X-COM Creator’s Chaos Reborn Is Born This Month

I’ve started to feel a degree of sadness when games leave early access and embrace a full release. It’s like watching your kids get older and go to college – there’s that point where, one day, their growing up is done. You know who they’re going to be. There’s pride, sure, but all the what-ifs are over and done with. Julian Gollop’s turn-based wizard-battler Chaos Reborn [official site] (currently on Steam Early Access), for instance, is no longer a great unknown – the X-COM co-creator’s latest (and first independent) game will be released on Steam at the end of the month. It’s not that its journey is over, but the guessing and hoping stage is. That great question which has floated around PC parts for years – what would it be like if Julian Gollop made a new game? – is answered.

Version 1.0 launches on October 26th, after some 18 months of development. By Gollop’s own admission, not everything promised in the Kickstarter pitch is in there yet, but “we will be adding these features in the first 2 months after release.” My own experiences of various beta versions have suggested a game which is perhaps uncommonly on track to meet its initial, eminently realistic promises, so for now I’m happy to take him at his word there.

Apparently v1.0 “will be focused on new players, so there will be an extensive tutorial and an upgraded interface. The Wizard Lord and Wizard King roles will be working at launch, and you will find new realms to explore as the kings create them.” I haven’t looked in on Chaos Reborn for a few months, so I don’t know how fleshed out the singleplayer campaign aspect of it is now. It was definitely onto something last time I looked, though felt a little barebones.

It’s primarily a multiplayer game of course, and new spells and modes are promised post-launch in the hope of keeping that interesting.

I don’t know how well these sorts of things work, but there’s a Thunderclap campaign you can join in with if you’re keen that Chaos Reborn does well. Basically it auto-posts a message about the game to your Twitter, Facebook and/or Tumblr come release day, if you so wish. See here:

Hurrah for games successfully getting made! And now please make a spiritual X-COM sequel.


  1. caff says:

    Yay! Last time I played it was a great game. Please do a WIT on this.

    • XxBrentos9xX says:

      You’ve played it? Was it similar to XCOM?

      • Xzi says:

        It’s quite different from XCOM. There’s no cover, just different levels of terrain. Suffice it to say, if you like turn-based strategy games, but dislike the extreme time commitment that usually comes with them, you’ll like Chaos Reborn.

      • PixelsAtDawn says:

        It’s similar to Chaos ;)

  2. Alien says:

    Just buying it to support Julian Gollop (because I`m not interested in fantasy, magic and wizards).

    He has to make another X-Com!

    • Zorn says:

      A team-up between Gollop and the guys and gals at Goldhawk Interactive, who did Xenonauts… One can dream.

    • AriochRN says:

      I’d vote for a Rebelstar Raiders or Laser Squad update next – get those Marsec Autoguns dusted off, Mr. Gollop!

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      Honestly we’ve got XCOM and Xenonaughts – I’d really like to see him try something new.

  3. Herzog says:

    Looks fun. Is this game ping dependant in multiplayer? Living in China right now and probably not many people will play this here.

    • Darloth says:

      Well it’s primarily turn based, so I’m guessing no…

    • 9214 says:

      You can play in asynchronous games with chess-like turn timer, it doesn’t force you to stay online 24/7 and doesn’t depends on good internet connection – just launch game for 2 mins, make a move and you’re done.

  4. Xzi says:

    My body is ready. I hope the multiplayer population is plenty large, because I absolutely love this game.

  5. Emeraude says:

    Have high hopes for this one.

    Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.

  6. Emeraude says:

    The poor people that spent so much time making the game look good will probably want to hit me with whatever they have on hands, but the more I see pictures of the upcoming build, the more I miss the prototype’s no-nonsense, clean aesthetic.

    Wait, just noticed… when has the game become Steam-only ?

    Oh, well, to the ignore list.

    • Xzi says:

      I’m sure GabeN is crying in his cereal right now. *Rollseyes*

      Only person you’re hurting by missing out on Chaos Reborn is yourself.

    • AriochRN says:

      Has it become Steam-only? I backed the KS for a DRM-free copy and was under the impression it would be released on GOG once it was in a completed state, the Early Access thing being a Steam-ism to aid development. I’ve not seen any KS emails saying anything different, unless it was using a Braben Offline Announcement protocol and managed to slip by me.

      • 9214 says:

        “We are not using the Steam DRM system, but we are using the steam authentication for logging in to the game. We will be releasing on GOG when we have sufficient offline content, and we will have an alternative login system.” – from Julian

  7. horsemedic says:

    Brilliant little multiplayer game, but it was almost impossible to find matches when I last checked in a month or two ago. Active users were often in the single digits. I hope they have an advertising budget and can get some good coverage for launch, because it’s perfect for quick sessions of deep strategy. And it looks beautiful.

    • slerbal says:

      Peak concurrent players on Steam yesterday: 26 (according to SteamSpy link to steamspy.com). It is always really tough for independent competitive games without huge marketing spend to maintain enough active players. That is not me being doom-and-gloom, I really hope Julian Gollop can pull it off. If anyone can, I think he can. He is a great guy who makes great games. I am considering buying it even though I hate online competitive multiplayer, if only to support him. I loved Lords of Chaos rather than Chaos, but only because I could play AI.

  8. Fimbul says:

    Does nobody be concerned that it’s nearly all about luck? Everything is RNG, you can influence the probability of your spells to succeed, but combat results is only luck. No HP, its either instant kill or fail. It happens that you have the opposite wizard surrounded with monsters but everyone misses, and the in his turn he and some low level monster are lucky and kill all your monsters and in the end you lost. For me it’s no fun and delivers not much tactic.

    • 9214 says:

      It’s not all about RNG. Game consist both of luck and your skill of using this luck to your advantage. If tiny dwarf killed your mighty dragon – you should at least have a plan B for that case.
      F.e. say thanks to dwarf and raise your dragon from death – it’ll become undead creature, which may be killed only by another undead or magic attack. But, huh, if for dwarf killing a dragon is almost impossible, could you imagine how difficult it is to kill UNDEAD dragon?

      Beside planning and risk management, you have enough tools to manipulate randomness: global balance shifts, mana boosts, talismans, your stuff and bodygear, timing, positioning, even failed casts and your enemy behavior! And bluff – that’s what many people forget when they start to complain about “bad RNG mechanic”. You’re able to cast illusion at any time with 100% chance. And if you’re good at leading a pretty dance – victory is yours.

      I’ve played more than fivescore of hours in Early Access and can confidently say: Chaos Reborn is pure mindgame with shittons of fun, even when you lost.
      You shouldn’t judge it from “classic TBS with HP and predictable concequences” perspective, because it has quite different and unique, freshy gameplay.

    • klops says:

      Chaos is about as much luck as poker. For some reason there are people who win much more than others. That reason isn’t luck.

      • Doctor Nil says:

        Yes, the point about poker can’t be overstated. There is an aspect of RNG involved but don’t fool yourself into thinking that player skill and understanding of the meta isn’t also a huge part of the game. If you disagree then feel free to meet me on the battlefield and I’ll teach you something about luck. Prepare yourself!