Gods and Heroes GDC 2011 PreviewBy Stephen Johnson - Posted Mar 04, 2011
One of the most unexpected games on display at this year’s GDC is Heatwave Interactive’s MMO Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising. If that name rings a bell in your mind, you’re probably remembering back to E3 2006, when the game was originally announced. Back then, it earned raves, including nods as Best of Show from MMO sites Allakazam and TenTonHammer. While the original incarnation of the game went as far as a beta version, for various technical and business reasons, it never saw commercial release.
Fast-forward to 2011: Game company Heatwave, best known for mobile games, has purchased the IP for Gods and Heroes, spiffed it up, added some interesting new elements and plans to release it to the MMO-hungry gaming public as a subscription-based massively-multiplayer online game.
I got my hands on the game at a hotel suite at GDC, and was able to put it through its paces for a bit. The story: The player is a demi-god in ancient Rome, sent on a quest to destroy a pantheon of gods who threaten the traditional Roman god-family (Zeus, Poseidon, etc.). That means killing. Lots of killing. You’ll progress through the game, growing more powerful and defeating a ton of bad gods, enemy soldiers and mythical monsters.
According to Gods and Heroes’ developer, the game is a third old, a third improved and a third brand new. Part of the old content: God and Heroes’ minion system. To help you out in your quest to murder gods, you’ll have the help of minions, NPCs that follow you around and perform different tasks depending on what you need. My helper dudes included a priest type healer who kept me from dying and a huge behemoth who did some tanking. Overall, there will be around 130 minions, each with different stats and strengths, so collect-y players can catch them all.
As for what’s new in Gods and Heroes, each player will have an instanced home kingdom. It will start as a fixer-upper: The angry gods will have brought hell upon your estate, but as you progress in game, you’ll build it back up, customize it, and return your homestead to the pristine stage worthy of a demi-god. Far from just a show-place for your building skills, different structures will give you different in-game advantages. Also, you’ll be able to invite your friends into your pad to check you Ionic columns if you choose.
Another new-ish aspect of the game is its maturity level. This is not the squeaky clean Rome of 1950s gladiator movies. Instead, the player is on a mature mission to kill, so expect copious bloodshed, gore and other violence when the game releases. There may even be context-appropriate nudity as well, meaning Gods and Heroes is flirting with a “Mature” rating.
While the graphics aren’t the most cutting-edge in the MMO space, Gods and Heroes makes the best of its rich source material. The city of Rome is impressive, with the beautiful architecture of actual ancient Rome evident everywhere, and a vast wilderness is promised.
The game combined elements of actual Roman history with the monsters of Roman myth, so history and mythology buffs should be quite pleased when this game is released for the PC, hopefully in the next year.