Somehow, with the recent passing of Gary Gygax, this game seems even more appropriate. For anyone who actually doesn't know, Gary Gygax was the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, a role-playing game that most heavily influenced the RPG and fantasy games that have come since its introduction.
While not affiliated with Dungeons and Dragons in any way, the developers at Firefly Studios expressed that they were fans of these sorts of games, but that they were dissatisfied by the lack of detail taken in creating the worlds in which the player is immersed. Most typical adventures for RPGs feature dungeons that the player must forage through, which often will feature situations that wouldn't stand up under scrutiny... "There's a dragon in this room, and the only exit is the small passageway you entered through." Really? How does the dragon get out? What does he eat? Why is he in there in the first place? And, it's not just dragons, you'll encounter five goblins in a room who are all armed and have bags of copper on their person, but you'll get no explanation of why they were there and why they had copper coin on them.
The developers at Firefly hope to answer these questions, creating a world where Goblins are people, too. You'll see why they are fighting, what their culture is like, what their outlook is like. You'll even see that not every Goblin is employed as a fighter; there are merchants, townsfolk, women, children and, heaven help us all, surgeons. We get a special view of what it's like to be a Goblin surgeon, as we get to glimpse some of the story from a surgeon's point of view and, alas, the Goblins medical technology is not what one would hope.
In an interesting move, Firefly Studios is going to attempt to familiarize people with this new IP, prior to the release of the Dungeon Hero game, by releasing some short animated graphic novels that introduce the players to this living, breathing Goblin world before they ever get their hands on the game. The intention is that players will be able to approach the game with some general knowledge of the layout of the city and their general environments.
One feature that was shown off at EIEIO was the "Close Combat" fighting system. Unlike in many other games that have enemies taking turns attacking you, opponents in Dungeon Hero will gang up on you, not only attacking all at once, but running around behind you to hit you from behind. Luckily, the combat system in Dungeon Hero offers you the perfect defense against this; you can easily attack in any direction. When leveled up enough, your character in Dungeon Hero will pull off moves that look like they're straight out of the latest action movies - hitting opponents behind them without looking and hitting multiple opponents in beautiful combination moves. Mind you, this is not accomplished through some hard-to-remember button-mashing sequence. It appears that the hero is a fighter - he knows how to fight. You just control when and where he should attack and his attacks will differ, based on his immediate context. The controls are simplified, but allow you to concentrate on how to deal with multiple threats, rather than how to push multiple buttons in the correct sequence to dispatch a single foe.
While we didn't get any hands-on gameplay, I must say that I am excited about the concept behind Dungeon Hero and am looking forward to a chance to play this one, quite a bit.