Quest for Glory Omnipedia

This page details the development of Hero's Quest I: So You Want to Be a Hero (later renamed Quest for Glory I: So You Want to Be a Hero).


Hero's Quest was first proposed to Sierra On-Line in August 1988. According to Lori Cole;

Corey and I met over a D&D game at a Science Fiction Convention, and games have always been a critical part of our lives. We really wanted to create computer games. Our chance came when a friend, Carolly Hauksdottir, who worked as an artist for Sierra On-Line, told us that Sierra was looking for game designers. Corey happily applied, but Ken Williams was not interested in hiring him until Corey showed his expertise in programming the Atari ST. So Corey was originally hired by Sierra as a programmer, not as a designer.
I proposed "Hero's Quest" to Sierra when Michael was two and old enough to be able to stay in day care for a few hours while I worked in house at Sierra. It was designed to take advantage of the in-house tools that Sierra had. Unfortunately, I didn't really know the limitations of the system when I started out. The original game design was different from the game you know and love.

Choose Your Character[]

Instead of Character Classes, I had the concept that you could choose the character you wanted to play -- Elf, Gnome, Centaur, or Human. The Gnome had sneaky sort of skills, the Elf knew magic, the Centaur was an archer, and the human could have a variety of skills. The Centaur was the first to be cut from the game. Sierra's system wasn't designed to handle movement from four-legged beasties. Then there was the little problem that art resources were a limiting factor. We needed to keep the animation size down. So rather than have several characters with very little motion available, I opted for a single character design and a variety of movements.
Our original proposal called for multiple species including Centaurs. That got shot down in the first week of pre-design when Bob Heitman pointed out that four-legged creatures are very hard to animate (e.g. climbing stairs), plus the amount of animation required would not have worked on floppy disks. Or in the budget, for that matter.[1]
I originally conceived of Quest for Glory as a fairly serious Role-playing Game with Adventure Game aspects. While the Gnome character would be more humorous, the other characters would have been played straight. However, the character designs I got from the artists were not very serious in style. (My own original character designs were on the cartoony side, too.) Rather than have the serious nature of the game fight with the art style, I adapted the game play to mesh with the art. Besides, we had two very wonderful, very funny people on the team, Jerry Moore and Bob Fischbach.

So, how hard was it to design for three classes? Actually it was far more fun than hard. We designed a game that we would enjoy playing, and that meant having multiple solutions to puzzles. We also modeled the game after D&D and other paper RPG's, so clearly multiple classes were part of the model.

We just kept asking ourselves, "How would a Magic User get past this obstacle? What would a Thief do?" Answering those questions was as much fun for us as solving them in a D&D game.

If we had simply provided three solutions to every puzzle, the game would have been super-easy. Each player would quickly find one solution, and would never consider that something else might work. By requiring specific spells or skills for each solution, we (hopefully) encouraged players to play their character role and think as their character would think.

Team Work[]

Bob was a programmer who understood the importance of animation. He would take time to get the animations to look just right because he really cared about what he doing. He was the one to start adding the amusing comments when you typed in things that weren't originally handled by my design. That humor added a lot to the game, and so it was used throughout the series.
Jerry Moore cared a great deal about the game and the characters. He designed the wacky Yorick's room at the endgame. His guards at the endgame were made to look like the three stooges, and so that became part of their character shtick. Many of the odds and ends in Erasmus' house were from Jerry's imagination.
Kenn Nishiuye was the one who suggested we change the subtitle from "How to Be a Hero" to "So You Want to Be a Hero." He thought the brash style fit the game better. Kenn's fine art talents brought beauty to the limited palette of sixteen colors.
Everyone who worked on the Hero Quest game influenced the final outcome. It really was a team project, and the synergy of the team made the game great.

Changes and Cuts[]

A lot of planned features were cut off in the development progress, to release the game in a realistic amount of time. Originally, Lori had planned for four different races: thief-like gnome, magic wielding elf, human as jack of all trades, and archer centaur. For the limited resources in the animating department, races were replaced with multiple classes for the human character. [2] In the original design, there was supposed to be a big goblin maze. References to this have remained in the goblin base of the original version. [3] Many of the town buildings were planned to be enterable. Also, magic users were supposed to be able to get a familiar like Zara had, but it was cut due to programming difficulties. [4]

The shed originally had a minor puzzle planned, but we cut it for disk space and development time considerations. We wanted all of the buildings in town to have content, but that would have used up most of the entire game's resources. So we decided to leave the banging noises and such in as an unsolved mystery. The general idea was to make the town feel "alive", despite most of the people hiding in their houses due to the brigands and the "curse".[5]

It was going to be a workshop and have a character who worked there. It was a blacksmith shop for repairing weapons and armor, and forging new weapons and items.

Several other characters were trimmed from the town to reduce the game's scope to fit on floppies and to meet deadlines.[6]

Sierra's 1989 video catalog showed off an early version of the game. The opening title animation was different, and there was a fourth character selection option--a choice to "do it yourself" and pick whatever skills you liked. Most combat was from a fully first-person perspective instead of being seen from just behind the Hero. There was also a provision for a third-person combat system for random encounters, which was later dropped. It had what appears to be a point-and-click interface, resembling the combat style of the later VGA QFG installments. Screenshots from this early version can be seen below.

A non-interactive demo of the game was released by Sierra. It features a combat screen with alternate, more elaborate fonts for the "Hero Status" and "Enemy Status" text above the status bars.

Quest for Glory I  Release Notes

The "High Speed Hero" command described in your manual has been removed from the menu.  The game will automatically move your character faster when needed.

Your Hero can "rest" for 10 minutes to regain lost Stamina.



  2. Transolar Games Entertainment: Hero's Quest
  3. Live chat 31 March 2001 - - Corey Cole: QG1 was supposed to have a whole underground "Goblin Maze", but we had to cut it for lack of time and resources. I think there's still one reference to it that slipped through into the game.
  4. Live chat 31 March 2001 - - Lori Cole: We wanted to have the Hero be able to have a familiar, like Zara in the first game. That was just too difficult to pull off in programming.
  6. I don't remember a puzzle, but it was going to be a workshop, and have a character who worked there. We trimmed several characters from the town to reduce the game scope so it would fit on floppies and our deadlines. Yes, it would have been a blacksmith and repair shop.