Chris Taylor On GPG’s Prehistoric RTS-RPG, Wildman

By Nathan Grayson on January 14th, 2013 at 9:45 pm.

Wildman! That’s fun to say, isn’t it? I like bellowing it at the top of my lungs while charging down sun-spattered hills, colossal bonking club aloft. Of course, I was doing that long before Chris Taylor and Gas Powered Games announced a fantastical prehistoric RTS/MOBA/RPG with the very same title, so now it’s actually relevant. But how exactly do all those puzzle pieces fit together? Is this just Total Demigod Annihilation Siege Commander, or is there more to it than that? And, most importantly, what sorts of objects will we be bonking people with? Dinosaur femurs? Pterodactyl eggs? Primitive religious ideologies? Also, something something DRM (or lack thereof) and mods and Kickstarter or whatever, I guess. See it all after the break.

RPS: So, Kickstarter and videogames. It’ll never work, right? Clearly, it’s total madness. 

Chris Taylor: The business has gone through so many changes. For a lot of people, those changes aren’t good, but I actually see it differently. I think a lot of these changes have been quite positive. But they’re painful. The changes that I find just wonderful are the fact that with Kickstarter, and with going directly to the customers or the fans, this is cutting out all the red tape and noise and allowing us to communicate directly with the folks who are playing the games. It doesn’t get much better than that when you’re trying to run a business and you’re trying to make people happy with the things that you’re making.

When I started out, 25 years ago, there was one guy, and then we had some other support people. We worked on a game for a year or two. Then we shipped it to market. You don’t really even talk to your customers that way. You don’t even get feedback from them. Then you start working on another game, literally the Monday that you come in to the office after you take your two-week holiday or whatever because you’re so burnt out. We would go work on another game. A patch, even, wasn’t common in those early days, because you had no way to get the patch to them. This is like the genesis of gaming, right? Nowadays, when you look at the changes that have happened, it’s fantastic. We’ve got this new title. It’s forged in this new model, all the way.

RPS: OK then, what exactly is Wildman? Is Bear Grylls involved?

Chris Taylor: So what happens is, you have what I call an overland adventure. You start up with your hero, and your hero is a wild man. A homo sapiens. He comes out of his tent and he grabs a bone, like a femur from a dinosaur, because he’s emerging out of the dark 200,000 years ago. You’re actually on a kind of empire-building, civilization-building quest. The first thing you do is you pound a lot of the skulls of the inhabitants of the region, which are primitive. You establish these strongholds. This is a structure that’s kind of like your base. If you die, you respawn there. So imagine a town that kind of moves out.

What you then do is you have technology. When you pound these skulls, they might have something that makes you think, “Oh, that’s really cool.” One of them might have a club that they’ve fashioned, where they strapped a rock to the end of it. It’s a lot more brutal than your bone. Then what you do is you have the ability, now, to construct some little shacks. The first one might be a melee shack. That might be the only thing you know how to do. That might be the only technology you have. Then out spawns these… Think of them as a creep spawner, but what it is is it’s like a barracks in an RTS game. Your guys start to move forward under their own direction, so to speak. They’re automatic. You’ve got what I’m calling a war zone, where the enemy on the other side is doing the same thing. The units all meet in the middle.

But the thing is, you can min/max. You can decide that you want to build multiple barracks and be fighting a melee-based war. They might have archers, so you get into a rock-paper-scissors kind of RTS gameplay here. You may defeat that enemy and go, “You know what? I’ve discovered archery now.” So in the next war zone you fight in, you would maybe decide that you’re going to mix it up and have some of your guys go melee and some be archers. Or you could really turn the tables and go all archery. I used to play like this in Age of Empires, the second game, where I’d build the English and just go for the longbowmen. They’d be decimating, right?

RPS: So what makes this an RTS/RPG and not a MOBA/RPG? Is there some Demigod influence here?

Chris Taylor: You get into this whole RTS gameplay for what I call the war zone. You might be thinking of a MOBA-style game, and there’s a lot of stuff that we love about MOBA. But what we want to do is have more of an RTS experience there, bring more of the RTS in with the ability for your hero character – your Wildman, who is evolving tech-wise.  He takes these characters, and depending on his leadership skill, he can rally and lead a few of them and do things like end runs or go to different places on the battlefield. He can find weaknesses in the other side’s defenses.

