TomoCon: Comic-Con ’13: A Leak from S2 that isn’t about Heroes of Newerth!

I had a chance to stop by the Allegory booth at Comic-Con this weekend, and while there was able to visit with Pu Liu, a.k.a. S2 Diva, Senior Game Designer at S2 (or as his title now goes, “Director of Monetization”)

S2 games, for those who do not remember, are the makers of the MOBA game Heroes of Neweth.  One of the three major MOBAs in the field (League of Legends, or LOL, being the second and DOTA 2 being the third), HON has changed substantially over the years.  On Friday July 26, there will be a major re-balancing patch to 3.2 that is sure to cause both excitement and probably a little distress, as major changes to heroes often do in competitive games.  But while I expected to be spending more time talking about HON’s upcoming patch, Diva was actually kind enough to leak some tantalizing information. . . S2 has a “New Project” that will be ready to be revealed soon, their first new PC title since HON’s release in 2010.

So what would the tight-lipped Diva say about this new project?  He wouldn’t reveal its genre or even if it is in the Newerth universe that their three titles have been set within.  But the big reveal he did make was bout the art design, which is being done by Kevin Eastman.  Eastman is the legendary co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and has been involved with a series of intriguing projects since his TMNT days.  While the Turtles were a strange mix that were edgy at times then more sanitized as they became a mainstream cartoon, Eastman’s later work has gravitated toward the dark, adult, and edgy. His current stewardship of Heavy Metal magazine continues in that trend, so Eastman’s involvement openly adds to the mystery – will this be a more mature and less cartoony game or one that retains Eastman’s early whimsy?

Whatever the design choices made, S2 has big plans for the game, including cross-merchandising with Eastman creating a graphic novel to compliment the game.

Before finishing putting Diva on the rack and being unable to break his will for telling me any more about S2’s upcoming title, I was able to glean two last fragments of information:  That the major reveal for this project is scheduled for next PAX in August, and I sneakily did ask him one question to try and glean information about the game from a different angle – would the new game be monetized like Heroes of Newerth’s free to play model or would it be subscription or a traditional single price purchase?

S2 Diva and Loremeister cross-promoting their avatar of Aluna at the Comic-Con booth Aluna's creator, Allegory

S2 Diva and Loremeister cross-promoting their avatar of Aluna at the Comic-Con booth Aluna’s creator, Allegory

“I feel comfortable in saying our next project will be free to play,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.  And since this hardly sounds like a mobile APP or a Facebook game, this writer suspects strongly that S2’s new project will definitely be online and multiplayer.  We will have to wait for PAX to learn more!

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About Bill Jahnel

Bill Jahnel is a Professor of History and a lifelong and avid gamer. He has served as a reviewer and main feature writer for Inside Mac Games back in 1993 when the magazine started and was a Senior Editor for the site MacReactor. He has lectured on the role of gays in video games and comic books as part of the Political Economy Days lecture series.