Heroes of the Storm Developer Q&A Part 3 (Feb 20, 2014) – Transcript

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Samwise: They’ve added more magic and more candy to it.

Kevin: Yeah, like man we could just take a bite out of that guy, he’s like so.

Samwise: Look how shiny they are.

Phill: It does help like a ton though, like the characters pop really well off the terrain and the terrain kind of does what it’s supposed to be and becomes a bit more of a background and yeah, it helps a ton, just little changes like that.

Kevin: Yeah, really cool. So talk to me about some of the other changes you’ve been making around the heroes. Here we’re looking at what was an early version of Nova.

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Phill: Yeah, I think it’s probably like the 12th time a Nova model has been made here; but you know we finally understand what the store looks like; and portraits and stuff like that, and because we understand it — we can look at the art and say: “Lets polish this just a little bit more, now that we are getting to the end here; and lets up res this phase and kind of push things a little bit more” … and you can see there’s a pretty awesome difference between these two models and we’re really lucky to get that opportunity to do that.

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Samwise: And awesome solutions to the tech guys to look how much brighter and even though she is wearing basically white and black, it’s just, it’s just super colorful.

Phill: Yeah and you know we’ve done this with Nova, we’re doing this with all the other heroes. We can show Uther too. So Uther from Game View this stuff doesn’t get criticized as much because you’re a mile up in the air looking at these little characters; but in the store and in the portrait view we’re really zooming in and that’s a lot of what made us decide lets really deliver because now we know what we’re looking at.

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Kevin: Yeah that’s really interesting, one of the things I am impressed about with the game is that when you guys show these characters in the store or in the UI outside of the game you’re showing the models that are playing in the game right?

Phill: Yeah.

Kevin: These are exactly what you see — what you get; and I’ve just been impressed by just the upfront nature of that, what could be embellished or made to kind of look different is really just what you see is what you get.

Phill: Yeah and I think that is super important like if I’m going to try a new hero I want to be geeked you know of the sales pitch of it and if that’s what I see when I am browsing the store, like he looks awesome, go, let’s do this.

Samwise: Yeah and what’s kind of funny is we’ve only really touched the phase. We added a little bit more polish. A little bit more texture res; but it made the whole model look better, because you are really focusing on that phase. How Nova’s face, you got Uther now all looking like cool Kenny Rogers dude you know.

Kevin: Yeah, totally.

Samwise: But you don’t really notice the rest is a little bit lower res, so it kind of really lets you focus on there and now when we decided to go sort of big for the store — it’s like: “Okay, well, we made these to look good for back here. What can we do just by making the face a little bit prettier, a little bit more polished?” … It really made the model sharp and then with the tech help — the guys, the artists did, it makes everything look like the colors are intended to.

Kevin: It’s super awesome. Say and what have you been doing?

Samwise: Just doodling.

Kevin: Have you not been paying attention to what’s going on?

Samwise: What’s that?

Kevin: Have you not been paying attention to (laughter)? No seriously, what is this?

Samwise: I am just drawing an orc face.

Kevin: Orc face.

Samwise: I don’t know if you can see that. We can show it later if you can’t.

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Kevin: Those of you who might not know Sam, Sam does this everywhere. He brings it with him to every meeting. So, yeah, that’s just how he rolls — which is awesome.

Samwise: Otherwise I might be like too grabby.

(Sam grabs Phill’s shoulder and squeezes it hard)

Phill: I know. I felt.

Kevin: Alright guys, well let’s take a few questions from the Twitter-verse here to talk about art. So if you have questions out there you want to throw some out, please feel free #HeroesQA and we’re gonna answer a few questions here.

I think we have a little bit of time, so let’s run through it. This one from Garrett @Promisha — “I’m sure there are heroes who haven’t been seen in a new game for years, what is the process for updating them?”

Phill: That’s a fun process. Ot usually starts with, there’s a ton of artwork regardless of whether the hero has been in a game recently or not.