Once you defeat them, you’re taking their technology. There might be some choices. They might have something crazy, like soap. If you get the soap technology, your health for all your units will increase 30 percent. It’s kind of a fun thing. We’re bringing a historical element to it, so it’s not just pure fantasy, the trappings of a typical fantasy game. I like having this basis in reality. However, we’ve got a really interesting fantasy element to it.

We say, “What if men, when they evolved into the homo sapiens form… What if other creatures also evolved, and other creatures had sentient minds?” You could fight, say, a giant fly creature, or a lizard creature, or wild animals. What if there were thinking cats and things like that? Insects that are just creepy, that grew and were vying to take over the planet. Men had a clear shot, because we were so clearly superior over all the other animals, or at least that’s what we’re led to believe [laughs]. Who knows what really happened 200,000 years ago, when we were smashing skulls?

It’s definitely a combat-oriented game, but discovery is important. When you’re going through the overland adventure part of the game, you might find a cave, or an old crypt or some entrance to something, and you don’t know what’s down there. The question, ultimately, is, “Should I go down there and find some stuff and bring it back? When I fight the next war, I’ll have better technology because I’ve gone exploring. I’ve done some due diligence. I’ve done my homework.” Then you find a chest and pop it open and there’s something cool in there. Now you’re thinking, “Yeah, when I go back, I’m gonna arm all of my soldiers with this new technology that I’ve discovered. That can make the next battle that much better for me.” I use this model of the expanding Roman empire. When they would take over or defeat a civilization, arguably a lesser civilization, they’d pick through the spoils and go, “This is really cool! I really like this. They have something going on here. We’ll take that.”

RPS: In the midst of all of this, what will the player actually be doing when it comes time for battle? Is it a pretty traditional hack ‘n’ slash action-RPG setup, ala Dungeon Siege?

Chris Taylor: What you’re doing is you’re commanding your central hero, with the ability to command some other units as your hero grows in power. Those other units will fight automatically. It’s hack-and-slash in the sense that, if you compared it against a classic RPG, turn-based game, it’s more like a Diablo, more like a Dungeon Siege in that regard. You have some powers. You have some big attacks that you save up, with cooldowns on them and things like that. There’s a lot of action.

RPS: In terms of the way that the single-player progresses, will there be a concrete story to it, or will we make our own story by expanding out and conquering and discovering other civilizations?

Chris Taylor: It’s really interesting. As vague as the relationship is, there’s a bit of a dotted line between Wildman and Civilization. The story is the story of man, the development of mankind, but there’s still an opportunity for some more local storytelling between characters – instead of the epic, overarching storyline.

But this is something that our backers can speak to. They can say, “We think that absolutely needs to have a bigger context,” or, “We think that sucks.” Generally, you know, if you look at a development budget, it’s a pie made of money and you have to cut the pie up into pieces. It’s guesswork when you decide how to cut the pie up. We now have the opportunity to say to folks, “Hey, if you think a lot of dialogue is important, you should know it’s going to eat up a lot of the pie. Then you’re going to have less of this character or less unique combat animations or there’s going to be fewer sound effects.”

These are a lot of the dilemmas that developers face, and it’s kind of fun to finally expose all of those internal decision-making processes to the backers and say, “Now you guys get to get involved.” They really get an education in game-making. The goal is not to hide this stuff. The goal is to expose it.

RPS: Yeah, absolutely. But I think that also puts you in a trickier spot with the Kickstarter itself. There have been a few fairly high-profile examples now of people who’ve taken some pretty interesting ideas to Kickstarter, but they just don’t have enough to show of it. How much are you bringing to the Kickstarter itself? Are you going to have videos? Will you have a gameplay demo eventually? What are you doing to show people that they should fund this new idea?

Chris Taylor: We actually have the game up and running as a prototype. We’ve got an art style. In the video we’ll show off elements of the character’s creation. We don’t know how deep we should go. There’s precedent, with, for example, Star Citizen, where Chris Roberts has shown a fairly substantial amount of the in-game footage. His game is still years from shipping. We saw that as a really important precedent, to say, “Look, you can show folks a lot of what’s going on.”

Now, we’re not that far along, so we can’t do that exactly. But we can show our engine technology. We can show the characters. We can show animation systems. All of those systems are quite far along compared to a team that was to begin from scratch.

RPS: How far along are you? How long have you been working on Wildman?

