Heroes Must Die

Heroic Games

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

News and Updates

Some quick updates!


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Release is imminent! Current estimate is April 2nd, just past doing stupid fool crap and just before the show to give time to play.


Rehearsals are under way! We're days away from some initial props, costumes, and sets, and hard at work with blocking, choreography, and build. Look at them swing those giant swords.

So big

So big

The show runs April 14-23. Buy tickets at the door. But mark your calendars! 

Some key dates:

April 15th is the live stream. Details to come here, Facebook, blog, everywhere.

April 16th you can meet the game devs. We'll have the programmer, environment artist, composer, and writer/designer at the show to talk.

April 22nd is our talkback night to learn about the process from cast and crew. As a special treat, creative leads from Bioware will be there to talk about games as art!

Post PAX

Wow, thanks to everyone who made PAX South 2016 an amazing time for the Heroic Games crew. There was a lot of indie love there and our booth was never empty. We had compliments on everything - story, humor, art, music - and especially the unique combat system. People really responded to our theatrical component as well and I feel we will have many more attendees for the show. THANKS EVERYONE!

It was also a huge beta testing opportunity for us. Watching hundreds of people play gave us intense feedback on some UI and input changes we need to make and the final release will be much better thanks to the con. 

I thought hex grids meant it was an  easy  game.

I thought hex grids meant it was an easy game.

Heroic Highlights

Here are some amazing moments:

Heroes and Dragons

Mike Laidlaw stopped by, played the game, and gave one on one feedback. Amazing to have a pro like that give so much help to indies. I allowed myself five seconds to nerd out over Dragon Age and take this photo.

"It's Mike Laidlaw!" "I'm Mike Laidlaw!"

"It's Mike Laidlaw!" "I'm Mike Laidlaw!"

Mr. President

Robert Khoo met with me and the city leaders I gathered to ensure San Antonio represents well at PAX South in years to come and makes it the best it can be on all local fronts.

It's 80 degrees and sunny. He's from Seattle. No wonder he wants PAX to stay here!

It's 80 degrees and sunny. He's from Seattle. No wonder he wants PAX to stay here!


Some great write-ups, too.

Touch Arcade loved the show ideas and called us a REAL GAME. Yeah! Hex grids!!

DVS Gaming liked our fun gameplay. But trying too hard to be funny?! My mom always said I was supposed to try hard. She'll be so sad. 

Then again they put us in the top 5 and called us comedy gold! Woo! Thanks guys!

The End?

No, just the beginning! The game is out full in March, the show is in April, and if all goes well we bring Heroes Must Die the game and SHOW to PAX South next year.

We're feeling loved in the Alamo City. Thank you PAX. And thank you to the only fan who beat the entire combat demo. Lord Murder ascends thee.

This is the face of pure evil. Honestly they look really happy.

This is the face of pure evil. Honestly they look really happy.

Combat Redesign

In a previous blog post we talked about our original combat model and why it didn't work. Now we are happy to show the lessons learned and how it lead to a better system, which you'll soon get to play!

Lessons Learned

Our biggest mistake was not doing a rapid prototype early on. It took us way too long to get our idea on its feet enough to see that it didn't quite play how we envisioned. Good thing to remember next time! Game design is about testing and iteration. Solid programming is sometimes not as important as just making it work fast so you can see.

Specifically we learned that our idea to make combat both tactical and twitchy was necessarily fighting against itself. So our smartest move was to separate offense and defense. We would preserve the combo system and tactical planning as you attack the goons. Then it was their turn to attack you, and you had to think and act fast. By breaking apart the modes we were able to represent what we wanted in a clean way that kept things interesting and paced well, and didn't have contradictory elements fighting against each other.

Offense Basics

The basic idea behind offense mode is to plan to your attack path. You have a certain amount of time to set a path for the hero, which he then follows, attacking anyone in the way.

Terrain also comes into play here - you can't land on empty space (though you can jump over it) and you can't move through solid objects. You try to hit as many guys as you can, and then when you press Attack (or when time runs out) your attack executes.


On Defense it's the surviving enemies' turn to attack you. They project patterns of attack (each enemy type has a unique attack), which you have a split second to remember. Then you are presented with options of where to dodge.

Click a hex to dodge into it. Hopefully it's not where the enemy's attack was! After you choose where to dodge (you are given only a half second), the enemy executes the attack over the pattern they flashed earlier.

Hopefully you chose an are outside the pattern, otherwise you get hit! Get hit enough and you die. If you survive, it goes back to offense mode where you have another chance to take out the enemies.


The combo system makes offense tactical. Whenever you hit an opponent, you gain his type (normal, heavy, archer, mage) and element (fire, ice, lightning, poison). You can chain combos together by matching type (archer to archer) or element (fire guy to fire guy). If you fail (lightning mage to ice heavy) your attack ends right there! If you succeed (fire archer to fire mage) you not only keep going, but tick up a combo point. Every three points and your damage doubles.

Certain enemies also have multiple hitpoints. Sure you can attack back and forth to try to kill them, but if you plan it right you can create a path from weak guys to stronger to strongest and slay everyone in one hit in a blaze of glory.

But Wait There's More

Soon we'll implement boss battles, which require more hits, harder attacks to dodge, and master of the combat system. We hope to add more attack animations and more terrain features before launch, but at the very least we can promise boss combat for alpha!

We also have some pretty great music that we are excited to share, too. Nice work, composers!

See it in Action

Take a look at the video below to watch yourself, and stay tuned!

Combat Demo, Iterative Game Design

So we finished combat...and realized it didn't quite work. But that's ok! Failure are more interesting, and lead to better successes. We learned a lesson about the need for sooner prototyping but also were able to use this to make a second version that's much better. Check out the video to see it in action and hear what we learned.