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Birthed from the older Mage Knight collectible miniatures game, HeroClix first launched in 2002, and allowed gamers to play out awesome superhero skirmishes between the heroes and villains of the Marvel universe. The game’s coolest feature is a dial along the figure’s base that changes that characters stats, defense, and attack capabilities, leading to a highly dynamic battlefield.
Over the years, the HeroClix tabletop game has expanded into dozens of different comic, movie, and video game franchises, with hundreds of distinct figures to collect. In particular, the last few years have seen a surprising number of video game HeroClix figures, from BioShock Infinite to Assassin’s Creed. The video game-related figures are compatible with the broader HeroClix game, but are also compelling collectibles in their own right for fans of any given game. The highly detailed miniatures stand approximately 2" in height, and make for great display pieces in groups.
We spoke with Justin Ziran, president of publisher WizKids Games, and Scott D’Agostino, product and marketing coordinator for WizKids, to learn more about the video game licenses of HeroClix, the growth of the game, and their favorite characters.
What is the top-level concept for the HeroClix game?
Justin Ziran: HeroClix is a tabletop miniatures game utilizing pre-painted miniatures mounted on our patented Combat Dial system.
As a tabletop miniatures game, what sets HeroClix apart? Can you describe the basics of combat in a HeroClix game?
Ziran: The Combat Dial system allows for dynamic game play by having the game information on a dial that changes during the course of the game – as an example, for our Marvel and DC HeroClix lines, as characters take damage, their movement, attack, defense and damage stats may change and they may gain or lose access to different super powers – represented by colored squares on the characters stats.
When and how did HeroClix begin? Can you talk a little bit about the legacy of Mage Knight and other miniature games? Were you originally working with just a few licenses?
Ziran: Mage Knight was the first game utilizing the Combat Design system – this was a fantasy world of our own creation. In 2002, WizKids Games began a license agreement with Marvel to create the HeroClix line using characters from the Marvel Universe. DC Comics followed soon afterwards. Since that time, HeroClix has consistently been one of the top selling miniatures game in the core hobby market.
How many licenses does HeroClix work with now? Are all of these different characters from different franchises cross-compatible in the game?
Ziran: The first video game property that we created as its own line was Halo. This was released as a stand-alone game system called ActionClix. All of our recent licenses from comics, movies, video games and other pop culture properties have been brought under the HeroClix line and are all cross-compatible.
In recent years, you’ve begun working together with a number of video game properties. What prompted that move?
Ziran: Mostly because there are so many awesome video games out there – but seriously, it is great to have the opportunity to represent characters from these different video games in our game system. As a company, it is a fantastic means to expand our brand to new audiences. For video game fans and players, we offer an opportunity to have collectible figures of their favorite characters from these games as well as the opportunity to incorporate them into their HeroClix games. HeroClix really is the ultimate mash-up game – in what other game system can you assemble a dream team of Batman, Hulk, Legolas, James T. Kirk, M. Bison, Booker DeWitt or any other combination that you can imagine?
Which video game HeroClix brands have you worked with in the past? Which lines are currently available?
Scott D’Agostino: We have released HeroClix figures for Halo, Gears of War, Street Fighter, Assassin’s Creed and most recently for Bioshock Infinite, DOTA2 and Batman: Arkman Origins.
Beyond the obvious visual differences, are there features, rules, or other elements that differ between the different HeroClix lines? For instance, is there anything players would note that changes between a BioShock Infinite HeroClix game and one played with Yu-Gi-Oh set?
D’Agostino: With each new property, there is the opportunity for the game design team to create new game mechanics to represent iconic aspects of the video game – this really brings the feel of the video game into the HeroClix game. For Bioshock Infinite, we wanted to include the Machine Gun and Rocket Turrets – but it doesn’t really make sense for them to move on their own as is standard for other HeroClix figures. So, they have a mechanic that allows other figures in the game to move them around the game map. In Yu-Gi-Oh, we are incorporating mechanics to represent Spells and Traps as well as a mechanics to represent Rituals and Fusion of monsters.
Among the recent video game-themed HeroClix figures, can you point to a couple of favorite miniatures, and why you like them?
D’Agostino: The Street Fighter set incorporated clear effects to show the characters using their powers – like Guile’s Flash Kick – as a set, these are visually stunning. As far as paint and deco go, the figures in the DOTA2 Dire Starter Set are quite possibly the most finely detailed figures that we have ever made – they look amazing. Personally, I really like the Motorized Patriot sculpt from Bioshock Infinite – he is a great miniature representation of the in-game Motorized Patriot. You just can’t go wrong with a mechanized George Washington with a gatling gun.
Are you interested in continuing to do more HeroClix video game-themed lines in the future? Any dream characters or properties from video games that you’d really like to do?
Ziran: Absolutely. Yes, there are a definitely a many games and other properties that we would love to work with…unfortunately I cannot really disclose what those would be until licenses are signed. Just know that we are all video game fans ourselves…so if you thought about it, there is a very good chance we are thinking it as well.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.