Chris Taylor: Conceptually, of course, I started last year, the middle of last year. By the late summer, we started to get more serious about it. For a team of folks that are fully engaged, it’s been a couple of months. That was a very serious decision on our part, because once we throw the switch and take it off the whiteboard and it take it out of the Word doc and the sketches and so forth and get the whole team working on it, it’s a big decision. The terminology I use here at GPG is that we’re “all in.” Like a poker game. When you think you have a hand that’s going to win, you push all your chips in. At this point, GPG as a company is all in on Wildman.

RPS: What kind of goal are you aiming for, as far as how much you need to get funded?

Chris Taylor: We think $1.1 million. The idea, though, is that we believe that we’re going to have to put a lot of sweat equity into this. For a lot of us, our salaries will not stay at full salaries. Some of us, like myself, could conceivably go to zero. We don’t know. What we have to do is we have to wait and see. There’s also a facility for folks to come in and make contributions after the campaign closes.

We don’t know what that looks like because we have no experience. But that will also change the way the game is developed. It has the potential to add more features and depth to the game. The team size is variable, depending on the amount of money raised. It’s like an algebra problem where some of the terms of the formula are missing. You don’t actually have all the data, so you can’t make all the final decisions. We can’t finalize the team size. We can’t finalize the exact completion date. You have to take a lot of flyers [laughs] to make this project work. There’s some stress that comes out of that, to be really honest with you, but we don’t feel, in our gut, like any of these things are insurmountable challenges. They tend to work themselves out if you’re just committed to the game.

RPS: You’re coming into this from Age of Empires Online, so is Wildman going to have any sort of free-to-play component? I suppose that would be another way you could keep it evolving while maintaining a dialogue with your audience.

Chris Taylor: That’s a really good question. We’re big believers in free-to-play. There’s been this evolution in the way that games are designed to support the free-to-play model. It really gives the customer tremendous value, although going back through the last year in free-to-play, it kind of got a bad name. We were like, “Well, it’s your choice as a customer. If you think a game is a crappy free-to-play game then don’t play it. If it’s good free-to-play, then play it.”

What we think we’ll do is we’ll start the idea off grounded in the notion that folks on Kickstarter are buying a game. That’s how the Kickstarter model really works. It’d be hard to go up on Kickstarter and plop down money on a free-to-play game. Then you feel like, “Well, if I’m putting down some cash and the game comes out, the guy who pays nothing gets the game anyway, because it’s free-to-play, and then I’m gonna have to pay some more money to buy some cool stuff in the game.” That kind of breaks it. We feel like the traditional model, the non-free-to-play model, works for Kickstarter. There’s a lot of titles that work on that model.

It does not close the door, down the road, if we want to do something more in the franchise. Again, though, you’re working with all the people who have backed the game. When you crowdsource the answer to a question, they generally come back with the right answer. Like the studio audience on a game show. When the audience is yelling, the answer is there, if you can sort out all the noise. If all your folks who are backing the game – the fans, the customers – if they own the decision, you’re on safer ground than if you’re making a decision in a vacuum and saying, “We think this should be free-to-play,” or “This component should have this.” If you make those decisions and you spring them on your customers, you create a lot of liability for yourself.

That’s a thing about this whole process. There’s a lot of honesty and integrity and transparency. Every word that I’ve ever heard that describes the relationship between Kickstarter backers and the developers have all been words that have a positive connotation to them. In my 25 years in this business, I’ve never heard so many positive words used to describe a relationship between the people taking the money and the people spending the money [laughs]. That is a very, very deep and powerful thought. There’s generally a lot of contempt between the money holder and the folks that are spending it.

RPS: With Wildman, the single-player, will it be completely offline? Will people just be able to boot it up and go straight to it?

Chris Taylor: That is a great question. We believe so. There might be some element of authentication, but I’m not a fan of that. The only thing is that for any persistent elements to register, you need to be logged in to the server. We do aim to be persistent. We want a character that you can play and grow. So that’s server-based. I always hear that question in terms of DRM. I’m not a fan of DRM. The server component is all going to be a function of the persistence. Like if you find an item. We want you to be able to play with that same charater in a PvE game, and so we need to be able to authenticate that item on the server. It’s more of a function of maintaining the game’s integrity. It’s like a game spoiler if you can hack the game.

