Tag Archives: Robot Entertainment
Since its release in August 2011 a vast amount of content has been released for Age of Empires Online. Firstly the Greek and Egyptians civilisations were (along with the core game) largely developed by Robot Entertainment until production shifted to Gas Powered Games as part of a planned transition in February 2011. Post-release Gas Powered Games have released various content packs including Skirmish Hall, Defence of Crete along with 4 additional civilisations – Norse, Persians, Celts and Babylonians. However today it was announced on the official website that content production and development of the game is now ceasing.
Cost reasons were cited as a factor in the decision to stop producing content. The scale of the post-release content we have seen from Gas Powered has been extraordinary and is not like traditional DLC packs with other games. Each civilisation and other booster packs required a vast amount investment and development resource. The production quality on these packs has always been very high. Content packs have also been reactive to community suggestions, most notably the Skirmish Hall.
Unfortunately the scale of content being produced could not be sustained as the game becomes older. Whilst we will no longer see new content for the game in terms of booster packs of new civilisations the game will continue to be supported. This is not the end of online play. Much like the ESO service that runs Age of Empires 3, Microsoft Studios’ Community Team will continue to offer support for the game as well as community features such as competitions. The official blog post reads:
However, nothing else changes for players, nothing that currently exists will be removed. You can still play everything you own, earn EP, and purchase any content you do not currently own. We will still fully maintain and support the game and its players; no one is losing anything that you have earned or bought. Our Community team will continue to support the game by way of Community Challenges, streams, contests, PvP tournaments and more.
Before Gas Powered Games finish on Age Online there is one further content update to be released which will contain as of yet unannounced final content.
Whilst its sad to see content be stopped for Age Online, the game has certainly had a very good run with sustained, high quality content. I’m certain Age Online is not the last we will see of Age of Empires. The full blog post about todays news can be found on the link below. Fans may want to engage in discussion about this news on the games official forums.
Robot Fans audio interview extraordinaire Kenny Newell has recently been invited to an interview by Tony Goodman in his own home over dinner. In case you don’t know, Tony Goodman one of the key founders of Ensemble Studios and served as CEO and Studio Head for the lifetime of Ensemble Studios. He then went on to head up and create Robot Entertainment after Ensemble closed its doors.
If you ever wondered how Robot Entertainment came to form, and how it came about that they started working on Age of Empires Online your going to want to check out this fantastic interview between Kenny and Tony Goodman. You can also find out about Tony’s brand new venture, PeopleFun and their first game - Word Chums!
Hero Academy fans may remember that back in late June this year Robot Entertainment announced that it was partnering with YoDo1, a Chinese video game studio, in order to bring Hero Academy to the mass Chinese market. Hero Academy has been available in China for a number of weeks now and the launch has been a great success. So much so that the YoDo1 localized version of Hero Academy made the Top 10 list in free games, and Top 25 iPhone apps overall in just 48 hours after going live on the App Store.
Localizing the game & servers
The results are very impressive and it is great news that Hero Academy is reaching a global audience. Robot Entertainment partnering with YoDo1 have really shown the industry the kind of results that can be achieved by localizing games for the Chinese market. Recently Henry Fong, CEO and founder of YoDo1 took part in an interview with Gamasutra to give us an insight to how we arrived at this point. There were a number of considerations and challenges that Robot Entertainment and YoDo 1 had to address to achieve this success. One of the key decisions was to provision the servers in China and have a separate Chinese version of the game rather than connecting players to the same USA based servers. This was an important consideration not only for technical reasons (connectivity from China to USA servers was slow) but also it was important to give Chinese players and experience they were familiar with. As Henry Fong tells Gamasutra:
As a multi-player turn-based game, Hero Academy needed a local server presence in Asia. Otherwise, it would take forever for Chinese players to find opponents, and cause long delays in between moves. On top of that, the Western version of Hero Academy has a lot of connectivity to Twitter and Facebook, so players can share content with their friends, and find fellow players on those social networks. Trouble is, neither Twitter nor Facebook are even accessible in China.
