German eSport coverage site, fragster.de, sat down with Heroes of Newerth's Executive Producer, Pu 'Diva' Liu, at the recent DreamHack Summer 2012 for a two-part interview and talked with him about the community and casual game modes, what S2 Games is currently focusing on, the regional operations, HoN as an eSport title, the infamous HoNTour and their plans for the future.
Can you tell us how big your worldwide playerbase is at the moment?
A month and a half ago we published numbers that are around 1.5 Million active players. The Southeast Asian region is rapidly growing. The North American and European regions are also very strong. We are looking to get into the Latin American region and we actually have a Latin American partner that is looking to set up the game there. We also have a Korean partner and the setup is currently in beta stage. So worldwide, we’re doing very well and looking to expand a lot in the coming months.”
What is the focus of the company? Do you focus more on the casual gamers or do you specifically target competitive gaming?
Heroes of Newerth is very competitive. We have a lot of internal discussion about what the word “competitive” actually means. When you look at the casual HoN, like Mid Wars, that is still really competitive in comparison with other games out there. As far as fostering the eSports atmosphere, that is something we definitely believe in. We love seeing the ultimate passion that comes out of eSports. This is where we have our fans, our die hard players. It’s awesome to see and we absolutely love that. We are listening to them for feedback, just like we do with any of our players, but when we developed the game, we wanted to appeal to every type of player.”
[S2]Diva interview - PART ONE
HoN Tour got criticised a lot because it is taking so long. Can you reveal why the development takes so much time and can you tell us when it is actually being released?
The reason why HoN Tour is taking so long is because we want it to be absolutely perfect and there are so many moving parts involved. We want it to be an ultimate experience, part of this awesome community we want to build up, not just a tournament. If we would've wanted it to be just a tournament, it would have been out a year ago. It’s definitely coming, and we hope to have updates about it very soon.”
Your game faces strong competitors in the MOBA market like League of Legends and the upcoming Dota 2. How do you think your company can deal with this competition?
We've been dealing with competition for a really long time now and our mentality has never changed. We are always striving at topping the bar we set ourselves, although we are always conscious about our competitors and respect what they do. It is good to see what they bring to the genre. All the MOBAs and all these companies bring different things to the genre, at the end of the day this is making the pie bigger for all of us. We love to see new things come out, we love to see new challenges and we love to set the bar higher and higher. That really comes from ourselves, we want to always improve our own work. So while we are very conscious of our competitors, we are really competing against ourselves.”
[S2]Diva interview - PART TWO