! X-COM Co-Creator Julian Gollop Making Chaos Sequel

By Alec Meer on November 2nd, 2012 at 4:34 pm.

The RPS reactions went as follows:

Alec: Woah
Adam: Holy moly
Jim: Woah

Legendary developer Julian Gollop, best known as one half of the sibling-based team responsible for X-COM and Laser Squad, has just announced he’s making a brand new Chaos game.

We don’t know much yet as this came out of his breaking a month-slong silence on a Twitter account I suspect most of us didn’t even know existed until now, but he says it’ll be a “sequel/remake”, it’ll be for PC, Mac, iOS and maybe more, he’s using Unity, it’ll be 3D “for sure” and he wants ” to keep combat/movement very close to the original, with some tweaks.”

1985 turn-based strategy/tactics title Chaos: The Battle of Wizards is one of the essential ZX Spectrum games. X-COM: UFO Defense/UFO: Enemy Unknown is of course the greatest videogame ever. So this is huge.

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85 Comments »

  1. noom says:

    Woah.

    Had a demo of Lords of Chaos on the ST when I was a nipper. Sadly never got the full game but that demo got played a lot.

    • Dubbill says:

      I perfected my Lords of Chaos summoning roster and spells over many, many replays of that demo. I ended up buying the full game and the expansion pack and played them non-stop. When I rigged up my ST in a fit of nostalgia a few years back it was still my go-to game. When Julian Gallop was at a gaming expo promoting the release of Nemesis I approached him and gushed about how it was my favourite game. Poor man.

    • Casimir Effect says:

      Likewise. I had the demo (I think, could have been the full game) when very young. Far too young to really have a clue what I was doing and never really won a game.

      Still had some great times though, casting gooey blob everywhere and watching it take over everything. It could be nice to have a new version.
      Magic & Mayhem filled the void for a little while but that game was brutal, often quite buggy and a bit too fast for me – being unpausable real-time.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I got Lords of Chaos as my free game when I subscribed to Your Sinclair.

      I am old.

      • Eleven says:

        I got Chaos from a Your Sinclair covertape, then had to buy another copy secondhand because the tape wore out from too much late-night homework-dodging wizard-battles with friends.

        I want nostalgia to be a verb, so that I can express just how much that screenshot made me nostalgia.

      • mrtypo says:

        Great news spec-chums!

    • Slinkyboy says:

      CAPTURE THIS MAN AND INTERROGATE HIM IMMEDIATELY…

    • flend says:

      Chaos passed me by (on the wrong platform) but I too wasted much of my youth on Lords of Chaos (CPC). The mechanic where battles earn you points to spend between said battles could have had its first outing in that game, for all I know. In any case, it’s still playable now but not seeing the monsters move and attack is a bit jarring to modern eyes. Still a good candidate for inspiration for an iPhone game.

      • SquidgyB says:

        There’s a faithful (and surprisingly playable) remake of Chaos on Android, free as well iirc.

        • patricio says:

          thanks for pointing that out – it’s a great and v faithful remake

    • Kefren says:

      Lords of Chaos – played almost as much as Laser Squad on my Amiga! I liked making bonkers wizards, e.g. one who could only summon dragons (a huge gamble), one who couldn’t cast spells (all points on physical stats), one who was a master at summoning goo etc. Was great fun seeing how they fared, though often I went for a range of spells plus the ability to summon one type of creature.

      Hot seat battles with a player who knew their way around the game were brilliant, especially using pixies. “Who keeps killing my unicorns? I didn’t see anyone!”

    • Rawrian says:

      Jack the Nipper?

  2. Xardas Kane says:

    I wish we could see what HIS modern X-COM would look like. Not that I am not happy with the one Firaxis made, no sir!

    • phuzz says:

      Incidentally, what happened to the FPS XCOM remake? It was announced, and everyone hated it, then the Firaxis one was announced and I never heard anything else.

      I bet they’re well pissed off now.

      • razgon says:

        The internet backlash and focus group backlash seems to have been big enough for the game to be more or less cancelled.

        I suspect we will see it eventually, after its passed on to some lower grade development team that cheaply finishes it in an attempt to recoup the development costs of the game.

        • Vandelay says:

          Did they not release a screenshot recently (or one was leaked)? It has become a third person squad shooter, I believe.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        Pulling off the I Am Alive act basically. They weren’t happy with where the game was going, so they rebooted the project to be more tactically focused. There were even rumors going around that’it’s a squad-based third-person shooter now.
        It has NOT been cancelled.

        • Slinkyboy says:

          A 3rd person shooter? Does that make the game better or what? I normally see no difference between 1st and 3rd person prospective as long as I feel immersed.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Better view of the battlefield for managing your squad? I dunno honestly, but it’s what the rumors stated. Maybe they want to add character customization and want the player to see the fruits of his labor.

          • darkChozo says:

            3rd person could lead to a more tactical and/or lethal game that would probably mesh better with the rest of the X-COM franchise. The ability to look around corners without exposing yourself means you can punish run-and-gun gameplay pretty hard without it being impossible to play. I guess it would jive better with Enemy Unknown visually, too.

