There isn’t much on the roots of HeroEngine out there to find out about, but from what I have found by scouring the web, HeroEngine started development in ~2004 by Simutronics as an in-house MMO engine for their game ‘Hero’s Journey’. After showing Hero’s Journey off at various Game Developer’s Conferences (Gdconf.com, 2016), developers of other various studios started to take interest in how the game was made (Wood, 2009).
A New Licensee
In 2006, Simutronics realised that there was just as much interest in how Hero’s Journey was built as there was interest in the game itself, so they decided to split their team up and set one side to developing the game and the other to the engine. Soon after that, BioWare also started using the engine to start developing Star Wars: The Old Republic (Boyer, 2007).
In 2010, Simutronics sold HeroEngine to Idea Fabrik, and Idea Fabrik also hired all of the stuff currently working on Hero Engine (Simutronics Corp, 2016). Since then, Simutronics has focussed on developing mobile games.
In 2012, Idea Fabrik released Hero Engine 2, which included a number of upgrades including graphics tool updates, engine framework improvements and multiplayer system updates. It also included the option to purchase a license from the website for $99 per year (Ideafabrik.com, 2012). This version was known as Sapphire (Wiki.heroengine.com, 2016). In 2014, the engine continued to develop and has currently evolved to the next version, Quartz (Wiki.heroengine.com, 2016). Boasting the ‘Realtime Collaborative Platform’ unique feature, allowing multiple developers to work on a game world on the cloud at the same time, Idea Fabrik seem to have high hopes for it’s future, with the next release, Amethyst, already being planned.
Gdconf.com. (2016). GDC 2017 | February 27 — March 3, 2017 | Moscone Convention Center | San Francisco, California. [online] Available at: http://www.gdconf.com/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
Wood, J. (2009). Hero’s Journey – Update on Hero Engine and Hero’s Journey. [online] MMORPG.com. Available at: http://www.mmorpg.com/heros-journey/progress-reports/update-on-hero-engine-and-heros-journey-1000002883 [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
Boyer, B. (2007). GDC: Simutronics’ HeroEngine Gets Three Licensees. [online] Gamasutra.com. Available at: http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=13088 [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
Simutronics Corp. (2016). About Us. [online] Available at: http://www.simutronics.com/about-us.html [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
Ideafabrik.com. (2012). HeroEngine 2 Unveiled. [online] Available at: http://www.ideafabrik.com/news/heroengine-2-unveiled [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
Wiki.heroengine.com. (2016). HeroEngine Sapphire – HEWIKI. [online] Available at: http://wiki.heroengine.com/wiki/HeroEngine_Sapphire [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].