Chris Taylor reveals RPG/RTS hybrid Wild Man

Dungeon Siege designer betting the farm on new PC game; asking for $1.1 million on Kickstarter to get off the ground.

Dungeon Siege and Total Annihilation designer Chris Taylor has revealed his latest project. The developer today announced Wild Man, an RPG/RTS hybrid for the PC (and possibly other platforms) whose success will determine the life and livelihood of Taylor and his team at developer Gas Powered Games.

"Everything I have ever worked for in my entire career--in my entire life--it culminates in this one event. I am absolutely all in. That's it," Taylor said. "What victory is worth achieving if there's no consequence of failure?"

Taylor is asking for $1.1 million through Kickstarter to get Wild Man off the ground. If successful, the game is planned to be delivered to consumers in six months to a year (July 2013-January 2014). The developer said he was attracted to Kickstarter because the platform offers a level of consumer engagement that is just not possible through other means. Opportunities like crowd-sourcing feature ideas or daily video updates could not be achieved without Kickstarter, Taylor said.

"It's a revolution," Taylor said, describing Kickstarter. "When we saw that, we thought this is so much bigger than Tim Schafer raising money to make an adventure game. That was just the tip of the iceberg. That was only a fraction of the total thing that is happening here. And I really want to get the word out about that."

Another reason Taylor chose to seek funding for Wild Man on Kickstarter is that he believes traditional publishers, like Microsoft or Sony, would not have jumped at the idea.

"When I talk about traditional publishers, you can guess who they are, and the reality is they are just not interested," he said. "And they are so heads down right now; there is so much concern over the console business, when the next generation [of consoles] will come about, how that's gonna go, what's happening at retail. Their head is just a million miles away from saying, 'Oh yeah, let's jump in and explore some cool sh*t on the PC.'"

Taylor admitted he did not shop Wild Man around to many publishers, noting it's possible some company may have picked it up. But it wouldn't have mattered, because Taylor always had his eye on Kickstarter.

Wild Man environment concept art.

"Someone might have said, 'We'll publish it.' But here's the secret: I don't want them to. There's a will inside me that's pushing this towards the direct relationship to customer. Because I know crossing this somewhat scary desert will get us to an oasis," he said.

Taylor and Gas Powered Games began work on Wild Man last year, but the idea for the game has been stewing in his mind for years. The designer explained that Dungeon Siege had been originally planned as an RPG/RTS hybrid, but this never came to be.

"I wanted to take real-time strategy and add fantasy role-playing. But what I realized when I got into it is that it's got to be the other way around," he said.

Fast-forward to today, and Taylor believes Wild Man is a well-blended formula of both genres and one that fans will spring to because it's something that has not been done before.

"How many games can you play that are virtually identical inside of the same genre where you have to raise your hand and say, 'Hey, can I get something new over here?'"

"We see the strengths and the weakness of both and what we see here is an opportunity...we're looking for something new," Taylor said. "If you're subtle about it you can say we're doing something new with existing genres. If you want to be more dramatic, you can say we're creating a brand new genre. It's a hybrid. We're not doing it for a prize, saying, 'We want to create a whole new genre.' How many games can you play that are virtually identical inside of the same genre where you have to raise your hand and say, 'Hey, can I get something new over here?'"

Another feature of Wild Man is its destructible environments. Taylor explained that the battlefield will begin as a pristine place, but once the war ravages on, it will fall apart and break down.

"The grass gets trampled into mud and the trees catch fire from random flaming arrows. Maybe a forest fire rages on," he said. "You've got bodies strewn about and you've got skulls and all this wreckage and ruin."

Modded content will also be a part of Wild Man. Taylor said users will be able to build content and use a tool suite on the Web to import the content they create into their games.

"We are really out there; out there on the frontlines trying to do something that is we think going to be the future," he said. "There's no question that downloading and installing a brittle, complex set of tools locally to your machine is just not economical or a functional model for doing certain jobs."

Wild Man hero character concept art.

Wild Man is currently in development for the PC only, but Taylor said he is open to the idea of porting the game to other platforms, including Mac, Linux, and mobile devices. Similarly, Taylor has not made a decision yet about what future expansions could sell for, or even if Wild Man could become a free-to-play game.

"So we've built the first game; there's X number of hours of gameplay. Now, there's a junction or an inflection point where we can say going forward, 'Should we sell this next chunk for $10 or $20, or should we throw a switch and go into a different model?' So that's something we'll explore," he said.

The benefit of Kickstarter in this situation is that the customer is there to ask, Taylor said.

"We don't have to guess what they want. And that's fantastic."

Wild Man will be a single-player game at launch, but much in the same way that Taylor is seeking feedback for pricing models, he will also ask for fan input regarding new game modes. Right now, the game's single-player experience is in place and plans for a PVE mode with a friend against a computer opponent are "solid." But Taylor is thinking bigger. He said he's mulling a PVP mode for Wild Man, but this will be determined by the amount of interest fans show.

