Gas Again: Kings And Castles

By Jim Rossignol on February 15th, 2010 at 8:50 am.


Gas Powered Games have announced their next RTS (they’re wrapping up Supreme Commander 2 right now) and it’s called Kings And Castles. Apparently it’s a “one-of-a-kind experience” that will “let players take on the role of one of three powerful kings who are vying for control of an all-new, original fantasy world.” The team plan to record and publish every aspect of development for this new title. “We’re doing something different this time around,” said Chris Taylor, Creative Director of Gas Powered Games. “We want to take our fans on a great adventure with us. They’ll get to go behind-the-scenes and watch the game come to life from start to finish.” And with that in mind, the first video-blog of the game is posted below.

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68 Comments »

  1. James says:

    Though it obviously didn’t inform me, I find myself wanting more. Is that wrong? The horse interests me.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Yeah, we need to see more of that horse..it’s crucial for determining whether the game has potential or not, y’know

  2. arqueturus says:

    Is it just me or do GPG always follow the pattern of Sci-fi game success and Fantasy game failiure?

  3. Bobsy says:

    I… er…

    Hmm.

  4. Acosta says:

    Chris Taylor is awesome, if we are going to have a weekly video with him that makes the game awesome already.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Let’s just hope he won’t spend more time doing those videos rather than actual development…but then again, I might not complain if there is a comedy potential like this :D

  5. ADamnFox says:

    Stranger still, that video’s actually entirely in-game footage…

  6. PixelCody says:

    With a name like that I nearly skipped this post entirely. The word “fantasy” didn’t do much for me either.

    Can’t see the video cos my tinternet is throwing a fit at the sight of any file bigger than a webpage but their community focus is commendable. Go go gadget development diary!

    • James G says:

      The name seems generic enough that surely there must be a tongue in cheek element involved.

    • Stromko says:

      It caught my attention. Kings AND Castles? Well, mostly the second bit. I loves me some castles, it would be fantastic if someone other than the Stronghold license holders would take a shot at it.

  7. terry says:

    Chris Taylor doing an RTS? This is indeed a novel and exciting thing!

    Non-sarcastically it looks quite nice, but jesus god I have so many RTS games this has to be something Majesty-level different to interest me.

  8. Daedren says:

    As good of a game designer Chris Taylor is (I’m not one for RTS, but can respect his work) – putting his name in the title is a recipe for disaster.

    Richard Garriott did it (Tabula Rasa) – didn’t work out so good. He went from ‘Legendary Game Designer” status with the Ultima Series to becoming a cautionary tale and fired at NCSoft. He appears to be ‘focusing on things he learned during his spaceflight experiences’ now, which is probably code for ‘hookers and blow until I hit rock bottom’.

    Chris Taylor, don’t do it! Only Bram Stoker can do this and get away with it. It didn’t work for M. Night Shalalayala either. It screams arrogance and douchebaggery.

    (On a related note, the guy who is making “Love” could probably get away with this, as he’s worked on every aspect of his game in it’s entirety.)

    • yaster says:

      It sure does work for certain Sid.

    • James G says:

      Sid Meier got away with it.

    • Daedren says:

      He’s Canadian. All bets off.

    • Volomon says:

      Richard Garriot, was pissed off at the business end of gaming since UO like 1997 I want to say. He was ONLY hired for his name. He spent a lot of time in SPACE, and I’m not kidding. When he was at the office he would hand out papers for the development crew to fill out on, “What makes a game great?” (or what have you) as if he was a professor of gaming.

      He was already wealthy and the only reason he did Tabula Rasa is for more money to go into space. Tabula Rasa is an example of what happens when you give a contract to someone without the necessary motivation to prevent him from robbing you blind.

      This actually happens a lot in the gaming industry where smaller companies would rob the larger company (publisher) for more money, then sit around. Hell it happens a lot in software period. That’s why companies like EA, Activision, ect,. FORCE companies to release a game on time because they think they are dicking them for more money.

    • Volomon says:

      To note though, I have a feeling NCsoft pulled an EA on him. Richard (I feel) doesn’t like less than total control, or at least I would assume that’s why he got kicked out of EA when he no longer had creative control over UO. If you saw early info on Tabula Rasa it was a mix of fantasy and sci-fi but really mostly fantasy. Something Richard did for many years. You come back a while later and it was totally sci-fi. NCsoft probably forced Richard to change the idea because NCsoft already had Lineage 2 and other fantasy titles, they had yet to get a sci-fi one.

