An Open Letter from History Fighter's Creator

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Hey there -

I’m a mostly self-taught, DIY-type guy and I’ve worked in arts and media pretty much forever - doing all sorts of stuff from graphic and web design to record production and live DJ performance internationally. As a multi-media artist and a big nerd, games are BY FAR my favorite medium to work in because games fuse three things I love: creativity, technology, and collaboration with all types of fun, smart people. All the elements are there from writing and art to music and behavior – movies are great but a movie only has one possibly outcome. Games react and offer choices.

About two years ago I quit my Audio Director job at Ubisoft (best job ever) because after almost a decade of making sounds and music for games, I wanted to break out into a new space. Plus, after working on Assassin’s Creed, Silent Hill, and Mortal Kombat I wanted to work on something less bloody. I was a part of the “core team” and a regular contributor to design choices and writing tasks at my last few jobs so it wasn’t that crazy of an idea (remains to be seen?) plus I had ideas for new types of games that could infuse knowledge in interesting ways.

History Fighter Episodes

So, I took my pathetic life savings and raised a bit more from close friends and family to start up a games company called Headrush Games. The company History Fighter is my first try at this concept. A game about super-powered historical figures, that offers both factual and fictitious aspects as part of its appeal. The idea came from a session of Magic: The Gathering at a neighbor’s house. I had played all sorts of games but this one got by me until that night and while learning how to play had this thought, “this game would be a lot more engaging to me if these characters were a bit more familiar, like say, historical figures…” – History Fighter was conceived in that precise moment. I knew what I wanted to make.

The other prototypes that my team of merry, indie developers had going were put on the back-burner and History Fighter became the focus of our company. Deciding to make a card game really simplified things for us – after all, cards are generally static 2D objects that don’t move much so right there the scope of work to get to the finish line would be lighter. We could focus on game play without the worry of how to make it pretty in the long run. The first step and my first mandate, so to speak, was for the team to come up with a game that worked as a table-top game first.

This was to be the acid-test for our concept’s fun-factor. If the game was fun played with index cards around my kitchen table, then we would proceed. This meant (1) coming up with enough interesting historical figures with the potential to be transformed into new heroes and villains with super powers that made sense for their historical personas and (2) coming up with original yet familiar mechanics to play the game. Both of these were so much fun to do we had a feeling we were on to something special, and it went fast. It just so happened that an old friend was available to throw down some concept art that we used to print and stick to a few of the index cards to make it more “real” feeling around the table. It totally set things off… and we all felt it.

SO, now we had a fun game that worked as a table-top and it was time to choose the tech, ramp up the rest of the team, and GO FOR IT!! Our first digital version of History Fighter was made in Unity, but then we met the folks at Game Salad (in our back yard here in Austin) and they were so excited about our idea that we decided to work together. Game Salad was about to rework their tech in some very cool ways that made sense for us, and we were about to make a game that they could use to showcase the new features they had in cue – win, win. Sharing is fun, and again, they were local so the relationship meant we could get further faster by working together.

It’s worked out great so far… History Fighter is now in a “between Alpha and Beta” stage with a working prototype that is fun to play, and a story mode that is being written with love and care to entertain with wit, humor, charm, and knowledge over old-fashioned violence. We are telling new stories with history’s most-celebrated people, and having a blast with it all!

Which brings us to one of our last steps to finish strong this Fall - our Kickstarter campaign. We’ve decided the most fun we can have is to make our new fans a part of the action in design – so we’ve structured our Kickstarter to include tiers for those who want to put their hands on the clay and be part of making history with us!

Tesla, Edgar Allen Poe, Blackbeard, Mozart

We're a small portion of the way towards our goal, but we feel History Fighter's underlying message (that games have the potential to change the way people think while offering a learning value built into the fun) will encourage a lot more support. The focus is 100% on the fun, but chances are, you’ll learn something unexpected – we’re all about the unexpected, lesser-known history being highlighted.

What a long, strange trip it’s been. Thanks for the open mind, your time and the chance to make history! I invite you all to be part of it.

We'll see you on the other side,
Levon

PSST - Back Us Now on Kickstarter!
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/headrush/history-fighter-the-historical-figure-fight-club

 

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