"I have taken everything in the company; I have taken all the resources, and I have got it all on this game."

Thirty days from today, Taylor's efforts to raise $1.1 million for Wild Man will be judged either with success or failure. Whatever the case, though, Taylor said he thrives on the risk of it all.

"Even if we fail, it's still fantastic. It's still a wonderful adventure to go on," he said. "You look at people climbing the face of a rock cliff, and you say, 'Why the hell would they do that? They could fall.' And usually someone does and they die. But that's the thrill. I have taken everything in the company; I have taken all the resources, and I have got it all on this game."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

60 comments
bloody-hell
bloody-hell

Sorry Chris Taylor, but you ruined Supreme Commander by dumbing down the sequel to appeal to the masses instead of building on what made it strong, so you kind of lost my respect.

The Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander developers are now working on Planetary Annihilation which I backed on Kickstarter already, but this Wildman (seems to be a Caveman Diablo) needs to convince me first.

I'll be awaiting further, more detailed news before deciding to send some money your way, but your decision to skip the publisher and sell directly is already a good one, so that's a plus.

JURGMANDR
JURGMANDR

as soon as I saw the words "destructible environments" I was intrigued. I NEED MORE DESTRUCTIBILITY  IN GAMES *foaming at the mouth*

TheTrueObelus
TheTrueObelus

So what is it exactly? Diablo clone set in prehistoric times?

megakick
megakick

another League of Legends? I already spent hours and hours on LOL. Unless this is a full 180 from the other no thanx.

Kane04
Kane04

Every other week theres someone on kickstater asking for money to make game now, maybe this will be the future for true games since companies are all over the more profitable casual market now.

Srg_Ducky
Srg_Ducky

Good luck Chris, your games haven't disappointed me in the slitest ( Unless your hand was in Dungion Siege 3, which im sure it wasn't) and Im sure this one will also be herion to my mind.

Kick started is great, it shows who is interested in the game, and a direct voice to the developers from the community. Because it seems like some one should have told Activions 4 of the same game is enough !!! 


I'll eat my head if there is a new COD on the way. 

AlphaWolF_J
AlphaWolF_J

Not reall ysure about the Caveman environment but this guy sure knows how to make great RTS games ,i still play supreme commander and forged alliance multiplayer today. one of the best rts ever created and iv have played a lot.

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

This will probably be the first Kickstarter I jump on. The game looks cool.

doomslaer
doomslaer

Kickstarter is pointing the way to a new kind of economy.  We can avoid two catastrophes:  socialistic economics/government and faschist economics/government (not much difference), either of which could happen in America at any moment.  Anyone interested in the ideas of AnarchoCapitalism can gain a great deal of inspiration and entrepeneurial energy from an idea like Kickstarter.  Another poster here made the point that bypassing the publishers is exactly what the industry needs.  Yes, it is.  Furthermore, if Chris Taylor can pull this off, he might save PC gaming.  He might save gaming over all.  He is the antichrist of parasitic organisms like EA (Electronic Artists).

kukumav
kukumav

Oh great another kickstarter...

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

Just when I start to play AOEonline he leaves to make a new game!

YYankee
YYankee

Age of Empires Online was pretty good, especially considering Microsoft probably demanded a "pay to win" style. I'm pretty sure if they were able to make AoE 4 it would have been pretty good. I might back this. 

AcidSoldner
AcidSoldner

Uh.. what the f*ck happened to Kings and Castles? I'd be much more excited about that.

FGMPR
FGMPR

Good luck to him.

nedrith
nedrith

Might pay $45 for access to the beta on this one, I love a great RPG/RTS hybrid.  Played warlords battlecry 3 a lot.

Though I do wonder if he might be a too ambitious with his kickstarter goal.  $1.1 million is rather high especially in a all or nothing scenario.   I know that kickstarters from well known developers can get up there and more, though I'm still worried would hate to see this game not happen.

moncealyo
moncealyo

The first dungeon siege and supreme commander kicked ass.  I'm hoping for a great game but I think I'll wait.  I'm quite fed up with throwing money into something before it's complete.  

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Shame on you, people acting like "real companies" shouldn't be on Kickstarter.  What real companies can do on Kickstarter is bypass game publishers, and this is the single most important thing that needs to happen in order to get quality games.  AAA publishers are the ones primarily responsible for dumbing down gaming, one mainstream knockoff after another.


We need smaller teams of high quality experienced engineers with more focused visions who aren't forced to shove in features at the behest of some suit at the publisher.


Kickstarters like this and Project Eternity SHOULD be the future of gaming, assuming you don't want to have COD clones come out ad infinitum.

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

vihazur 

Chris tayler did not make dungeon siege 3 that was obsidion..It wasnt a bad game either..Just short good story though..Wish it wouldve been a bit longer in game-play..How ever wasnt him who did the game check the facts

x-TwilighT-x
x-TwilighT-x

Kickstarter or not... The idea is intriguing. Personally I like the sounds of it, count me in.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

I do not know if he worked on all of the Dungeon Siege games, but I know I have played the shit outta them. While I have enjoyed a few RTS, I have always preferred RPG's, as it is hard to develop a relationship to main protagonist in an RTS. But if anyone can do it, dungeon siege can. 