RPS: That’s one of the big things that Blizzard mentioned whenever they announced the always-online stuff. If they had them separate, then you couldn’t bring a single-player character online, because they could very well be completely hacked and it could ruin everything. With Wildman, is that going to be an optional thing? For instance, could someone have a purely single-player character and just not be able to take them online because of that concern?

Chris Taylor: Yeah, I think so. We haven’t finalized it. What this does is it ties back into the modding. We want this game to be very moddable. In fact, the Project Mercury [operating system that indirectly birthed Wildman], the idea is that we use that technology to allow folks to mod the game.

The problem is the tools. It’s about developing these tools. Then you have to test the tools. You gotta document the tools. It’s a whole product. It’s like trying to make Photoshop or something, making an editing suite that you’re going to ship. Well, you’ve already got this game that you spent all the money on. That’s your product. Then you have another product called your mod tools. What happens is, when you put these mod tools out there, if you sort of roll them over the wall and they don’t work properly, that doesn’t serve anybody’s purpose. You know what it’s like when you try to work with a tool. If you’re like me, you’ve done it on a bunch of things and given up because you’re like, “Oh my God, I have to go online and read this giant thing on how to hook it all up. I don’t have time for this.” So modding ties into this whole thing.

To make the point, Project Mercury, which gives folks a total… It’s a web-based tool, but I have to show it to you to show you how powerful it is. It gives you the ability to access all the content on the server and be able to edit and create your maps and lay out your content – where your enemies are, where all the stuff is on the map. Then you log in to the game, and of course you’re on an account that’s tied to that, so it sucks it right down off the server. The thing is, though, you could have placed like a zillion chests with the ultimate weapons in all those chests. So you’ve already broken the game’s economics, because you created these silly maps. In that case, it doesn’t matter if you play it offline, because you’ve more or less broken the economy of the game through a mod.

I think it really comes down to what the ultimate decisions are on whether we want people to differentiate between mods that are just for fun. Like when you play offline mode in Minecraft, for example, right? You can go into creator mode and give yourself anything. But you can also do that on a server as well, which is really cool. We also do that. We have a server here at GPG and I play with my kids and we have a blast. Sometimes I’ll yank away their admin rights [laughs] and make them suffer for a while.

The point is that that’s a question we can ask the folks that back the game. We don’t want to make decisions in a vacuum anymore. We’re at the point where we think, “Hey, let’s just open up all this stuff to our fans and to our players.”

RPS: As a final question [for part one] – and possibly the most important – if Wildman ever gets turned into a movie, will it star Jason Statham?

Chris Taylor: [laughs] Well, I think we can ask if Uwe Boll’s gonna direct it.

I think I like your question. I think that Wildman is a bigger guy. He’s got bigger biceps. If Arnold Schwarzenegger was 30 years younger, I think he could play him. I think you were joking, and I appreciate that, but I’m still going to answer you seriously [laughter]. Wildman is a big boy. He’s more like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. That would be a better choice.

RPS: He’d be good, yeah. I’d watch that.

Check back tomorrow for part two, in which we discuss the fate of mega-RTS Kings and Castles and whether or not it’ll ever see the light of day, Taylor’s bonkers “Project Mercury” operating system that sparked all this Wildman craziness, Planetary Annihilation, the “old” Chris Taylor vs the current one, and more.

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52 Comments »

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  1. Iskariot says:

    I don’t care about this at all.
    All I am interested in is a true epic large scale successor to Supreme Commander Forged Alliance.
    That is the only thing I would want to pledge a lot of dough for.
    SupCom FA is the only RTS I play because there is nothing that comes close to the epicness of that experience.
    What a waste. They should sell the SupCom franchise to someone who really cares.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      And I don’t care about Supreme Commander and am interested in this for Dungeon Siege style stuff.

      Everything is subjective bro.

      • Bhazor says:

        It sounds nothing like Dungeon Siege.

        • marshabilly5 says:

          upto I looked at the check that said $5773, I didn’t believe that my neighbour really erning money in there spare time from there labtop.. there friends cousin had bean doing this for only about 13 months and resantly paid the loans on their place and bourt a new Audi Quattro. I went here..Job Creation

      • Iskariot says:

        Of course everything is subjective. I express my own opinion, not yours. What else do you expect? I was not giving the opinion of the universe. I was only giving mine.

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      Cinek says:

      Planetary Annihilation. Already founded on kickstarter, seems like it’ll be awesome, grand-scale RTS.

