Adventure games are storytelling games, but sometimes getting to the next part of the story can be frustrating. Visual novels tell stories, but don’t offer as many choices or as much freedom as adventure games. But why can’t we have both?
That’s the question Lori Cole asked when she started writing Summer Daze at Hero-U, a prequel story to the highly-rated Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Surprisingly, she found the answer in simulation games such as Dream Daddy and Magical Diary. Those games present stories with real choices, but avoid the sometimes arbitrary and frustrating puzzles of many adventure games.
Lori is known for the depth and complexity of dialogue and story in her games Quest for Glory, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, and Shannara. However, much of the focus in developing those games was on the role-playing game mechanics, “walking simulator” graphics, and enabling interaction with every object in every scene. Those things are fun, but they can become distractions from the game’s story.
A New Direction
Just as Lori and Corey Cole combined tabletop roleplaying with adventure game mechanics in many of their previous games, she decided to combine the best parts of visual novels with simulation and adventure gaming. In Summer Daze at Hero-U, players make meaningful choices that affect the direction of the story, and most importantly, their character’s relationship with other people in the game.
“Most visual novels have static plots that the player uncovers as he goes along. Summer Daze has no fixed story – the player makes the story by choosing where to go, who to interact with, and how to interact with them. Player choices matter. The plot may be the same between games, but the outcome can be wildly different.” – Lori Cole
Summer Daze at Hero-U is a story-driven point-and-click adventure game. Play as female rogue Tilly Appleberry – whose humor and wits are her greatest weapons – or the studious male wizard Ifeyo Kinah and his meerbat familiar Jafafa. It’s two storytelling adventure games in one! The adventure begins during Hero-U’s summer festival… which has to be a success… or not. It’s up to the player.
Summer Daze is designed to be replayed many times, with the character relationships and story changing each time according to player choices. If you’ve ever watched a film or read a book, and asked, “Why did the character do that? I would have…”, Summer Daze at Hero-U will give you the chance to try different actions and learn how they turn out.
Lori and Corey are currently raising funds on Kickstarter to complete the writing and development of Summer Daze at Hero-U, and to add additional animation and game features.