Heroes Must Die

Heroic Games

Heroes Must Die by Heroic Games combines an indie video game RPG and an interactive theater production.

Our Biggest Announcement Yet


Yes, that means the live stage show is ON. Not theoretical, hopeful, or likely, but at an actual physical place and temporal point in this universe. Space-time is on our side, baby!

Northwest Vista College will be hosting it, led by Drama Program Coordinator Mellissa Marlowe. Mellissa is a good friend of mine, an actress, director, playwright, professor, and mover and shaker here in town who has been a force for good in my life ever since she saw my 15-minute, 70s kungfu movie version of Hamlet (Hong Kong Action Blues, my favorite title of mine ever). We will introduce Mellissa here on the site in time. In the meantime, why a college? Why this venue? It offers us so much:


- Big enough for literal battles with giant monsters

- A new scene shop to build our incredible props and puppets

- Built in video to stream to all y'all worldwide who might not have a show in your city

- Best of all, multi-departmental collaboration, with their Game Design and Video Production departments getting involved!


The show will go up Spring 2015. This solidifies the transmedia nature that makes this project so cool, and should be the biggest stepping stone to getting venues across the country. See you soon!

Here is the full press release for those interested:


“Heroes Must Die” Brings Video Games to Theater

At a glance:

 - Playwright and designer Rick Stemm is producing “Heroes Must Die,” an interactive, transmedia project combining a video game and stage play

 - Northwest Vista College will produce the stage show, with the Drama Program under Mellissa Marlowe working with the Game Development and Digital Video programs to involve students in all aspects

 - The game (released end of 2014) and the play (produced spring 2015) will influence each other, decisions in each media changing the story in the other


February, 2014 (SAN ANTONIO) – Northwest Vista College will be collaborating with artist Rick Stemm to produce the live stage show for a new multimedia project combining video games and theater, “Heroes Must Die.”

“Heroes Must Die” is presented in two parts. First, it will be released as an action-roleplaying video game at the end of 2014. The story will continue offline through an interactive play, where audience members will have input into how the story will unfold. In addition, the two will influence each other, with attendees at the show unlocking content in the game, and decisions made in the game affecting the story of the show.

Rick Stemm, Creative Director of “Heroes Must Die,” has extensive experience in production of both plays and video games with branching stories. He co-wrote You’ve Ruined a Perfectly Good Mystery, which played at the New York International Fringe Festival, Open Sesame!, a Bollywood musical that premiered here in San Antonio, and a massive interactive piece for 2013 Luminaria arts festival. He was also lead designer and writer for an educational games company in San Antonio, creating learning mini games Lemonocity and Charge Factory, and the full physics game Lost in Limbo.

Production on the game began in 2012 and has been moving steadily since. A test scene of the show was run last year at the Overtime Theater’s Cabaret, where cheering audiences were able to change the direction of the show through game-like interactions. Now the theatrical element of the project finally has an official venue. Northwest Vista College’s Drama, Game Development, and Digital Video & Cinema Production Programs will collaborate with Stemm to produce and stage the live interactive show. Northwest Vista College is part of the Alamo Colleges network and is located in northwest San Antonio. Drama Program Coordinator Mellissa Marlowe will be overseeing the production. Students will be able to get experience designing levels for the game, creating videos for marketing and production, and acting in the show and behind the scenes. The college’s new scene shop will be used to create the massive props and puppets necessary to bring the world of video games to life, and the theater’s video capabilities will stream the show to players of the game across the country.

“I’m excited to work with a theater that not only has the capabilities to bring the ambitious project to life, but understands the transmedia and multidisciplinary nature of the project. Students will be able to get real experience on a project unlike anything that’s been done before. While San Antonio will be the home, I plan to stream the show worldwide and am looking for theaters around the country to host as part of a multi-city release. We want to give as many as possible the opportunity to experience the full story across totally different media,” said Stemm.

The play is scheduled to run in spring of 2015 at the Palmetto Theater in the Palmetto Center for the Arts, shortly after the multi-platform game release at the end of 2014. Progress can be followed through the production blog on the website, or media and updates on all social media. Those interested can follow Heroes Must Die on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or at www.hmd-game.com. Rick Stemm is available to talk more about the project and can be contacted through any of the mentioned media.

The original concept sketch of the stage show when the idea was first conceived. Art by Kelli Clausen

The original concept sketch of the stage show when the idea was first conceived. Art by Kelli Clausen