            Actually, a tactical TPS that took the Hotline Miami approach to game design could be pretty cool. Make it super-lethal but you save after each room or something. That way you could preserve some of the inching-forward-from-cover-to-cover feel of EO with non-TRPG mechanics.

  3. Arathain says:

    My heart rate just doubled.

    This is fantastic. It’s been too, too long since Julian Gollop made a PC game.

    Also, Chaos!

    I presume you’ve been asking him for an interview for a while now, but this seems like a really good time.

  4. dgbonomo says:

    … no kickstarter link? I’m so confused! :(
    (just kidding)

  5. Swabbleflange says:

    Brilliant news. Chaos is still one of my favourite games. It’s a slice of strategy perfection.

  6. tumbleworld says:

    May I draw attention to Chaos Groove, in the mean time? http://chaosgroove.wordpress.com/

  7. Grey Ganado says:

    Am I too young to be exited by this?

  8. Groove says:

    I don’t suppose anyone wants to share what type of game the original Chaos was?

    I’m not exactly a youngling any more, but this came out in the year of my birth and I’d never heard of it before.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Seconding the request for information, I was a C64 kid.

    • Punchbowled says:

      Chaos was the original for Magic: The Gathering. Armed with a random selection of spells, you battled against up to 7 (I think) human or AI competitors, summoning and controlling creatures, blasting out direct effect spells, and doing mystical hoodoos of various kinds.

      It was turn-based strategy, on a grid not hexes, with a minimal and very atmospheric interface. It was the one Spectrum game I kept playing long, long after the machine had been replaced by shinier boxes. It was great.

    • sinister agent says:

      I’ve only played a (rather excellent) clone of it on the Amiga, but I doubt it’s that different. 1 – 8 players control a wizard on a grid in a turn-based fight. On your turn you can move one square and/or cast a spell, the vast majority of which summon monsters, while a few of them give you faster movement or a sword or magical protection. Once you have at least one monster, you can take control of it and send it off to kill the other wizards.

      So you might end up sending a wave of zombies against another player’s angry bear, to keep it busy while you summon a pegasus that you can climb onto and fly away to hide behind the impenetrable forest you summoned earlier. Better spells have a higher chance of failing, so there’s always a risk to take unless you stick to crap monsters, but even a crappy monster is likely to kill a lone wizard, so that can be a viable strategy. Also, you can cast an “illusion” of any monster, which always succeeds, but will be instantly ‘killed’ if someone casts a “disbelieve” spell on it.

      There are few more stomach-churning moments in games than when you disbelieve your opponent’s obviously fake pair of golden dragons… and they survive.

      The best thing about it is that the concept is incredibly easy to grasp however many games you’ve played, and its so simple that you don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge or memory or obsession with statistics to enjoy or succeed at it.

      • iucounu says:

        This was Lords of Chaos, which I think isn’t quite the same game, but was brilliant on C64. It was essentially Laser Squad with summons.

        • sinister agent says:

          Unlikely, although it may well have been inspired by both. This was a public domain thing, of the sort that used to come on collections of 3 billion or so on the amiga, thrown together by some kid in their bedroom with scant regard for production values, legality, or sanity. This is why the amiga was home to all the best and the worst games.

          Fortunately, 20 years on, we’re finally starting to see the PC fulfill some of its potential in the same area.

        • Archonsod says:

          Lords of Chaos was the original sequel to Chaos. Lords added something of a more skirmish / RPG feel, the original Chaos utilised much the same spells but was just a single screen empty arena.

        • Soon says:

          Sounds exactly like Chaos to me. Lords of Chaos had more RPG stuff.

          Edit: What he said.

          • iucounu says:

            Ah, right you are. Would prefer a Lords of Chaos remake, I think, given that it had nifty terrain etc.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Lords of Chaos was the sequal to Chaos. Kind of Chaos merged with Laser Squad – the maps and missions of Laser Squad with the summoning and spells of Chaos. The game sinister describes is definately Chaos (it was the one with the open “arena” combat styleee as opposed to structured levels).

          Also: LAYSHER SKWAAAD!!

          Also 2: I typed Laser Squid about 10 times whils writing that. SOMEONE MAKE ME THIS GAME!

      • Groove says:

        Thanks!

        That sounds awesome, go remake-a-tron, go!

    • echoMateria says:

      This video on YouTube called Chaos Walkthrough, ZX Spectrum has all the information you need.

  9. Punchbowled says:

    Speaking as someone whose whole adult and indeed adolescent life has been a slightly disappointing sequel to CHAOS, I’ve got to say: woahly moley.

  10. Nameless1 says:

    It would have been Huge if THEY were the ones making the X-COM sequel.

  11. Robin says:

    Julian Gollop back in the game!

    After this an X-COM sequel please.

    What studio.. is perhaps Mythos Games back (yeeess pleaseeeeeee)? Because I don’t think he’s doing this with the Ubisoft studio from his latest game (Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars).

  12. Tom Walker says:

    Ahem.

    WOOOOOHOOHOOHOOHOOOOOOO!

