World Of Thanks: Wargaming Buys Gas Powered Games

By Alec Meer on February 14th, 2013 at 2:13 pm.

'Thargaming'

The strange, sad story of Chris Taylor’s Gas Powered Games in 2013 has taken another unexpected twist – and now we know what the hinted-at future for the deeply troubled Supreme Commander developer is. Increasingly omnipresent Belarus developer/publisher Wargaming.net, best know for the remarkably successful World of Tanks, has stepped in to buy up what’s left of the Dungeon Siege studio.

“Gas Powered Games’ heritage and development pedigree shows us just how valuable an addition Chris and his company will make to the Wargaming family,” said Wargaming head Victor Kislyi in a statement. “Gas Powered Games has a long track record of providing incredibly engaging AAA gaming experiences and we can’t wait to start working with them.”

So far, we don’t know owt else – how much GPG cost, whether any of its exitening franchises will be resurrected, whether Wildman really is as dead as dead gets, and whether the studio can rehire any of the staff it laid off earlier this year. We do know Wargaming is taking “full ownership” of the firm, and that this includes Chris Taylor himself. His own comment on the matter was:

“Wargaming growth in recent years has been tremendous, and we’re looking forward to joining one of the fastest growing gaming companies in the world. I’m sure our experience and expertise will help us contribute even more to Wargaming’s global success.”

Hopefully it’s good news. There are all sorts of fingers that can be pointed in regard to what went on at GPG lately, but if this is a road to giving people their jobs back – and hopefully making some splendid games too – it’s something to be glad of.

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  1. zachforrest says:

    he looks rather like Ed Balls

  2. Aardvarkk says:

    Oliver me a good twist in a story.. I hope the best for them.

  3. Hoaxfish says:

    World of Gas-powered Tanks?

  4. Wurstwaffel says:

    That’s nice for Taylor and the guys. He seems like a nice bloke. However, I couldn’t give two shits about Wildman and it’s whole ARPG+DOTA+unit control – base building formula. Why can’t they just make something like Warcraft 4?You know, a straight up RTS with heroes. I’da backed that in a heartbeat.

    • misterT0AST says:

      A thousand times YES to this.

    • Hunchback says:

      How about just a normal RTS, you know, like in the good old days when RTS still existed? With building bases, researching upgrades, gathering resources, different races with different units, and little soldiers of various forms killing eachother… and no heroes?

      Now that THQ is dead, one of the most promising games ever, CoH, is probably never gonna make it… What happened with all the RTS? (No, it’s not DOTA/MOBAs, it’s not SC2 being so good that there’s no place for a contender… it’s something else, dunno what) :(

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        Thurgret says:

        I think that Sega picked up Relic and plans to continue with CoH 2.

      • Wurstwaffel says:

        It’s because RTS are hardcore and DOTA is casual. Simple as that. DOTA players never want to hear that stuff but it’s true. DOTA games are just Warcraft 3 with heroes only, which makes for a low skill ceiling and a smooth learning curve. Additionaly they’re team based games, so when you’re losing you can always blame the others while still feeling like a pro yourself.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          I couldn’t agree more. When I worked as a map developer for Battle for Wesnoth the DoTA mode of play became extremely popular among the young and/or poor players.

          At the time we had maybe a couple hundred on the server at a time. About 15% of these were the real competent serious players, few of them were interested in DOTA and almost all were 16+. The more casual players say the next 35% were generally younger on average and worse at the game, and they generally dominated the DOTA scene. Then you had the riff-raff of real casuals and itinerant players, and oh did they love the DOTA (or generally any low skill quick mode of play we would develop).

          I remember the same thing from my days a decade ago being a real serious WC3 player. Certainly DoTA can involve a lot of skill and teamwork, but generally they do not, and the number of elements is just really cut down to the bare minimum required to hold your interest.

          To be a complete elitist, someone who tells me their favorite genre is DOTAs might as well be telling me they love FPS above all else. I just gives me grave misgivings about their maturity and taste.

          • El_Emmental says:

            Simply because the enormous majority of recent FPS games have very low skill ceiling and a very slow learning curve doesn’t mean *all* FPS are like that – there’s more than CoD/BF and the bazillion F2P out there.