I throw 25$ at the chance to see it come to life. 

nathangray
nathangray

All this Kickstarter stuff is getting to be worse than those celtic group beg-a-thons on PBS. I had no problem with it when Kickstarter was the 'little guy's' way in, but lately it's become another means of profit and advertisement. Getting rather sick of people corrupting things originally meant to foster community and creativity.

MrDouglas
MrDouglas

Some of my fondest gaming memories come from playing the terrific 4D Sports Boxing, a very early Chris Taylor game. Ofc, I had no idea until recently that it was made by the same guy behind Total Annihaltion and Dungeon Siege. To be sure, some of his projects tank, while some are completely brilliant, so in conclusion I might just decide to back this project up.

Glaxton
Glaxton

The idea that a successful company can't or doesn't have the funds to make a 1.1 million dollar game is questionable (much like Molyneux's Godus). Kickstarter is becoming more of a place for a company to actively make money before shipping a product than it is to setup an otherwise un-fundable product through traditional means or it's a way of gauging public interest in the product. (As an example, Godus needed 800,000$ yet Molyneux paid 6 million dollars of his own money to help develop Black and White.)

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

Sounds interesting and I hope it succeeds.  We need more rts developers in the world.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

Man, these kickstarter goals are getting bigger and bigger... Is kickstarter the new AAA publisher?

MarcJL31
MarcJL31

If only you didnt ruin Supreme Commander 2. The first one and FA were so good. 

CyhortI82
CyhortI82

So...by "something new" he means "basically just another hack and slash with leveling up", right? Because I'm not seeing anything appealing about this game.

Ovirew
Ovirew

wait, gas powered games...  didn't they make Age of Empires Online?  I hope they tank.  >>;

gamingfrendly
gamingfrendly

guess i will take a look at the kickstarter page might like it.

Vambran
Vambran

@bloody-hell  

GPG was dropped by THQ after mild sales for Sup Com 1 + FA. Sup Com 2 only got made cause square soft gave them money for it but under condition it was dumbed down for consoles.

Im sure if they stayed with THQ with the same funding and agreements that resulted in Sup Com 1 , it would have been a better game.

fillup0
fillup0

>implying kickstarters aren't being created every day

R4gn4r0k
R4gn4r0k

@Lord_Python1049 That is not their decision, that is Microsofts... If MS says to stop developing AOE content, than they have to since MS is the publisher and owns the franchise.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@Gladestone1 

Chris Taylor co-develop Dungeon Siege 3 with Obsidian,

probably it's about 10-20%, but at least they still involved with the project

=3

fillup0
fillup0

"Corporations are bad n scary" nathangray cried in a redneck accent

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

@nathangray How is it not fostering community and creativity? Just because its a larger project?

The reality is that publishers are a big bottle neck on games development, but now designers can go straight to the fans. Plus smaller indie projects are still getting supported so its a win/win.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

@MrDouglas OMG.  This guy seriously made 4D boxing?  I have not seen anything about that game in FOREVER.  I might back this project just as a thank you for that...

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

@MrDouglas Dungeon Siege 2 was amazing. He seems quite hit or miss but that's really what making games should be like if you ask me. Have an idea, try it out, it'll either sink or swim. The difference with him is if it swims it wins to gold medal at the Olympics for the backstroke.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

@Glaxton Almost always you get the game for $20 backing. That's pretty darn cheap for a game. It's essentially a preorder, but you know...better.

ggregd
ggregd

@Glaxton This is what I keep thinking.  If you give them $10,000 or more you're an investor, and if the game is successful, you should share in the profits.  Here, you get to go to a launch party and have your name on digital things in the game while they keep all the returns.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@---Cipher--- Bigger and bigger? It depends on the purpose of the money, really. Star Citizen, for example, was only asking for $500,000 in order to prove interest, that they might then get the funding they REALLY need from other investors (though, they now have over $7M just from crowdfunding...). In this case, it could well be just that the funds they need can't come from anywhere else, as is often the case.

Besides, the advantages of kickstarter never had anything to do with scale. From the smallest startup to the most gargantuan sequel, kickstarter allows diversity. It allows for something besides a one-size-fits all mentality about genres, complexity and stories. It means that the people with the capital in their hands are, for the most part, the people that want to play the game.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@---Cipher--- That is the idea behind it. By getting fan funding they can make their own game. When you get funded from other sources you have to do what they say. Often big publishers force things like adding multiplayer or changing games to make them have a bigger appeal to make more money. Many developers don't want to be forced into things just to make money and this is a great and free option for them to just do what they need to do.

surrealme
surrealme

@MarcJL31 That likely had everything to do with pressure from the publisher to make it more accessible and not necessarily what GPG would have chosen to do with the sequel on their own.