    *Cough*

  13. clive dunn says:

    Chaos (and indeed, Lords of Chaos) are both available to play on yer iDevice.
    I never had Chaos back in the day but Lords of Chaos is a wonderful game.

  14. BigJonno says:

    Just worked out that I was seven when I first played Chaos, I got it on a Your Sinclair cover tape. Fantastic game and one of the few Speccy games I still remember.

  15. Archonsod says:

    I think the only game that got more play time than Chaos on my Speccy was Skool Daze.

  16. Robsoie says:

    For those of you curious about what was Chaos, there’s a flash remake of the spectrum version :
    http://www.mykeblack.com/flash/chaos/chaosmenu.html

  17. HothMonster says:

    slong

  18. GreatUncleBaal says:

    I have cast Disbelieve and yet this story remains. Excellent news!

    • minerwilly says:

      Silly. This story clearly came about from someone casting ‘Raise Dead’, so couldn’t possibly have been an illusion.

  19. Ergates_Antius says:

    Though I’ve always noted the clear similarity between Laser Squad and X-COM, for some reason it never occurred to me that they were made by the same person. Obvious now it’s been pointed out really.

  20. minerwilly says:

    Oh lordy! Chaos is my favourite game of all time. All other games after the release of this one in 1984 have paled in comparison. Theres nothing in life like an undead Gold Dragon. Its horribly, horribly unfair, but thats why its called Chaos.

    Fact 1 : It was released by Games Workshop of all people.
    Fact 2: Theres a perfect free replica of it already in the Android marked place.

  21. pupsikaso says:

    I have NO idea what Chaos is, never played it. But I have played X-Com (the original). So if it’s like that, and not anything like the failed XCOM reboot by Firaxis then this is AWESOME!

    • Xardas Kane says:

      A commercial and critical success, including high user scores, equals failure now?

  22. patricio says:

    Enchanted Forests all round!

  23. Drake Sigar says:

    We’re all so fucking old.

  24. Harlander says:

    Yesssssss.

    I still play Martin Brownlow’s seminal Atari ST remake of Chaos (with the pop-culture samples) whenever I can rope some people into it

  25. Rikard Peterson says:

    Cool. I’ve never seen the original, but I’ve played quite a bit of a clone. (Chaos Funk)

  26. mckertis says:

    15 years of one failure after another, and yet everyone is excited so. Must be magic.

  27. Slinkyboy says:

    CAPTURE THIS MAN AND INTERROGATE HIM IMMEDIATELY!!

  28. nickylee says:

    My first reaction was also “whoa”. Chaos. CHAOS!

  29. Crazy Horse says:

    Keanu Reeves called. He wants to take acting lessons from excited games journalists.

  30. jonfitt says:

    Aw yeah. Fear the GOOEY BLOB!

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  32. Zemalf says:

    Great news yes, but I’m a skeptic. Last time I remember hearing of Julian Gollop was when he thought of making Laser Squad Nemesis free in 2010 and then proceeded on taking the server down, closing the game down and giving the fans the finger.

    Julian might be genius, brilliant designer and I absolutely love his games, but I’d rather see the resurrection of the abandoned Laser Squad Nemesis. Still the best tactical PvP game. It doesn’t even have to be re-make, I wish they’d just put it up again.

  33. cmotkarlos says:

    When people say ‘oh I put hundreds of hours into Minecraft’ nowadays, that was me – 20-odd years ago with Chaos.

    and Sensible Soccer.

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  35. Lykurgos says:

    Never played Chaos but Lords of Chaos occupies a zone in my mind consisting of 99% densely packed appreciative nostalgia + 1% sadness that as fantastic as the game was, there is no way I’d tolerate the UI to play it today.

  36. Caiman says:

    Holy… fuck! My favouritestist game EVAR! And made by the same guy! This could not possibly be more awesome news. I still play Chaos to this day (ok, not exactly today, but a few weeks ago). It’s the only game I’ve ever played with three generations of my family all huddled around the TV screen for years (yes, years). The nicknames that I call my folks and my sister were derived from their Chaos wizard names. So yeah, just a bit excited.

    And yeah, the game still holds up today. Grab a speccy emulator and see for yourself. 8 wizards on difficulty 8, GO! (bzzzzzt… peeooowww!)

  37. mykeblack says:

    There’s a version of chaos available on android which is quite similar to the original, although for the full experience of the Speccy version you need to have the added tension of waiting to see if it makes it through the full 2 minutes and 34 seconds of loading from a tape deck, which quite often failed, making a whimpering beep and crashing (ironic that it was given out as a freebie on the best selling speccy magazine of the day called ‘Crash’). I had a speccy 128k +2 with the built in tape deck, and had to pile books on the tape deck door to line up the heads properly. The screw that you were supposed to use to adjust the heads height had been used so much the threads were worn out.

    Lords of chaos was a great game, but not a patch on the pure undiluted playability of the original Chaos the Battle of Wizards. Not many people know this, but there was a spell in the code that never made it to the unfinished release version. There was a Troll spell with graphics and stats hidden in the code which never saw the light of day in the original. I included in my flash version of Chaos. Similarly, the early Xcom, enemy unknown games were a lot better than some of the later ones I thought.