  2. JackDandy says:

    I’ve checked the KS out, but I can’t say I find it interesting at all. I didn’t really understand what type of game it’s gonna be, either.
    And asking for over a million clams.. Damn.

    I heard he bet his entire company’s future on this. I don’t think it’ll work out for him, but hey, good luck.

    • Oranje says:

      I know, seems kind of crazy right? I hope it doesn’t send him back to the stone age.

    • serioussgtstu says:

      It is a fairly Mammoth price tag.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Resisting the temptation offrered by previous answer to turn this into a pun thread :P .

      So far what I understand the game to be is a MOBA, but not always on the same damn map, where you get to customize the minions that spawn at base. So, a bit like those linear tug-of-war game like Swords and Soldiers HD where you must watch what the enemy is spawning and react with counters, but with several lanes to manage I guess. And you also get to fight enemy minions and heros in person just like in a MOBA.
      Then on top of that you have the item-gathering action-rpg metagame.

      I guess the success of this game will all come down to how interesting they make the MOBA-style combat. If it’s too similar to DOTA or too simplistic (tug of wars can be fun but usually not for long, they need to put a twist on it). The idea of having minions that you customize but not micromanage, leaving you time to focus on your hero is enticing.

      I love Chris Taylor’s antics, but he does need to explain the gameplay he has in mind better.

      • Droniac says:

        If I understand things correctly, the warzone element is more like a scaled-up and fleshed-out version of Demigod’s strategic game mechanics. If you haven’t played that game, basically it’s the upgrading of the automatically spawning units, both in terms of statistics and equipment, but also in terms of which units actually spawn and the volume of units, and even improving the buildings on the map. Add to that a heavy layer of action RPG and a more persistent map-to-map setup and it sounds a lot like this warzone business.

        Alternatively you might say it’s Majesty, but as opposed to playing an invisible incentivizing king, you’re an in-your-face bone/club/bow-wielding Wildman.

        That’s a good thing, I can definitely see this working and being a very fun game to play. It helps that GPG has made something somewhat similar (in basic concept) before, which makes them probably the best bet to actually pull this off. And fortunately the multiplayer connectivity won’t be handled by Stardock this time around.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Yet, you cared to comment on both articles about this game, to voice the fact that you don’t care, or that this is not interesting.

  3. StingingVelvet says:

    I need a clearer definition on the offline mode before I even begin to think about funding.

  4. Lucas Says says:

    Count me in the questionable group. I’ve watched the Kickstarter video, I’ve read this interview, and I don’t know whether its Kickstarter fatigue (doubtful) or that I can’t quite get my head around how this is going to be a fun video game, but I’ve just no interest in it.

    Like, it’s Dungeon Siege at the same time as Supreme Commander? Isn’t that a.) a variation on a MOBA and b.) kind of antithetical to both games? SupCom was a game of massive scope; Dungeon Siege was a game of small-scale murderin’. How do you have both?

  5. Dariune says:

    I dont like the look of this one (Not that I tend to donate often anyway).

    The game itself, from what I understood of it, doesn’t appeal to me. Hack & Slashes aren’t my bag. The RPG/RTS elements also seem like they will have very little depth, from the very limited information available.

    Lastly, he didn’t come across that well. Not badly perhaps, but certainly not well in my opinion. His love of free to play goes against my dislike of it and when asked if it will just be another hack & slash he beats around the question for a moment and then just says yeh it kinda will.

    Afraid this one isn’t for me.

  6. Jae Armstrong says:

    I’ve been waiting for a successor to Populous 3 ever since it came out. This probably isn’t it.

    Sacrifice too, but that seems even less likely.

    I dunno. I want to know more about the RTS side of this before I get on board. That wireframe image of the combat scene was exactly the wrong image to sell this to me, and I adore brawlers.

  7. mooken says:

    The gameplay description makes sense.
    Civilizations scope & tech progression w/ DemiGod combat mechanics.
    Less battle-centric than the current slew of MOBA, or at least less hands-on battles.

    Maybe call it DemiGod with an enormous world map.

  8. mwoody says:

    Did anyone actually enjoy the Dungeon Siege series, and think they were good games? I only played the two I played as long as I did in open-mouthed astonishment at how poorly designed they were. The only Gas Powered Games game that I at all enjoyed, even a little, was Demigod, and mostly I give that one credit because I feel bad for it: server issues out of their control tanked it.

