Hero Generations is a 4x RPG. I’m not sure if that was a thing before but it is now because Hero Generations is definitely it. As you move about the procedurally generated world – fighting monsters, building towns, bedding lords and ladies – you age. Your hero will die. They might live to 125 years old, maybe only 50. Whatever the case they will die. It’s at that point you take over control of their child and that child hero has to live in the world established by their mother, and her father before her, and his father before him.
Looking at it another way, it’s a game where you don’t just control a badass: you create a family of badasses that rule for 2,000 years.
The world is presented as a grid of tiles. Tiles can be ancient ruins that can be looted for fame and fortune, they might be scrubland you can turn into a profitable farm, they could be home to a monster that you must fight to protect a nearby town and woo its mayor. Each time you move your hero on the grid she (or he) ages by one year.
As they grow older they can unlock new traits, they can become smarter, stronger, more charming. All things that will affect what you’re able to accomplish in the world. If you’ve a particularly strong hero you might want to clear out the monsters in an area, making a name for yourself and making a land safe for your next in line, freeing them to focus on being brainy instead of brawny, allowing them to upgrade the buildings around towns, making them wealthier.
Hero Generations is all about preparing for the next in line. “An entire heroic life can be played through in minutes, but chaining together a 2000 year lineage comes from hours of deep strategic play,” writes designer Scott Brodie.
To mix up the formula, Brodie has the game generate a world event every 100 years. “Volcanoes erupt; giant creatures emerge hell bent on destroying the world. It can also mean the arrival of helpful special characters, like wandering caravans and fast traveling airships.” It forces you to adapt to the world as it changes.
Hero Generations is currently on Kickstarter, looking for $32,000 in funding. It sounds like a really compelling concept for a game and, from this playthrough video, it looks like a fascinating game: