With the announcement of Gas Powered Games’ latest PC title on deck, we talk to CEO Chris Taylour about Wildman, Kickstarter, cross genres, and the future of GPG.
Let’s get into why we here, give us a glimpse into the world of Wildman.
Wildman takes the early history of primitive man, and compresses 200,000 years into 20 hours (that’s a very rough estimate at this point) of game-play in the SP campaign. The player heads out into the world (after choosing to play as either the Wildman or Wildwoman), action-RPG style, to crush enemies and collect technology to build a more advanced military. Coming upon an entrenched enemy, the player enters into what we call the “Warzone”.
The player then takes his Hero right out onto the battlefield and fights alongside the troops, and makes strategic decisions about which kind to build, when to build them, and what technology they’ll use, in a very heavily influenced RTS style mode of play. What’s exciting for us is to build out a complete single player experience and then evolve the Warzone mode of play into a big PvE (or what we also call “Comp Stomp”) and then beyond that into PvP. We’ve also got physics, destructible environments and a plan to allow players to create their own mods with our advanced web technology… it’s a pretty full slate of features.
How did the idea of Wildman come about?
It goes back to when we founded GPG, I had wanted to mix RPG elements into RTS, but I wasn’t able to figure it out, and Dungeon Siege ended up being primarily an RPG with some very light RTS concepts (for example – autonomous multi-character party). Then fast forward to about 2 years ago, I started working on an advanced web platform for games and applications and a friend told me that I really needed a big ‘Killer App’ to show off the platform.
I started working on the design for Wildman, and revisited the idea of mixing RPG and RTS. I realized that the key was to have the player control only one character, and build the RTS elements into the Warzone, similar to what has been happening in MOBA. However, I know that a gross oversimplification would not give players the strategic depth they are looking for, so I started playing with the idea that players could build out a “mix” of units and select from existing technologies that had been discovered up until that point. The game would then have a nice rhythm between RPG and RTS game-play and truly bring the best of both worlds together in one game.
Many people get skeptical when it comes to hybrid or cross-genre as they tend to be a watered down version of one or the other, how will GPG keep this from happening?
We totally understand that, and as a PC gamer, I too am skeptical of developers who try and mix genres. This time we feel it’s a very natural marriage, and we see these two fitting together nicely… but here’s the thing, we’re not just splicing them into each other unceremoniously, but instead we see a very specific way in which they fit together. The RTS elements, for example, are not copied right over, and rather we take only the parts we think would work well.
The screenshots released with the announcement are all concept art, have you begun to develop the game?
Yes, the game has been in full development for over two months now, and is progressing nicely. We’re going to be releasing actual game-play footage during the Kickstarter campaign, but we didn’t get our lighting models in and tweaked so we could include finished footage for the video. We realize that first impressions are important, and there was last minute concerns that we weren’t quite ready to show our visual target. We are very anxious to do this soon though!
It looks like there’s a leveling system in the game, what will be the criteria through which players can advance?
Yes, and most of that leveling comes directly from combat, both in the RPG and RTS modes of play. I’ve always been a fan of what I call a “skill based class system”, which means the player doesn’t have to select the Hero’s strengths and weaknesses up front, and can dive right into the game and then gravitate towards the things they enjoy, whether that’s melee, ranged or other skills. There are benefits to both, but I like the open-ended nature of this system, and I think it ultimately provides more flexibility in the way the game can be played.