"Will it ever actually come out, though?" is a question that's often asked of many Kickstarter-funded games, but not like this. In the blink of an eye, Gas Powered Games' Wildman went from fossil-fueled hopeful to dinosaur with a very large meteor breathing down its neck. After 40-some-odd layoffs, Chris Taylor was left reconsidering if it was even worthwhile to gamble the rest of his company on the project at all. So he asked the community. And now, after a few days of deliberation, it's time for a verdict.
You can find the (strangely non-embeddable) video over on Wildman's Kickstarter page, but here's the gist straight from Chris Taylor:
"This weekend was an incredible experience for me. After what happened [with the layoffs on] Friday, I went through... it was just emotions, it was sadness. But the reality is that we did what we thought was right, and over time I think this will become more obvious to us... I’m optimistic, but at the same time, I know we’ve got a long road ahead of us."
Meanwhile, he took to Eurogamer to shed more light on where exactly everything broke down and why Gas Powered Games is currently running on fumes. In short, a whole bunch of small bad news bits added up to become one very, very big avalanche. "There's multiple games that we got almost to the finish line on," he explained. "We got a phone call from the publisher and they said, 'We're terminating.' And we're like, 'Yeah but we're only a month away from beta!' And they're like, 'Yeah we're still terminating.'"
Which, understandably, left Taylor and co against the ropes and gasping for air. But, in spite of it all, he does believe the company can recover. In a Reddit AMA, he explained that some employees have already been rehired and - if nothing else - all the publicity will ensure the others find new jobs in short order instead of languishing in the unemployment line.
For the time being, though, GPG's pushing ever onward, which - in the short term - apparently means we'll soon get a glimpse of what could be the wildest man of all:
animals? Project Mercury. And beyond that? Well, the Kickstarter's basically doubled its total since it nearly screeched to a halt, so that's a somewhat hopeful sign. Granted, $300,000's still quite far from $1,100,000, and I imagine a number of recent contributors were drawn in by all the drama. Given that Wildman languidly meandered out the gate in the same way people do when they're texting while crossing absurdly traffic-packed streets, I'm not entirely sure it can sustain the momentum.
Only time will tell, though. Are you thinking about lending Gas Powered Games a hand? And, if so, are you doing it for the game, or because you appreciate/feel bad for the company?