Herzog Zwei (ヘルツォーク・ツヴァイ) is a strategy video game developed by Technosoft, released exclusively for the Sega Mega Drive in 1989, and a sequel to Herzog, which was only released for Japanese home computers in 1988. It was published in Japan by Technosoft in 1989 and in North America and Europe by Sega in 1990.
Herzog Zwei is often credited for creating the foundations of the RTS (real-time strategy) and MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genres as we know them today.
In Herzog Zwei, the player controls a unit which can freely transform from a plane to a robot, and must create and transport units to capture structures and destroy enemy bases. It combines concepts from the Thunder Force series (as it stood in 1989) with a strategic element which plays out in real time, as opposed to the more traditional turn-based strategy games which derive from games such as chess.
Along with a single-player mode, it features a split-screen two-player mode where both players are in action simultaneously. There are no pauses while decisions are taken, forcing players to think quickly while on the move. Though the player only controls one unit, a transforming mech, the manner of control foreshadowed the point-and-click mechanic of later games. It introduced much of the genre conventions, including unit construction and resource management, with the control and destruction of bases being an important aspect of the game, as were the economic/production aspects of those bases.
Main Program: Takashi Iwanaga
Weapon Program: Haruhiko Ohtsuka
Map Design: Osamu Tsujikawa
Character Design: Izumi Fukuda
Demo Program: Izumi Fukuda
Music Compose: Naosuke Arai, Tomomi Ohtani
Sound Effect: Naosuke Arai, Tomomi Ohtani
Manual Writer: Fumio Sugano
Herzog: T. O.
Special Thanks: Marie Hughes, Kamometei
Copyright: Tecno Soft
The Western packaging art was created by veteran San Francisco game box illustrator Marc Ericksen, who had previously created the art for Thunder Force II.
Herzog Zwei went on to influence future RTS games, particularly 1992's Dune II.
With Technosoft closing its doors in 2001 and the status of the intellectual property being unknown, the future of the series is likely sealed.