Magic Gathers To A Close: Chaos Reborn’s Nearly There

13 days and $65,000 to go – that’s the scores on the doors for X-COM creator Julian Gollop’s Kickstarted Chaos remake (which I previewed here). Not a bad situation for the turn-based wizard battler to be in, given it’s already $115k to the good, but a photo finish looks likely. The game’s also up on Greenlight now, so you know what to do if you’re excited about it.

There’ve been eight updates since the project went live a few weeks back, and it’s heartening to see that they primarily focus on explaining features and concepts. Also one of them has a unicorn with a sword for a horn, so big bonus points for that.

Gollop also had a game against YouTuber Unstable Voltage recorded, so you can take a look at the current, super-mega-ultra-early prototype in action here:

Sadly, those X-COM sound effects will not be remaining. I’m still holding out for a secret option to reinstate ’em, however.

Further gobbets of fascinating infosnack about Julian Gollop’s past and future games can be found in the now-closed AMA from last week, including the heartbreaking reveal that he started work on an X-COM-style, 1930s-sest Lovecraft game after releasing Enemy Unknown, only for it to be shot down by then-publisher Microprose, who were at the time soured on horror games. Oh man, can you imagine?

Fingers crossed Chaos Reborn pans out – perhaps a return to X-Cthulhu could be next if so.

Oh, and t-shirts have now been added to various Chaos Reborn pledge tiers. Inevitably, they are black.


  1. JR says:

    I’m really hoping this just makes it in. Has there been a recent souring of Kickstarter Games? I feel like Chaos should have been past funded by now…

    • slerbal says:

      I don’t think it is Kickstarter fatigue, rather I think it is an issue (at least it is for me) that the game seems skewed very heavily towards the upper pledge tiers with exclusive abilities that really put me off despite my initial enthusiasm and backing.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      I’ve read the earlier articles on it with interest, but had somehow missed that this was an ongoing Kickstarter thing. I should pay attention more. (Heads over to KS to contemplate pledging…)

  2. Themadcow says:

    I guess the issue is that very few people remember the original Chaos so the nostaglia £££ is limited to a hardcore group of hardcore oldies. Factor in that it was a Spectrum only game (so even less awareness outside the UK) and it’s no suprise that the initial $60k or so came in the first couple of days and then it’s dried up a bit.

    Although the campaigns differed massively in terms of presentation, you could argue the same for Elite vs. Star Citizen’s funding. One was a game, that while very well respected, had most of it’s player base on home computers in the 80’s while the other one was based on a big budget game in the 90’s that is well remembered by people who only came into gaming in the 90’s, x-platform and more US-centric.

    All I’d say in support of Chaos is that I must have played it well over 1000 times since it came out in 1985 – with my mates at the time, with my mates at Uni, on my own and more recently with my wife and it never gets tired. I can only hope the remake is nearly as good.

    • Zunt says:

      I pledged. The game looks quite interesting and the rewards are nice, but my main motivation was to pay for all the enjoyment I got from the original Chaos.

      And don’t underestimate the numbers of hardcore oldies. The Spectrum and its clones were popular in Europe and Russia too.

    • e2me2t says:

      I had this on the Atari ST the sampled sounds made the game hillarious : Tis but a scratch! Running Away!
      Hopefully this will make it as I had fond memories of this – I may setup my atari and have a bit of a nostalgia session ;)
      Did wonder why he wasn’t attacking with his wood.
      Happily available for any Alpha/Beta testing!!!!!

  3. Choca says:

    I like the design, that unicorn is kinda interesting.

  4. Anthile says:

    Why don’t you bring back Kickstarter Katchup?

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      I’m partially teasing when I say this, but I think for a lot of these articles its because the writer had a major squee when they saw a particular game, then had a major ‘noooooo’ when they saw how low its pledges were, so then they write an article like this to make sure they get to play it, by prising open the ever kickstarter-giving wallets of the RPS readership :)

    • Alec Meer says:

      V. time-consuming, fiddly post that no-one was enjoying doing, really. Basically we all prefer to post about games we individually think interesting rather than an impossible and chore-like attempt at being anything like completist.

    • hypercrisis says:

      Just logged on to say this. If we’re not going to do the Katchup could we at least keep the number of kickstarter posts down?

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        The immediate question that springs to mind is: Why? There are plenty of folks that are interested in them, and getting coverage on RPS often means we find out more about the dev and the game. It also acts like a mini review for those who may be into pledging (I’m not personally). You’ve not really said why you are against them.

      • Ghoulie says:

        I enjoy Kickstarter posts. They generally show games more interesting coming out of a large publisher.

  5. Ghoulie says:

    Saw this one yesterday and I think it also looks interesting. It could use some love:

    link to

  6. alexjg42 says:

    They should have added $5, $10 and $15 tiers. There’s bit of an affordability gap between $1 and $20.