Robot and YoDo1 set about replacing the existing US based social network links (Facebook & Twitter) and replaced them with Chinese social network Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo. After all its no good having functionality to invite friends by Twitter if all the Chinese players are using Weibo. This move was certainly important to allow players to connect with friends in China.
A brand new exclusive team
In order to help entice the Chinese players a brand new team was created based on the Chinese equivalent of Middle Earth “Jiang Hu”. Think “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon“. As Henry describes:
Hero Academy is full of elves, orcs, and other character types that Western gamers are totally familiar with, from Lord of the Rings and other classics. So what if we introduced a China themed heroic team to the game? We thought that this would certainly be a bigger draw to the Chinese gamer audience.
New marketing materials
The concerns that Chinese players wouldn’t be familiar with the Western style characters also centred around the need to create new marketing materials such as a new video trailer to promote the Chinese launch of the game. YoDo1 went about creating a brand new trailer unique to the Chinese market and the results are pretty impressive – check out the trailer below!
Its fantastic to see that the Chinese version of Hero Academy has had such great success. YoDo1 are continuing to work with Robot to add new content to the game. The Chinese launch of Hero Academy is clearly a beacon of success that says Western games with the right level of localization can make it big in China. Hero Academy is now at the forefront of this kind of game localization. Congratulations Robot and Yodo1!
Check out the full article with Henry Fong and Gamasutra here:
Want to win a cool collectors item from the Robot Team at RTX 2012? After all of the fun and interviews, the Robot team was kind enough to autograph a couple of my media credentials. The Pass was signed by Justin “Sixoay” Korthof-Community Manager, David Kubalak – Art Director, Nate “N8″ Stefan – Concept Artist, and Bart Tiongson -Concept Artist.
The guys swore that wearing the pass will add +10% damage to any Hero Academy units attack and increase you head shot percentage in OMD2. This may just be an urban myth, but it’s worth a try.
To win one just email me at email@example.com or send me a tweet to @kennygamer and say “enter me for the pass contest”. We will pick a winner at random.
Robot Fans interviews Justin Korthof about Orcs Must Die 2 and Hero Academy on Steam. Kenny tries to bribe Justin with comic books for more information about the TF2 team that will be released August 8th.
Even Mario stopped by to play the new TF2 Team for Hero Academy and Orcs Must Die 2. More pics and videos one the way!
I know the studio is named Robot Entertainment, but this is ridiculous. I’ve met a few of the developers when visiting the Robot Entertainment studios and they “seem” to be human. I’ve never seen cyborg parts, bolts protruding from a neck, or wires hanging out of a shirt sleeve. They have always looked human on the surface…………… until yesterday.
What changed yesterday? I watched a live streaming event of Orcs Must Die 2. During the session Robot revealed a new “Endless Mode” and other great additions to the upcoming orc slaying sequel. During the stream they showed fans new charms, new traps, a new skull system, new ragdoll effects, new animations, a new Co-op mode, new campaign, new defenses, new enemies, a new upgrade system, new skins, new chances for higher combos and tons more.
After it was over…… I concluded.
“It’s not humanly possible to make such a great game in just 299 days. These guys must be hybrid machines. It can’t be done by mere mortals!”
OMD was released last October and the Robot team has already made amazing progress. During this small development window, fans have also seen the release of Hero Academy. The popular iOS game has additionally published two very polished expansion teams and recently announced a PC version of the game that will be available on the Steam platform in early August 2012.
Is that all?……. Nope.
Last week Yodo1 revealed the launch of its first major title, which will be an adapted version of Robot Entertainment’s Hero Academy especially for the Chinese mobile market. This move will expose Hero Academy to a growing Chinese mobile market that is reportedly 180 million people strong.
So, while I’m at RTX this weekend getting footage of the new games and interviewing the developers. I will be looking for wires and other proof that the Robot guys are bionic creatures. Make sure that you check back in for details.