      Hence I BELIEVE he might of wrecked Tabula Rasa on purpose, and why he did outlandish things while he was at NCsoft and went into space while still on contract to piss NCsoft off.

      Totally opinion from what I seen of the facts when they were presented.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Sid may have gotten away for it, but he hardly deserves to have the name in the title. In his later games, the majority of the work in “his” games was done by people like Brian Reynolds or Soren Johnson.

      Chris Taylor doesn’t even have merits enough to be put up there, but hey, I’d put Chris Taylor’s name on a title rather than American McGee’s any day.

    • Daedren says:

      All good points, especially about Garriott.

      That’s true about Sid’s name being on titles he didn’t even really work on. If memory serves, he did the original CIV game but after that was basically a ‘creative director’ on the later CIV games, while they were completely designed and directed by someone else. Still, I have to give Sid credit for being a pioneer in the industry, at least from my perspective.

      I agree with rocketman, and I think that was my overall point. (especially about American McGee, forgot about that) :)

    • Bhazor says:

      You are dissing Sid Meier? Wow!

      I command you to read the Gamasutra articles featured below.

      But heres my favourite quote from them

      “There was a different design team starting [on Pirates!] while Sid was doing something else,” he said. “We were trying to convince Sid he needed to be involved, but he was working on his thing. Finally, one weekend, he decided he was going to get involved.”

      At the time, Meier had never worked in 3D as a programmer, so he had a team member quickly work up a system that would allow him to program in a 2D environment, controlling the 3D game.

      After that was done, “In three days he wrote an entire ship battle system that brought the whole team to a stop,” Caudill said. “It was so much more fun than what was in the game before, that everyone just wanted to play it all day long, and didn’t want to do anything else.”

      That head-on attitude typifies Meier: “He’s absolutely not afraid to do anything himself,” the producer went on. “He’ll just go do something and leave the team behind.”

    • MadMatty says:

      Designer for Civ 4? I´d say the difference between civ 1 and civ 4 are minor, mostly streamlining and adding a few bits and bobs here and there. Its still very much Sid´s game, and also his great Pirates! and the Railroad thinghy.

    • Carra says:

      @Bhazor.

      You now made me go and want to read those articles :)

    • Scott Kevill says:

      I think you’re missing part of the joke here. His name in the title fits perfectly with the parody.

    • Daedren says:

      @Scott Kevil: You’re right. If the point of the title was parody, than I missed it.

  9. Jeremy says:

    Seems like they’re hanging up a huge sign above this game saying:

    “Look! We are being funny!!!”

    So that relying on trad fantasy cliches then becomes tongue-in-cheek. Which hasn’t worked for me since Warcraft 2.

  10. Volomon says:

    I keep forgetting that Gas Powered is even still around, after they bombed with Space Siege. Keep forgetting about Supreme Commander, not my style of RTS. Though I’ve never though any of their games were more than average, I at least take a look at every new things they do.

  11. Sagan says:

    I bet they are taking the Lego Wars/Tech Wars/Preschool Wars/Castle Wars genre of Warcraft III mods and making a full game out of it. It’s like an RTS, except you don’t control your units. Or maybe like Demigod without Demigods. That genre is just about upgrading and building unit production buildings and then watching your units move forward.

    Anyway I’m just posting this comment so that next week I can say “I called it.”

  12. Dreamhacker says:

    If this is Supreme Commander mixed with Stronghold-style management and Total War-style combat, it is nothing short of the promised game walking the earth.

    On Sid Meier: Read the series of Firaxis history over at Gamasutra and you will see that Sid is far from a hack and that you should be ashamed to even voice such slander. But when you realize that, don’t worry, there are well-proven solutions, all of which leads to a nice plot of land with beautiful white flowers.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Do you have a link for that article? Would like to read it but I’m in a tired stupid haze and I can’t find it!

    • Sagan says:

      I don’t know which article he is referring to, but I remember being really impressed by this article about how Sid Meier works. Or maybe this one, which has really helpful, non-obvious design lessons by the man. Especially the double and half rule is something that everyone should learn before starting his first mod or flash game. It just saves you so much time.

  13. Lobotomist says:

    He is a farmer….nice

  14. dslkjfklfjklwmalfs says:

    Join EA to make shovel-ware but no job security.
    Join Blizzard to remake older Blizzard games but have no creative ideas.
    Join Valve to make no games but a lot of job security.
    Join Gas Powered Games to become E-famous but not manage a multi-player net code.

    • Scott Kevill says:

      There were no problems with GPG’s net code.