    • deadfolk says:

      To be honest, the thing that’s turning me off is the gameplay benefits provided with the higher tiers.

      • worto03 says:

        Hi deadfolk – any player can gain access to those benefits by doing well and being promoted so it’s not something that only people with money will have access to – they will just get the access quickly without having to progress as much as the rest of us.

        I’ve backed it – my first kickstarter too – I still play the original from time to time now, $20 for this is going to be a bargain compared to the time I’ll get out of it!

        I’ve not decided if I’m going to upgrade to a higher tier or not yet, l will probably leave it until the last couple of days but I’m certainly in for $20

        • slerbal says:

          I have to say as a former backer, that was not apparent to me at all. All the updates focussed on how powered up the upper tiers would be.

        • Jonfon says:

          That’s weird because the 35 bracket specifically says the “exclusive access to equipment editor (not available to other players)” .

          Think I’ll just wait for it to come out.

      • Caiman says:

        I think this misconception is a bit of a problem, potentially turning people off the game, but it’s based on not reading the project description carefully. The higher tiers ensure that you have access to those wizard levels (and the metagame) at the start, but they’re available to everyone. The only difference is that you can’t be demoted below your pledge level if you keep losing, and you get a special aura to identify you as a backer. It’s a bit like buying ships in Star Citizen, backers were given lifetime insurance to ensure they didn’t lose those ships if they were destroyed. Others have to buy their own insurance in-game for each ship.

        Multiplayer matches are played on a level field, by the way. There’s no “pay to win” involved.

        • slerbal says:

          In my case I read all the pledge descriptions, product descriptions and all the updates very carefully and still came to the same opinion that the game was going to be unbalanced. I love all of Gollop’s games and I am reasonably sure that it will end up being great. But any Kickstarter is a risky venture and as we have seen, launch dates are a fiction and the road to release is bumpy, so I am going to hang onto my limited cash for now and see how the game develops.

          • worto03 says:


            I know I’m starting to come across as a fanboy now and your mind is pretty much made up but I wanted to post this info for others to read too.

            If you have time to read it there is a forum thread over here that explains the areas your concerned about better if not the two quotes below are directly lifted from it,

            link to

            I posted
            “I think most people dislike that other players can make up for a lack of ability just by paying more especially when it comes to tactical games and strategy games – there is a tipping point upto where it’s tolerated after that it ruins the game which I guess is a fine line to tread.”

            and JG replied
            “Just to reiterate – there is absolutely no pay-to-win situation with Chaos Reborn. The Wizard Lord levels and above give you a new game mode, but no significant advantage”

          • UnstableVoltage says:

            Let me try and make this clear – as some people seem to be getting a little confused. There is no pay to win. Everything available in the backer tiers is available to all players through gameplay and progression – with 2 exceptions.

            God tier ($1000) and above; get to design an avatar for their God shrine in game. This is a little cosmetic perk for backers. Non-backers who reach God level will use default generic shrines.

            Forgemaster tier ($35) and above; will be able to create a 3 piece set of gear (hat, staff and robe). They will be able to name them, and choose their stats (which will have a point spending system so the can’t be over powered!). They will get to create this set of items once. These sets of equipment will still be able to be collected and used by all other players.

          • deadfolk says:

            My issue is with the part where backers above a certain tier will never fall below a certain rank. I heard this on the video, and for me this is the real problem. As much as I love Mr. Gollop’s games, I’m not going to support this. It’s a persistent gameplay boon for those with the bucks.

  7. slerbal says:

    I backed Chaos at the $20 level then erm… backed out. I felt like a second class citizen as everything that was being posted was making the game play appear more and more biased towards the upper pledging tiers. Given that a major component of the game is competitive multiplayer that is a bit of a no-no. That might not be the case, but it was unsettling enough that I withdrew my pledge.

    The updates have been very lightweight and weak as well which is a shame an the more I thought about realms and items sculpted by other players the less excited I got.

    Do I think Gollop and his team can pull it off? Yes, but I will wait for release and reviews before giving it any cash. I hope he makes it, but if he doesn’t then the above is why I backed then unbacked…

    • UnstableVoltage says:

      Please see my other post where I explain that all game modes available to backers will still be available to all players through gameplay and progression, with the exception of a few cosmetic things.

  8. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I have to say I really don’t like the percentage system. Get really lucky and you get very powerful units while if you get unlucky you might not be able to cast anything.

