Hero's Song, the new role-playing game by John Smedley, has arrived on Steam Early Access. Hero's Song is the game that had its Kickstarter campaign cancelled at the beginning of the year because it wasn't going to be successful.
John Smedley is the guy who made EverQuest, the former boss of Sony Online Studios that became Daybreak Studios more recently. The maker of H1Z1 and the super-duper Planetside 2. Smedley left Daybreak in summer 2015 following online harassment.
I say Smedley made EverQuest but it was of course a team effort. Smedley might have dreamt up the concept but it was turned into design by Bill Trost, Brad McQuaid and Steve Clover. And Bill Trost works with Smedley now, at Pixelmage Games, the company making Hero's Song. He's the creative director there. There are many other experienced game developers there as well. In other words, Hero's Song has some clout behind it.
Hero's Song is an interesting game; well, it has interesting ideas - many aren't implemented yet. It's very early days and I suggest waiting to play it unless you're an Indiegogo Hero's Song backer or want to be actively involved in development.
Hero's Song has whiffs of Minecraft, Diablo and Ultima Online. It's a pixelated fantasy that gives you one life to adventure with. If you die, it's down to the Underworld with you. You can escape but if you die then that's it, game over.
Hero's Song is not an MMO. Like Minecraft the idea is that players make their own custom worlds for others to play in, and currently up to 25 people can play together (up to 50 on some public servers). Custom worlds are randomly generated but you have a degree of control over what comes out. You pick gods to rule over the world and their traits affect the world you turn out. Some gods are more chaotic, some more magical, some more warfaring. Your world randomly generates a thousands years of history before you begin, too.
Then you're plopped in a world that plays a bit like Diablo, with abilities mapped to left and right mouse buttons and hotbar slots, and looks like Ultima Online, although more cartoony. The plinky-plonky music in the background is lovely.
Clearly, there's a long way to go with Hero's Song, but there's potential. March 2017 is earmarked as the game's release date. Hero's Song is £15 on Steam.