Hero Academy Has a Huge Update in China! Here's What We Added, and Why
We recently pushed a huge update to Robot Entertainment’s Hero Academy here in China, adding a lot of new features we think are pretty cool, some of which are not in the Western version of the game. To give developers reading this an idea of how we publish and promote a featured game like Hero Academy in China, here’s a closer look at what we added, and why we did:
New Training Campaign With Storyline
Since launching Hero Academy last Summer, we realized a lot of gamers were having a hard time learning how to play. (The game’s turn-based strategy elements are pretty difficult for Chinese gamers used to more casual titles.) To solve that problem, and create a stronger context for the overall game, we created a single-player campaign featuring the game’s Knight character, who starts out as a peasant hungry for adventure. An old soldier teaches him how to move, fight, and all the game’s other basics — and teaches the new player along the way. The campaign lasts 1-2 hours, with the later missions more difficult to complete.
The Jiang Hu team
We added the Jiang Hu team, based on Chinese martial arts fantasy, which Chinese players can unlock for an in-app payment of 12 RMB (about $2). That includes a kung fu monk and a Taoist healer, and maybe coolest of all, Chinese dragons you can call down from the sky to barbecue your enemies. Hopefully China’s gamers will appreciate this local flavor addition. We worked closely with our friends at Robot Entertainment to co-produce the Jiang Hu team to the game, because they also added this team to the Western version of Hero Academy, where it’s known at as The Shaolin. (More about this collaboration in a future post.)
Quick Battle Single-Player Mode
We added another new feature in response to player feedback — a quick battle mode that allows players to submit 30 second combat turns instead of waiting for days for opponents to respond. This allows players who want to play for long stretches to have continuous, non-stop PVP action, and increases the competitive pressure, as each quick mode match has a 30 second time limit on response.
New Cross-Promotion/Local Marketing & Press Push
Along with a new advertising campaign that we pushed through our ad partners, and cross-promotion to the 5 million+ people already playing our games, we blitzed the local Chinese media with press releases, and picked up a fair amount of coverage, including a write-up on PC Games China (see screencap at right), and coverage of the game page on Tencent, China’s largest and most active Internet service portal.
So far, dozens of Chinese sites have picked up the update news update. To be sure, the most effective marketing for our games is cross-promotion, but media hits are pretty important too, especially for hardcore gamers who like to check the media before downloading.
Huge thanks and xie xie to our excellent marketing team (including Maggie and Vivien, pictured here playing the latest update) for giving Hero Academy such a big boost in the China market.
Now the update is in the hands of Chinese gamers — hopefully they’ll love it as much as we do. Check back for news!