the comic books and futuristic movies universe delivers contrasted colors and first-class graphics.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for the game?
Thierry Haibach: Energy Heroes was created by a team of people who all are more or less gamers, from mobile gamers to MOBA players, including RTS and MMORPG players. This diversity of gamer profiles allowed us to enhance the project to be more than a simple MOBA, so that it would overcome the problems and frustrations we, as gamers, often face in many games.
Mass Effect, Gears of War, Sanctum2, Borderlands, League of Legends, Smite, … many games have shaped the choices we have made for different aspects of the game (gameplay, art, music, …). We’ve started this adventure with the intent of turning a third person shooter into a MOBA, and not the other way around. After years of development, the result was a dynamic, intense and fun game: Energy Heroes.
Review Fix: What has development been like thus far? Any hurdles?
Haibach: The project has started during the summer of 2013 with a five-man team. Along the way, the team grew to nine people over two years to take on the production issues we encountered.
During the summer of 2015, we’ve released the Alpha version of the game. This enabled us to summarize on what had been done so far, the strengths of our game and, of course, its weaknesses. It was also at this time that we’ve started a Greenlight campaign, which we have successfully completed, and we were nominated at the Development Awards 2015 in Paris. Some really strong and encouraging moments.
During this last year of development, with the help of private investors, we’ve increased our numbers from 9 to 25. Our team has done an incredible job, and always with a smile, under the tight deadline of the upcoming 1st of June.
It’s a very big, and beautiful adventure for the studio and the people who compose it, as well as those who have supported and followed us during these three years.
It is a shame for us that these three years of development coincide with the release of games with much larger budgets and teams such as Overwatch and Paragon. Even though we were the first to have announced our project (early 2014), we cannot pretend to compete with AAA projects, we simply have the will to make ourselves a small place as indie developers with our game, Energy Heroes, which is completely different from the other games.
Review Fix: How does “Energy Heroes” changes the genre?
Haibach: Energy Heroes has been thought of as a team-focused game. Frustrated by the solo-like policy of some games labeled as team based, we’ve wanted to remove notions such as “kill steal” or “kill assist” to minimize toxic behaviours amongst a team. We want players which are playing a 3v3 game to have fun, and not bicker with others because they’re playing poorly or stole someone else’s target. We have chosen to strengthen social interactions players can have with others in an online game.
The game being, at its core, a third person shooter, we’ve removed as much as possible the notion of limited range, enabling both players and towers alike to fire on sight, regardless of distance, as long as there is no obstacle. This adds intensity to the game, as moving enables the player to dodge lethal attacks, for example.
In a match, the player will be tasked with additional objectives, like gathering energium and upgrading his team’s bots and towers. This leads to some pretty intense fights around the energium tree at some points in the game. Another additional objective is to open the big doors which separate the two teams from the middle section of Stage375. These two doors enable players to block, or not, the waves of minions before an attack for example. Adding these additional objectives creates new stakes, victory could even hinge on their completion. For example, if a team is struggling to push, gathering energium will enable the minions to be strengthened and push further towards the enemy base.
Review Fix: Who will enjoy this game the most?
Haibach: We have made this game for fans of TPS and dynamic action games, but also for MOBA players (in the sense of defending camps and destroying your enemies’) of all levels (casual to hardcore) and of all ages.
Review Fix: What makes this game special?
Haibach: We’re going to put up a matchmaking system which will allow players of equal level to face off against each other, and preventing beginner players from fighting against veterans and having a terrible time. As we’ve mentioned before, we want our players to have fun, and not feel frustrated.
Being an indie development studio, it’s easier for us to let the community speak up and help shape the game in the right direction. We’re planning on giving a large role to the community in what’s to come, in the evolution of the game itself.
Far from guaranteeing a perfect game without any stress or arguing in between players, we’ve tried to remove as many toxicity-inducing elements from MOBAs as possible. A game which can be fun even in defeat and where victory depends on teamwork, more than the skills of a single carrying player.
Review Fix: Bottom line, why should someone check this out?
Haibach: Energy Heroes offers an approach of classic MOBA which hasn’t really been explored yet: a third person view, a dynamic and intense game where you can dodge attacks and run all over the place to confuse your enemies. Forget about those awkward moments where you stare down your opponent from slightly out of his range while poking minions from time to time in early game; In Energy Heroes, you’re going to move, act, and above all else, have fun.
Review Fix: What’s next for DSC Studio22?
Haibach: For the time being we’re going to focus on Energy Heroes to add new content (characters, skins, drones, …) and new modes to the game. We’re currently preparing a Steam release and working on opening a second datacenter on the north American continent. Our long term goal for this game is to be able to create a game mode with many players which will completely diverge from your standard classic MOBA match ( we could go up to 8v8 or even 10v10 maps). A massive mode which has been part of our ideas since the beginning of the project.
For now, we don’t intend to classify Energy Heroes as an e-sport game, as the game is still in Early Access and many new things have yet to be added, but who knows what the future will hold for Energy Heroes.