    • LintMan says:

      @Scott Kevill: Really? Were Demigod’s networking problems all Stardock’s fault, then?

    • MadMatty says:

      @ Scott

      Me and my friends had and still have MASSIVE problems with GPG net…. their matchmaking code was, sorry, completely rubbish, from Total Annihilation up to Supreme Commander.
      I´ve spent countless hours trying to get it working, but to this day, im still stuck with the Hamachi program, to play Supreme Commander Online.
      IE. Hamachi does the dirty work for GPG.

      I can name countless RTS´s where this was working perfectly, even like 10-15 years ago.

    • Scott Kevill says:

      @LintMan, yes, that is correct. When the Impulse layer is not used and it is played via GameRanger, it works fine.

      @MadMatty, I was referring to Demigod (as I assumed the original poster was) where the net code was fine, but ruined by other factors beyond their control, and I hate seeing them get panned for that.

      Supreme Commander used Quazal tech for GPGNet matchmaking from what I understand and was let down by that. I don’t know whether that was a developer or publisher decision. I make a distinction between the matchmaking code and the actual game net code.

      Total Annihilation used DirectPlay for its networking code, the same as most other RTS games around the time (including Age of Empires II) and was no better or worse than any of those.

      Don’t forget that 10-15 years ago, NAT and routers were far less common, and firewalls were rare (no intrusion scares). Age of Empires II was insanely popular on the Zone back then (which had no support for routers), but few people can play it now without the router support provided by GameRanger (it gets around 30,000 games played per day right now).

      TA and SC both work fine with GameRanger.

    • MadMatty says:

      @ scott

      Gameranger? ill try it.
      Youre right about the routers coming in giving problems.

      We DID have a lot of problems with the old Boneyards official matchmaking service for TA- but im not sure why.
      I do make distinctions between matchmaking and netcode also, and i have to be fair and say that games were usually fairly stable (considering the Internet and all) once you got a match underway.

      SupCOm and TA are my all time favourite RTS´ so credit to Chris for that.

      But there has been a veritable ton of games, new ones too at that, that got matchmaking working on my setup, so i was dissapointed with GPG.

  15. Warduke says:

    The most interesting thing I got out of this is that there has apparently never been a video game or board game called Kings & Castles. Wow.

  16. Internet Friend says:

    It is clear that chickens are the best animals.

    So funny looking.

  17. ChaK_ says:

    oh noes :-(

    I wanted dungeon siege III, damn you chris

  18. Tei says:

    I was playing Majesty2 this weekend, and I was like… humm… so is like.. playing Dungeon Keeper from the other side, the good guys. I will be good if any make a “Dungeon Keeper 3 Majesty 3″ game (you know … a game that combine Dungeon Keeper and Majesty in a single title), bigger than Dwarf Fortress and more awesome than Jesus.
    And now a game with the highly suspicious name “Kings and Castles” is on the making.

  19. mrrobsa says:

    This was a riot, can we just have a Virtual Chris Taylor sim please?! More than enough hours of fun by the looks of it!

  20. Alphabet says:

    If this is as good as TA:Kingdom wasn’t, I will be a very happy gamer.

  21. Unaco says:

    I actually quite liked TA:Kingdoms. Probably the last RTS I played to any great extent (I have SupCom on the shelf above me… I might start playing that again, sometime… and I’m waiting for some free time to get properly into AI Wars). Hope this goes well… I have such fond memories of TA, and would love to relive them in a new Chris Taylor RTS.

    As for the dev video Blog thing… I think I can give it a miss. I’d rather just have the game finished and released. When I watch a movie, I just watch the movie… I don’t listen to the commentary, or watch any of the special features on the DVD. I just watch the movie. Unless its BladeRunner. Same thing with games… I’ll just stick to playing the game, maybe read the instruction booklet etc. But I don’t need to know intricately and intimately how the game came together.

    • Lim-Dul says:

      TA:Kingdoms had retarded defensive units. I won like a dozen games by simply building a chain of towers into the enemy base and clogging up chokepoints (especially since the terribad AI just kept on sending wave after wave of units into them).
      This was perhaps a nice and novel concept before the spread of tower defense games but arguably worked MUCH better in games that were designed around it – most notably NetStorm: Islands at War.

  22. Lim-Dul says:

    Chris Taylor is my hero. ^^
    I mean – he created one of the best RTS-es of ALL TIME, Total Annihilation (Yo, StarCraft, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish :-P), which was SO far ahead of its time (automated base management, infinite and elegant shift queuing of commands, 3D graphics, Internet play through Boneyards – all one year before SC), it’s not even funny.