    • Moonshine Fox says:

      Yeah, server issues killed Demigod before it had a chance to take off and get its issues patched out. Otherwise it was probably the only MOBA style game I ever liked.

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        Cinek says:

        Yep, I also enjoyed it. Although I jumped into the title long after original release. Still though – found it amazingly fun for a MOBA-style game.

  9. malkav11 says:

    There are things he describes that sound kinda cool, but my core issue is that Gas Powered Games and I come from very different places on the “what is fun” spectrum. I have tried several of their games and enjoyed none. I kinda saw a spark of potential in the little I played of Dungeon Siege II, and I kinda sorta like Age of Empires Online (though that was at least as much Ensemble at work as GPG) from the very little I’ve played, but certainly neither grabbed me. I adore Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony and Dungeon Siege III, but neither of those games were made by GPG, so. Whoops.

    I’m not ruling out liking Wildman, but no way would I put money down on it at this stage.

  10. WoundedBum says:

    How I wish this was a traditional RTS which you could then take control of your hero and fight in. Someone please make this game, a couple have done it, but not too well!

  11. Bhazor says:

    “Gas Powered Games…Ancient RTS/RPG”? Ooooh!!!
    “/MOBA”? Fuck.

    This whole MOBA thing is turning into the Facebook gold rush all over again. Just like we lost Reynolds to Zynga we’re losing a bunch of developers trying to jump on the bandwagon. And GPG of all people… have they already forgotten they tried this shit with Demigod? It didn’t end well.

    Can’t we just have the High Fantasy Supreme Commander he mentioned like three years ago? Just say HD Warrior Kings and I’ll pledge $50 right now.

    • affront says:

      This. MOBA is the World War 2 shooter, zombie game and WoW clone MMO of 2010 onwards. Who’s supposed to play all of them? Especially since playing one with friends is a shit-ton more fun than playing it alone, and chances are that by now anyone’s friends are already deeply entrenched in their version of choice. That’s a damn big hurdle.

      To be honest: any mention of MOBA is an immediate turn off for me, these days. Especially since the genre lives and dies based on the quality of its multiplayer – where this sounds like a balancing nightmare, even if it’s 1v1 (which would alienate the casual players due to 1v1 competitive pressure).
      Plus building and sustaining an adequate playerbase on a purely buy to play model in the vicinity-of-anything-MOBA genre sounds downright impossible.
      I’d also be surprised if they manage to create mechanics that are fun in singleplayer (no MOBA really has been, so far, for a decent amount of time at least) and simultaneously stand up in multiplayer. Good luck, anyway.

      Well, let’s hope Planetary Annihilation doesn’t end up sucking, at least.

    • lordcooper says:

      Warrior Kings was utterly brilliant. I wonder if it’ll run on Windows 7…

    • LintMan says:

      I agree about MOBAs being the new gold rush, following the MMO gold rush and the Facebook gold rush. Though I guess Facebook games and MOBAs are actually all part of a larger F2P gold rush.

      I disagree, though about Demigod. I think it’s actually a very good game, which unfortunately got sunk by its poor netcode problems at launch. It has offline single player and a generous LAN spawning policy – I still play it for LAN battles sometimes. And best of all, it’s not F2P.

  12. Desmolas says:

    I actually really liked the Spellforce series. If this game can do that but just a little more polished ill be really quite interested. As it stands, im on the fence. I’ll do what i do with every Kickstarter and wait until the last week to guage every body else’s feelings on it. (Call it crowdsourcing an opinion) That way, they will hopefully have put all their cards on the table and ill get a real feeling of what the game is going to be.

    Id really love it if Chris had said “Remember that awesome looking Kings and Castles we were developing about 3 years ago? Well, we need a little bit of cash to finish it. Are you interested?” Id have said “Fuck yeah Chris Taylor heres £30 bash on!”

    As far as i see it, Kickstarter is a Catch 22 situation. The developer needs money to fund and develop the game and the customer needs to see a game to determine if they want to fund it.

    • Bhazor says:

      Funnily enough that game would be way more likely to be funded than this. A new epic RTS from the maker of Total Anihaltion and Supreme Commander? 3 million easy. Heck a fan game/spiritual successor made 2.25million on there.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      As CT said in the other Wildman interviews: he would have needed 6 million dollars at a minimum to get KaC off the ground. They’ll never make that, not with so many bitter so-called SupCom veterans working against the company.