            Sure, RTS requires non-stop concentration and learning a more complex game mechanism structure, but FPS have their own complexity, not explicitly identified like build-orders or microing tactics:
            – in a RTS you take care of your economy, micro your troops (tactics) and have your own grand strategies
            – in a FPS you take care of your position, movements and actions, while guessing and analyzing the position/movements/actions of your opponents and teammates on the fly. RTS do that too ? Yes, but to a lesser degree: when every step, slight movement or action gives you clues in a FPS, in a RTS you can’t constantly do that (because you’re busy managing other elements and are looking at a bigger structure from afar – also because the other players can not micro as much a FPS player micro his own character constantly).

            You can clearly see that in NS2:
            – the Commander see “a small squad of Aliens, apparently Skulks (maybe a Lerk too) are at the Generator Room, I’ll need to make sure they don’t break through and make sure I have enough healed&repaired units there, to spot/defend/slow down”
            – the soldier see “3 Skulks, including 2 very good players I recognize who are very good at coordinating their movements/actions, and a Gorge for backup in a nearby corridor – are slowly pushing there (but not too fast)(strangely ->), which mean they’re waiting for a bigger unit to make a real push, like a Fade – *or* they’re not sure about our current forces in the area. We need to either make a preventive push to eliminate a Skulk or two, to force them to either assault w/o the Fade or retreat and disperse, or prepare a better defense (more reinforcements, better weapons) from the other side of the room.

            The curse and the blessing of the RTS genre is how it’s pretty much impossible to bastardize/dumb it down without rendering it unfun for the casual gamer.

            But if they could do that (like they did with the FPS genre), you would have RTS games actually being non-games, where you mash an awesome-button until the screen freeze because you triggered too much on-screen congratulations/explosions/achievements/kill-streaks at the same time.

      • NinebreakerN7 says:

        You could potentially have Command and Conquer: Generals 2 to look forward to? I’m keeping a wary eye on it. Hoping for the best, expecting the worst. Especially after the travesty that was Command and Conquer 4.

      • ThTa says:

        It’s because shareholders only care about growth. The mainstream genres are so well represented because their audience kept growing, resulting in the same for budgets and profits and making shareholders and analysts very excited. Meanwhile, some genres (like RTS and Adventure) maintained a stable niche, meaning they don’t experience growth and aren’t interesting to publically traded companies.

        At the same time, RTS like those of yore are still relatively expensive to make, too expensive for most independent devs. So while they’d probably run a decent profit, there just aren’t many ways to fund them.

        And if you don’t believe me about the growth thing, here’s an analyst recommending you don’t buy Activision stock because Black Ops 2 only made $500 million in 24 hours: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/11/29/analyst-black-ops-2-sales-a-cause-for-concern-downgrades-act/
        That’s more than last year (just like how MW3 made more than Black Ops), despite how some journalists interpreted it, it’s just that those figures show that the rate of growth is decreasing.

        • Hunchback says:

          Well, i might be wrong but i remember a certain point in time (of which i can’t cite the exact date) when RTS was quite mainstream. There were a lot of games, in different franchises like WC, C&C, RedAlert, Total Annihilation, Age of Empires, Age of Wonders(was that the one with ancient Greece and Norsk gods and also Egypt and stuff?), accompanied by a healthy bunch of TBS such as HOMM, CIV, and some others i don’t remember the names of.

          I don’t get it why it all changed so much lately. The only “strategic” games of late, worth of notice, are WC3/SC2, TotalWar Shogun2 (not an RTS though), Company of Heroes and the Warhammer games from relic. There was a recent boom in 4X indie games lately, but they are not RTS really, and to be honest most disappointed.
          So weird…