    I still play TA from time to time and actually got it installed right now. :-D

    From what I gathered he is really passionate about the games he makes – in interviews he seems honestly excited about certain features of a certain title.

    The video blog will be quite epic – subscribed. :-D

    • Kakksakkamaddafakka says:

      As much as I love TA, comparing it to SC is folly. It’s like comparing some random unbalanced boardgame to Chess. Fun? Sure, it might be. A game that you can play competetively for years and years and still get new strategies out of? No chance.

    • Lim-Dul says:

      Yeah, uhm, unbalanced. Because the community certainly hasn’t brought out dozens of mods and thousands of units.
      SC is balanced in a bland way – the chess comparison is strangely fitting since chess isn’t something I’d like to watch being played competitively either. ;-)

  23. Mister_X says:

    I get the feeling i’m in the minority but i really liked Total Anihilation: Kingdoms,
    If this new un is to that what Sup Com was to TA
    I’ll be perfectly happy…

    • Lim-Dul says:

      I can some more specifics about TA:Kingdoms to my previous post. =)
      Yeah, I kinda liked it too but in TA you had far more variety in unit types which led to many more counter-strategies you could develop. In Kingdoms many units were melee or close range only and hence succumbed to defensive structures quite easily – make a wall barrier around a tower, send builders on patrol routes so they automatically repair damaged towers et voila – turtle at leisure.
      In TA this didn’t work – given realistic projectile physics instead of auto-hit mechanics a la the *Craft series you could easily out-maneuver turtlers, especially with good unit micro-management. My favorite units for that were probably Hawks/Vamps since they flew so fast that they couldn’t be targeted even by dedicated AA Turrets. :-D

      Also, the Aramon faction was GROSSLY overpowered due to its monarch – he had a resurrection ability which is a stupid, stupid idea to include in any RTS if you allow the given unit to resurrect enemy builders… Send the monarch to intercept an enemy builder and there you are – you have control over two factions at once and can mix and match as you please. -.-

  24. malkav11 says:

    I’m hoping that’s just a placeholder name. Though I suppose this -is- the studio that gave us the name Dungeon Siege.

    • MadMatty says:

      yeah definetly- they should name it “Castles n Elves n Shit”

    • Okami says:

      I would pay good money for a game calles “Castles’n'Elves’n'Shit”.

    • Wulf says:

      @Okami

      That title reminds me of Dungeons, Alchemists, Amethysts, ‘n’ Everything. My internal name for which is “That game where I were flipped off by a ruddy Dwarf, who were across an impassable chasm and stuff like wot where I couldn’t kill ‘im ’cause I were distinctly lackin’ in ranged weaponry!”. Yes indeed.

  25. Web Cole says:

    Hmm… I like it!

  26. Jimbo says:

    This title becomes infinitely better if you add ‘And Dirty Rascals’ to the end of it.

    I don’t think Chris Taylor’s name carries enough weight to warrant being on the box really. You can’t release games like Space Siege or Demigod if you want to be ‘that guy’.

  27. Davie says:

    Well, I must say I found this guy’s antics to be rather hilarious. Although I get the feeling that I know nothing more about this game now than before I watched the video. And “Kings and Castles”? Really? That’s worse than Dragon Age. Still, and RTS is an RTS, and that means I shall keep my eye on this.

  28. LionsPhil says:

    Chris Taylor is trying too hard to be funny. He’s easily upstaged by the horse. The sideways-head bit before the bite in particular.

  29. A-Scale says:

    That video was tremendous.

  30. Noc says:

    Re: Chris Taylor’s Name In The Title:

    I think you guys are misreading this. This totally a game about Chris Taylor’s Kings; the players control the titular Kings, sitting in their titular Castles, ordering Chris Taylor about. This video is a mock-up of the prototype resource gathering system, where you shout commands down from your throne and order him to feed the horses and cut you wood without providing proper protective eyewear, and slowly drive him insane with your ceaseless demands for busywork.

  31. Bruce says:

    Wasn’t TA: Kingdoms done by Cavedog (not Gas Powered) after Chris Taylor had left Cavedog to form Gas Powered? As such, I’d never really though he was responsible for Kingdoms (which I didn’t like when I tried it) at all?

  32. disperse says:

    Hmm, could this be another case of AAA game companies following in the footsteps of indies?

  33. Bluebreaker says:

    Chris is a great smoke seller.