      • Iskariot says:

        Many supcom veterans, including me, were very open minded about and interested in KaC.
        What we resented is what had become of the successor to the brilliant and epic Supreme Commander Forged Alliance. I personally deplore it that a truly unique RTS of epic scale and depth had been butchered into a rather mediocre, medium scale, superficial RTS.

        Everything that Taylor himself always praised as truly unique and epic about Supcom was stripped away in SupCom 2. It was/is incomprehensible to me. A unique RTS IP has been destroyed because nobody else is likely to make something like SupCom. To me that is a terrible loss.

        • SwiftRanger says:

          There were still Forged Alliance vets that could value the improvements in SupCom 2, you just have to place FA of that ridiculous “best-in-everything”-pedestal because it did have its annoyances as well. I would sacrifice a few limbs to get the perfect combo of SupCom: FA and SupCom 2. KaC was going to be that (albeit in another setting). Some stuff got lost in SupCom 2 yeah but that’s how it goes if you need to make a multiplatform game for a publisher that doesn’t have much experience with strategy games.

          GPG grabbed the chance to rectify some of that with decent patches (and a very good DLC package). They couldn’t do more given the fact the game didn’t make much of a splash saleswise. GPG was at fault (the campaign really didn’t do it for me) but also had to thank the bitter parts of the FA community for that, they didn’t give the game a fair chance imo. In skirmish FA is some of the best RTS fun ever but so is SupCom 2. You just need to get out of that cramped mindset.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Foosnark says:

    My favorite thing about this was the music. Nice taiko stuff. Jeremy Soule always does a great job on game soundtracks.

    Otherwise, I’m kind of wait-and-see about this one.

  14. derella says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t imagine this getting funded.

  15. Davie says:

    Damn it, what ever happened to Kings and Castles? I was so stoked for that in 2010; Taylor billed it as a fantasy RTS with a proper sense of scale about it. That’s what I want to see out of this clearly imaginative guy. Hell, even a singleplayer game set in the Demigod universe would be awesome.

    I feel like MOBAs are becoming the new MMO–pay-to-win, short development cycles, attempting but ever failing to topple the giants (in this case League of Legends and DOTA 2). Seems like a massive waste of GPG’s talent.

  16. Crosmando says:

    What a joke. Yes because we’re all so starved for multiplayer-centric Action RPG’s that we need to pledge to Kickstarters to get them :/

    Misses the point of Kickstarter entirely, which is to fund games that wouldn’t normally be able to get funding via a publisher. Given GPG previous experience, there’s no reason a game like this wouldn’t get publisher funding, which is why I’m going to say that this is more a case of “Give us free money!”.

    • Premium User Badge

      xao says:

      There are multiple paragraphs on this very page explaining why Gas Powered Games went the Kickstarter route…

  17. Moonshine Fox says:

    If the name “Chris Taylor” doesn’t trigger a primal instinct to run in fear away from whatever project this man touches, something is wrong with you. He has a history of thinking big, then screwing up whatever his team is doing that is absolutely awesome with his own jackshot ideas (see Supreme Commander 2), and when it crashes and burns, they drop support and move on to new pastures (see Demigod).

    Do not touch anything this man has even been close to. He takes credit for Total Annihilation, but he was barely involved. The TRUE people behind TA are currently making Planetary Annihilation. That’s where you should look.

    • Eschwen says:

      Wha?

      One member of the programming staff (who was working on an entirely different game when TA shipped, by the way) and one member of the movie/background art staff constitute the ‘true’ people behind TA?

      Think what you want about Chris Taylor, but he WAS Total Annihilation. He came up with the concept, design, and programmed the first prototypes. Much of the code in the shipping product was written by his hand. Don’t try to play revisionist on things you know nothing about.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      Demigod was relatively well supported, the netcode just blew up in GPG’s and Stardock’s faces at launch due to the lack of an open beta. You even got two free Demigods after a while. Stardock made the mistake of not going all-out with that game and making it free-to-play. They missed stepping on the LoL/HoN-train with that one.

      SupCom 2 went a bit too far with some design decisions (which decreased the scope) but it made a lot of improvements to the sluggish UI/tech tree of SupCom: FA. It got the better experimentals as well and still offers a great skirmish experience (faster than FA but every bit as spectacular). It wasn’t as expansive as the original game but that has more to do with Square-Enix being the owner of the license now.

      GPG already had to sell every major IP they had by then. They now have nothing except for new stuff they create.