          @Wurstwaffel: I consider myself a DOTA player, as well as en RTS player, and many other genres-player. For having played many things, i can say that MOBAs (such as DOTA) are NOT a reason for RTS to cease to exist. First of all, there aren’t all that many MOBAs, and the only one ran by a major studio is DOTA2 which is brand new, still in beta, and free to play. If MOBAs were a “replacement” to RTS, then the big players would have moved in and released many more… Which they haven’t.
          Also, saying that one is hardcore and the other not is ridiculous. Just because one came out of the other, doesn’t make it any less good or hardcore or whatever. Also, saying that the learning curve is smooth in MOBAs can only mean you have never played any, or you’d know that the learning curve is probably the biggest put-down for most people willing to give a MOBA a try. Seriously, ANY other game you could learn to play easier than this, and you’ll get much less shit from the communities. Your typical experience in any MOBAs first game is failing miserably and getting totally trashed by your team-mates. The you spend 4-5 months learning the basics, while still failing miserably and being trashed by your teammates… So yeah, to keep it short – shut it with the MOBA hate, don’t comment stuff you obviously have no experience in, and no MOBAs are not the reason of RTS to go almost extinct.
          Peace, out.

          • zin33 says:

            well i dont know if theyre hardcore or not but i can tell from a lot of friends that played sc2 and werent very good at it, decided to move on to dota and happily stayed over there. the pressure is certainly a lot less, and sure at first they probably sucked and the community hated them for that but thats just because the matchmaking system is bad and its a very team based game after all
            id say it is a bit more “casual” since its 5 guys against 5 guys instead of normally just you against another guy, and well, you just control 1 unit with a few skills whereas in starcraft…

    • syndicatedragon says:

      More Kohan-like games please.

    • fish99 says:

      No thanks. Adding heroes was the beginning of the end of RTS and the Warcraft (RTS) series. It continued the awful trend (started way back in the first C&C) of RTS levels with just a few units you had to keep alive, rather than letting you build a base, find the enemy and kill them, like most levels in Warcraft 2.

      It’s why so many people play skirmishes in RTS now, they want to build a base and play a game without some silly limitations and fail conditions. Starcraft 2, as fun as it was, had tons of artificial nonsensical fail conditions.

      Single player campaigns in RTS have just been getting worse and worse.

  5. mehteh says:

    SupCom3 and not f2p or made for consoles plz

    • ThTa says:

      Square Enix owns SupCom now (blame it on GPG trying to fund Demigod independently), so there’s no (GPG-made) SupCom 3 in the foreseeable future.

    • LintMan says:

      They still have their Kings and Castles IP and technology, which was promising. I’m hoping maybe they’ll revive that project

    • crizzyeyes says:

      it’s called planetary annihilation.

    • Sc0r says:

      a worthy successor to supcom would be called Zero-K 2 or something like hat

  6. Jamesworkshop says:

    Thank you, Wargaming

    Thwargaming

  7. Moni says:

    Is it just me, or is Chris Taylor a spitting image of Chris Roberts?

  8. Serpok says:

    So, will Taylor and GPG’s staff be learning russian or WG.N’s dev team learning english?

  9. Hunchback says:

    So i guess they’ll be releasing World of Wildmen sometime 2015 then…

    Good news, i guess. If they keep the franchises and develop them, instead of melting everyone and assigning them on the next World of Warplanes/boats/cars/trains/hoovercrafts

    • VFRHawk says:

      I find myself wanting a hoovercraft now! Would Dyson make a rival? :-)

  10. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Chris Taylor on GPG, 4 days ago just before Wildman project being cancelled:

    Oh, I shut the company down,” he fires back, un-hesitant, when I ask him about the worst case scenario. “No question. And I’m emotionally prepared to do that now. […] I’ve been doing this a long time,” he offers wearily, boisterous presence almost shrinking. “I’ve been fighting on the field for 15 years as an independent developer. I don’t want to sell my soul. I’ve turned down all these opportunities to do it, and it wasn’t exactly to the devil, but it wasn’t a golden ticket either. I knew if I sold, I’d probably be shut down in three-to-five years. I didn’t want that. I want Gas Powered Games to go on for decades. So I’ve been fighting and fighting and fighting.”
    (source: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/02/10/chris-taylor-on-the-brink/)

    It’s one more on the many Chris Taylor inconsistencies since this Wildman soap opera started, and quite possibly the number one reason for that failed kickstarter. I wish all the best to him, seriously. But I also wish his boss ends up not revealing the same traits of someone that clearly speaks one thing but is actually thinking something else. All to gather a few more compassionate unsuspecting souls in his race to fund a project.

