Designing a hero from the ground up is a fascinating subject, particularly with Blizzard characters that have a rich history in games, novels, and other media. To explore the subject, we invited Senior Game Designer Richard Khoo to chat about Tychus and how he came to fruition.
Trikslyr: Let’s talk about the design of Tychus; how was it decided to make him an assassin, and what makes him different from other heroes?
Richard: When we’re deciding what role a hero falls into and what makes them unique, we first think about the fantasy of the character and what they did in their universes. In Wings of Liberty, Tychus was a take-no-prisoners badass who rode around in a stolen Odin, used a chain gun and grenades to mow down the Zerg, and started a bar fight with Jimmy on the Hyperion. He’s clearly a rebel that let his fists do the talking. In this case, a hard hitting assassin just made sense.
T: Tychus’ Combat trait forces the marine to “Wind-up” his chain gun before attacking. In a game where constant fast action/battles are the focus of gameplay, why does a mechanic like Wind-up seem like a good fit?
Richard: We view the wind-up as a small cost to pay for the rapid attacks and higher overall damage. The sound and anticipation of Tychus about to gun something down also felt thematically appropriate. But, as you said, the game is very fast, so maybe it doesn’t work and we'd change the Combat trait in the future.
T: Heroes of the Storm supports a robust talent system that allows players to customize the feel and playstyles of their favorite heroes. What aspects of Tychus did the design team feel were a core part of his playstyle, and in what ways does your team intend for his talents and abilities to further flex what Tychus is capable of in-game?
Richard: Our goal with talents is to enhance the core hero’s design and sometimes offer new ways to play which feels like an extension of that hero. At his core, Tychus is designed to deal a great deal of burst damage with his Minigun, Overkill, and Frag Grenade combo. We have talents which make him deadly against other heroes with early talents like Dash (Increased Run and Gun Range) and Quarterback (Increased Grenade Range). Tychus is also very good at fighting minions in the lanes, and if you want to accentuate that part of Tychus, we have talents like Melting Point (Grenade deals extra DoT to minions) and Rapid Fire (After attacking three seconds, Tychus attacks faster).
T: When approaching hero powers, does the design team consider lore first or just create a concept and hope to find something in the lore that fits?
Richard: We always approach hero design with lore and fantasy first and foremost. We draw inspiration from our games if the hero was playable, and base their powers off of that. Generally speaking, there are too many powers and/or they don’t really work for Heroes, so we have to aggressively edit. An example of this - Tychus originally had a trait where when he would melee an enemy, and then stun them. Combined with a shoulder charge attack that could be targeted on an enemy, the same ability would give Tychus a shield if he targeted a minion. So you had to choose between targeting a hero and stunning them or a minion to get shield. We thought this created an interesting choice for gameplay purposes.
But, that kit didn’t quite work out. The gameplay was too complicated and didn’t make sense for a ranged assassin who had a massive chain gun that was most of his profile. So, we designed his kit around the mini-gun and we now have what you see today.
T: Here’s a fun question for you, Richard - if you were to pick four heroes to surround Tychus with, who would you pick?
I would play Tychus with Muradin, Illidan, Gazlowe, and Tassadar. We would all pick the heroes who have an ability to transform into something different.
A huge thank you to Richard for taking time out of his day and giving us some insight into what goes into designing a hero in Heroes of the Storm. We look forward to working with the design team more in the future as new content hits the public eye for Heroes of the Storm.
Let us know what heroes you would pick to team up with Tychus, in the comment section below. If you have any questions for our design team, please feel free to ask in the comments below and we might pick yours to ask next time. As always, keep checking Heroesofthestorm.com for more content!