    • Themadcow says:

      So, in the original game the bigger and more powerful the units you were lucky enough to cast (or cleverly played the allignment system enough to cast) made you more powerful, but also made you a bigger target for the computer AI so it could be a mixed blessing. By the time you fought your way through the opponents being sent towards you, you might only have a dire wolf and king cobra left. At the same time, Mr Unlucky was being ignored by the Computer due to low threat level and could play defensively until such time as Mr Lucky was whittled down, or exposed his wizard to go on the offensive with his creatures.

      A common strategy amongst players with low power monsters would be to get away an early gooey-blob or magic fire and let them take over the board as the aggressive types laid seige to each other. Or maybe hold back a vengance, dark power or justice until the ‘Lucky’ wizard became exposed (these spells could destroy all a wizards creatures if successful against the wizard).

      All in all, Chaos (the original) was never even remotely balanced for 1 v 1 play. If you weren’t playing with a minimum of 4 wizards on the board (I liked 6 or 8) then you weren’t playing it at it’s best.

      All that said, if you want something balanced so that everyone has a fair chance then Chaos wasn’t the game for you. It was often incredibly unfair, and in those instances what you determine as victory might just as well be surving the round limit as it was being the only one left standing. Balance sucks balls, and the ONLY reservation I have about this game is that online competitive ranking kinda necessitates some kind of balance.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Ah. Much thanks! I suppose it’s part of the charm.

        Strange, how knowing it’s supposed to be like that can make a difference in how one values such a thing in a game.

  9. Jonfon says:

    So any chance of getting the Afro Celt Sound System to do the soundtrack again? One of my favourite things about the terribly named “Magic and Mayhem”

  10. groove1984 says:

    Pledged for Chaos, I remember playing it as a very young child. Probably helped shape my love of turn based strategy.

    That this doesn’t look like it’s going to make it is a bit disappointing though: link to

  11. Rufferto says:

    I think people are quite mistaken about the benefits of pledging at higher tears. Everything is cosmetic, your wizard will be just as powerful whether you pledge a million dollars or nothing.

    As Julian Gollop says:

    “Reward Tiers

    If you back the project at Apprentice tier and above you will have access to early playable versions of the game before the official launch, and you can participate in the design process through the Chaos Reborn website.

    With the Forgemaster tier and above you get to design and name a set of rare equipment items. The game has a procedural generation system for equipment with wide variety of visual designs and game effects, but in this case you will get to design your own equipment and its visual looks using an equipment editor program. Your wizard will start with your equipment, but it will be possible for other players to find more copies of the equipment you designed – with your author tag attached.

    If you select the Wizard Lord tier or above, you have important status within the wizardly realms, and an extra play mode that allows your wizard to act as an NPC for other players to encounter in their realm exploration. In order to do this you have to go online and configure your wizard by choosing equipment, spells and battle tactics. While you are offline your wizard will be controlled by AI and may be involved in multiple battles. When you go online you may review these battles, which can then help you refine your wizard configuration. Your wizard will earn experience points and gold by using this mode.

    If you choose the Wizard Lord, Wizard King, Demigod or God rewards, your wizard has status, but still begins as a level one wizard. In order to be effective when deployed as an AI controlled wizard in realms you still need to go adventuring in the Realms or play multiplayer battles so that you can level up your wizard and equip him properly. In other words, you have no initial advantage over other player except access to an exclusive game mode.

    ***Other players can still ascend the ranks from Wizard Lord to God, with a lot of time, effort and ingenuity. They can also be demoted from these positions to make way for better players. However, if you backed the game at a certain level you can’t be demoted from that level. For example, if you back the game at ‘Wizard King’ level you will always be at least a Wizard King – you can’t be demoted to Wizard Lord, but you could become a Demigod or God. Also, the special wizard auras are unique to backers – other players don’t get them, even if they ascend the ranks through game play.***”

  12. Haphaz77 says:

    Thanks Alec for the reminder / prod. I have just backed this one. Given Julian’s role in giving the world XCOM, if his kickstarter pitch was ‘I really just need some beer money’, I’d back that project. The gameplay videos’ artstyle is pleasingly quirky and hypnotic already.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    I backed it as soon as it was announced but I have misgivings about the higher tier stuff too.

    TEACHER: Hello, class, and welcome to your semi-triannual maths exam! Remember that your exam score counts towards your final grade at the end of the year and, as an extra incentive, the five students with the best exam scores will be given the rare and envious title of MATH WIZARDS. Also, if you slip me a tenner when you hand in your exam, I’ll make you a MATH WIZARD as well, regardless of your score.

    CONCERNED STUDENT: But sir! Surely that’s unfair to the people who earn the title by performing well in the exam?

    TEACHER: Not really! Although the people who pay to be MATH WIZARDS will be granted the same prestige, their actual mathematical abilities won’t be improved any by the deal.

    CONCERNED STUDENT: Which is surely a good reason to not grant them the fucking title in the first place.