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      Joshua says:

      Nah, that is his worst case scenario. Worst. Case. Wargaming.net is obviously a whole lot better then worst case.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      If GPG would have been bought by a traditional publisher then yes, they wouldn’t make it far. Acquisitions of long-standing independent developers often don’t work out well. That being said, Wargaming isn’t a traditional publisher: they got loads of money and a lot of patience if you consider where they came from.

      He isn’t independent anymore now but to be honest, who the hell still is? I’d call it a miracle GPG lasted as long as they have while other, bigger and more famous (RTS) developers went down. Also, Chris repeatedly stated that supporting Wildman out of compassion would be a stupid thing to do. People do stupid things though.

  11. Beef says:

    Chin Down. Eyes up.

  12. Tei says:

    Word of Tanks is 2013 counter-strike. A game that millions play ignoring new titles, for longer that may make sense, in part because is easy on old computers.

    • Cvnk says:

      It’s also addictively simple fun. I stopped playing during beta but man was it hard to stop joining just one more match before bed. There was something far more satisfying about blowing up tanks than gunning down bipedal opponents.

    • Beelzebud says:

      I didn’t realize World of Tanks was a F2P game. Is it a reasonable model, or pay2win?

      • Aqarius says:

        Mostly reasonable, though there’s no real way of earning premium currency without paying.
        Other than a few cash only tanks (comparable to normal ones, they just earn more) and garage slots, most stuff is available for in-game credits/time, and below T8 (of the 10 ‘tiers’) manageable for free without too much hassle. Which is fine, since T6 and below are the actually fun ones :)

        • Beelzebud says:

          Thanks for responding. I might have to give it a try this weekend.

        • Beybars says:

          Only reasonable until you hit the higher tier tanks, then you start bleeding in-game currency whenever you loose or even win in some cases.

          Happened to me when I got the Tiger tank, then I just stopped and went to MechWarrior Online, much more forgiving economy.

          But WoT was fun for the long time I played it, just didn’t think it was worth dropping any money in it.

  13. DickSocrates says:

    That’s the face of a serial killer who’s naked from the waste down, dancing around seductively, maintaining strict eye contact with you while you’re chained to the wall in his “Pleasure Dome”.

  14. Lev Astov says:

    I’m really excited for this. GPG really needed someone to take them under their wing and Wargaming.net desperately needed a proper US presence and someone who could slap some sense into them. I firmly believe Chris Taylor is just the man to do that. This is going to be awesome!

  15. Parge says:

    That is great news, but I hope Wildman remains as dead as it was yesterday. If the total failure of the kickstarter proves anything, its that there clearly isn’t an appetite for it.

  16. Jimbo says:

    I’d play a proper Dunjin Seej sequel.

  17. crinkles esq. says:

    This is really puzzling. Is Chris actually into wargaming? Or was this just any port in the night? In a previous interview Chris stated that he’d never sell out just to do so, and he said he would close down GPG if Wildman failed. So why turn around and do exactly what he said he wouldn’t do?

    • Beemann says:

      Nope
      What he ACTUALLY said was that in the “worst case scenario”, he would shut the company down, but he had also alluded to searching for alternate means of funding so long as it wouldn’t compromise the ideals of the company. Essentially, while he wanted to remain independent, he wasn’t going to go the idealist route and sink his company to do so (or at least, that’s the impressoin I got).
      What I’m guessing he didn’t want was to go the Pandemic/Westwood/Bullfrog/etc. route and get bought out by a big publisher only to basically get shut down after all necessary IPs had been milked dry, or pushed into that sort of role that Activision has been fond of lately, where studios with failed titles become Call of Duty factories (or also get shut down, see Radical)
      There’s also the interview where he explained his dislike of the current publishing method, and explained why GPG didn’t actually make all that much money despite the success of SupCom and Dungeon Siege

    • MSJ says:

      Just because they are owned by Wargaming doesn’t mean they are only going to make “wargames”. Unless by “wargames” you mean games like Dungeon Siege and Total Annihilation, both of which had wars in them as I recall.

  18. Beybars says:

    Best outcome I guess, better than letting everyone go.

  19. Suction Testicle Man says:

    Did Chris Taylor tell them he knew where they could find some buried WW2 planes?