Inevitably, someone has done an awesome newer version of it for promotion or something and we gather all that and then Sammy and I sit down and we’re like you know: “This is what I really like. This is what I like. Let’s keep these elements. Let’s update this.” … and we go through that process with everyone.

With Jaina we said you know maybe let’s look at the Warcraft III version. The OG version and like let’s get the pants but combine it with some of the elements from WoW, or she has like a cool skirt and stuff like that; and every time we do a hero, we do that kind of evaluation. Say lets pick what are the key components of these heroes.

Samwise: We really want to make these sorts of characters represent what people who have been playing these heroes for years remember about them. Also, this is a new game, you know, its not a MOD. It’s its own game.

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We want to make these things worthy of a new Blizzard game. So we take the best from everything and the most iconic from everything and try to put it on one character.

Kevin: That’s great. Alright let’s take another one; this one is from Stefan Suadicani, @Sumadin — “I love the Uther Medic skin. Will we see more cross-game skins like Kael as a Diablo III Wizard or Raynor with Varian Armor?”

Samwise: Nope, no I’m just teasing (laughter). Absolutely, that’s one of the most fun things for us to do is to put our characters and swap them into the different world’s sort of iconic things so we have some examples, I don’t know what’s been shown yet or not so I’m not gonna say.

Kevin: Sure.

Samwise: But you can definitely bet that we’re gonna be doing way more than that. Maybe we’ll even use your suggestions; but you won’t get paid for that. Sorry (laughter).

Kevin: Alright, very good, here’s another one from Heroes of the Stream, @HeroesofStream — “What kind of artist freedom have you give to the artists for skins for Heroes?”

Samwise: Phil, what have we allowed them to do? We’re benevolent rulers.

Phill: Well, the freedom — I think a lot of ideas are definitely considered. We have a list of ideas that goes on and on and on; and I think we’ve been pretty open about, if you have an idea, pitch it and from there we say what’s geeking us up the most and that’s kind of been what drives a lot of the skin generation is you know someone who’ll maybe say like … what if so and so was like wearing pajamas; and you are like: “Ha, yeah what if, and then like,” it happens and I think that’s a cool, really genuine process and I like seeing that. I like seeing skins that are like, cool, that was a good idea and then the good ideas went.

Samwise: You know like so far there have been really been no barriers and if you have an idea that’s kind of like silly, it’s like that sounds awful, let’s see a concept, oh my God that’s wonderful.

So it’s really all about you know if the art looks cool, then it’s something we can do, we just need to put it, when does it come up because we don’t just want to go, a ton of silly skins and then a serious.

For certain characters that’s okay like Stitches who is kind of a really big goofball. He can have consistently more humorous skins; but if we have someone like Arthas, we don’t want to do some goofy skin 2 or 3 times in a row cause everyone knows Arthas is the big-bad-A.

So he should have probably a little bit more of the serious ones while some of the other characters like Stitches they can have a little bit more funny ones.

Kevin: Sure. Excellent. A few more here. This one from @Ninjanerd86 — “What has been the most challenging thing for you guys so far on this whole project?” — what would you say?

Samwise: I think us making a game that is sort of, we have been working on RTSs on this Team for a while. We haven’t really made one of these games yet, so a lot of people are like: “What are we gonna do?”

It’s like — as we pointed out earlier, I remember working on games like Lost Vikings, and Blackthorne, and Rock’N Roll Racing back when the big games were out (Mario, Sonic, Street Fighter); and Blizzard went toe-to-toe with them.

No problem. Games have shows (the CES — back in the day). I think a lot of the guys working on it, they’re not used to going into a field that there’s a lot of competition so it’s basically you know making sure that everybody knows like, it doesn’t matter, we’re going to make a fun game, that’s all that matters, make a cool game. If we like it, chances are people will like it too and that’s our philosophy for every game we’ve done.

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

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