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The Heart of Fire campaign featuring Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik makes you the company's newest intern!
Penny Arcade co-founders Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik have brought their legendary corporate adventuring company to the free-to-play Neverwinter MMORPG. While players can sign on as an intern at the firm’s swanky new offices in Protector’s Enclave, the Acquisitions Incorporated campaign The Heart of Fire also takes them to places they’ve never been before.
Holkins describes the production process as being similar to a Hollywood movie experience, including scouting locations for shots. The Penny Arcade duo used videos and maps of existing places in Neverwinter to brainstorm ideas and tell a new story. That included elements the players can’t usually reach, such as the enormous frost giant visible from afar in other modules.
“We asked, ‘Can we use that giant in the distance?’ And the answer was that players can’t really go there. But our response was, ‘We have an effing airship. Let’s go there!’ So we went through it scene by scene and figured out the basic core of the story we wanted to tell.”
Neverwinter Lead Designer Thomas Foss reveals that the airship also created a fun new cinematic way to travel in the game: “As a designer having an airship that players can travel anywhere to—in that kind of Indiana Jones dot, dot, dot on the map kind of way—was super-awesome. It meant we didn’t have to use portals all the time.”
“There are also some novel bits of lore in there for Acquisitions Incorporated enthusiasts,” Holkins promises. “The airship is such an iconic part of our game there was never a point where it wasn’t going to be in there. It’ll be a lot of fun to discover the short story explaining how it came to be, which I thought was really neat.”
Foss confirms that The Heart of Fire campaign transfers the wit and fun of the live Acquisitions Incorporated games into the digital realm.
“We didn’t have to do much to bring out the fun storytelling because it’s Mike and Jerry being Mike and Jerry,” says Foss. “I can tell you that during playtests here at work you can hear all the developers laughing. So it’s a big win.”
Read the full article in this issue's Dragon+!