Antihero is "Civilization meets Hero Academy": fast-paced async-multiplayer strategy with an (Oliver) Twist.Run a Thieves' Guild in a Dickensian city overrun by corruption and greed. Scout the city, infiltrate orphanages, perform the occasional assassination -- and steal something.
Antihero began as a one-man project - I spent 6 months solo, building the backend and subjecting friends to playtests of various design ideas. When the design congealed enough, I hired Jiyoun Lee-Lodge, who I'd worked with a number of years ago at Gamelab NYC, as the game's lead artist. She is my primary collaborator on the game.There've been a number of part-time contributors all friends and former coworkers from Three Rings and Gamelab, the two studios I've worked at -- who've helped as well: Nathan Curtis did programming for a short while; Sean Keeton and Ned Hugar are currently doing character animation work on nights and weekends; Harry Mack does sound and music; and Josh DeBonis and Mattia Romeo are "design consultants" - game design friends who I pay to playtest and give in-depth design feedback for a couple hours each week.
Antihero came from my love for asynchronous multiplayer games, and a desire to see the design space become more fully explored. I've been a game developer for 10 years, and as I've gotten older, I've become particularly interested in games that don't make strong demands on players' time: games that can be played for short periods of time, and that don't require players to store a huge amount of context in their heads between sessions. Antihero is an attempt to marry strategically deep multiplayer to these ideas.The game's primary design goal has always been to create a strategy game in the 4X genre ("explore, expand, exploit, exterminate") that feels at home in an async-multiplayer setting. To me, this means two things: that the minimum play session should be measured in minutes, and that an in-progress game's state should be quickly grokkable by a player coming back to it after several days' absence.It's been an interesting challenge to balance these principles with the complexity that's inherent to the 4X genre, and I'm particularly proud of how the game translates core 4X design tenets into an async-friendly game. The game's scouting system, in particular, was the result of many months of prototyping and dozens of attempts to create an exploration system that feels closely tied to other player activities, and that doesn't allow wildly divergent player progression imbalances in multiplayer. It's a simple system that was arrived at through lots of experimentation and iteration; and, I think, successfully combines both the exploration and expansion elements of 4X games in a novel way.