      As for claiming CT had nothing to do with TA: not even Uber Entertainment would dare to claim that, John Mavor was even worried about how CT would feel when the PA kickstarter got out because TA still is the baby of Chris.

  18. Nickel says:

    A moba action-rpg? Really? Bleh…
    And Chis Taylor / GPG haven’t released a game I enjoyed since SupCom in 2007 – plus SupCom2 was kind of a massive kick in the teeth. So while it’s nice to see larger scale projects on Kickstarter that don’t rely on the nostalgia-card and promises to revive supposedly dead genre xyz… I’ll definitely pass on this one.

  19. Yosharian says:

    STILL WAITING FOR A GOOD SEQUEL TO TOTAL ANNIHILATION CHRIS

    I’ll keep an eye on this one but I don’t think I’m going to fund it, I find the concept too vague.

    Also I remember being burnt by fucking Spore last time someone tried to combine different genres. God that fucking game was horrible.

    • Teovald says:

      err ? Supreme Commander (not sc2) was in my opinion a very good sequel to Total Annihilation.
      What are you reproaching to this game ?

  20. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Persistence? Since when has persistence anything to do with authentication and always online options?

    Ugh.

  21. Grobmotoriker says:

    “Hey, if you think a lot of dialogue is important, you should know it’s going to eat up a lot of the pie…”
    I wonder how they want to implement even one sentence of dialogue in that game.
    Main Character: “GRML, Ock Ock uaag.”
    NPC: “Ugaah, Ugaah! Owoguladudu?”
    Would be interesting to see how eloquent prehistoric people were in GPGs minds.

  22. Bats says:

    I don’t get what makes this not a MOBA. This sounds exactly like a MOBA except you can ‘rally’ guys to you if you are strong enough. I was excited about this until I started reading about that, and well, he did a poor job of showing how it isn’t anything more than a glorified MOBA style game, which I detest with a passion. We’ll see, but he’s already lost my backing and this hasn’t even begun. Unfortunate.

  23. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    ‘colossal bonking club aloft’ OO-ER

  24. spelvin spugg says:

    This could be either an astoundingly great game or a titanic fuckup.

    We know it’ll have an AAA engine, finely-tuned gameplay etc from one of the masters of the art.

    What might make the difference between something that will last and something that will tarnish within a month is procedural map content.

    Chris, I know you’re out there reading this.

    Exploring new maps is a huge part of action RPG games and roguelikes. In fact you could say that it’s one of the most important parts. In multiplayer RTS games by Ensemble like Age of Kings, one of the main factors that gave the games legs was a random map generator– you not only needed to contend with your enemy, you needed to do so with the resources that were given to you, and set up your base layout and defenses according to terrain that you’d never played on before.

    For me, the lack of this feature was one of the factors that killed Dungeonsiege and DS2. I played for a very short period of time, but once you become familiar with the maps there is no reason to retread them. The other thing that killed them was linearity, something that seems to become less of an issue with procedural maps– there is enough good real estate that you don’t need to railroad the player through a convoluted hallway where every inch has been worked over by a team of artists.

    Player-generated content is great and was one of the few things that saved Spore from complete and utter suckitude, dragging it up to the level of mediocrity. But again, that was a procedurally generated universe, into which player-generated content was slotted. The system was one of the few aspects of the game that worked well.

    Perhaps player-created modules (I don’t know, dungeons or hills with megaliths on them or something) could slot into a world produced by the game.

    There are lots of ways of doing procedural content, from cellular automata to dungeon generation techniques of various sorts to “geomorphs” composed of designer-generated (and perhaps player-generated) content fitting together as hexes or otherwise.

    Chris, perhaps you’ll recall a letter I wrote you about procedurally generated maps in Dungeonsiege back in 2000. You responded and we exchanged a couple of emails on the subject. I am very sure you’ve investigated these subjects but I implore you to do so again. Canned content is game-killing for me and makes it difficult for me to enjoy the game even on the first playthrough because of the knowledge that there’s no point investing time into it.

    Consider Minecraft, which is a game so childish that it borders on asinine. One of the primary saving graces of that game, which has made its creator some obscene number of dollars, was the gigantic procedural world.

    Still playing Forged Alliance. With TA and SC, the variety of starting locations went some distance toward allowing repeated gameplay on static maps. I think that’s very difficult on action RPGs. Think I’ll have another round of it right now.

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