The people behind Dungeon Siege, Demigod and Supreme Commander just launched a $1.1 million Kickstarter for an action role-playing strategy PC game called Wildman.
Gas Powered Games CEO Chris Taylor tells Polygon that the single player and cooperative game will blend the role-playing feel of Dungeon Siege with strong real-time strategy, multiplayer online battle arena elements.
Wildman play will be broken into two distinct types of games. The overworld, Taylor says, will have a player controlling a single persistent character as they explore the world and its dungeons. Gameplay will be a bit like Diablo, he said, though in this case players won't just level up their character and unlock new abilities, they'll also discover new technology and special items for their awaiting army.
When a player comes upon an enemy encampment, the game will shift to become something more akin to a MOBA, he said. Players will still control their "wildman" or "wildwoman," but they'll also be able to build structures that can spawn units, defend against attacks and improve technology. The "War Zone" battlefields will also include advanced physics and be fully destructible.
If the player defeats the enemy in these battles, they advance further through the world. If they lose, he said, they'll have to revert to their last successful war.
"Wildman takes the elements that we've crafted over the years with our action role-playing games and combines them with the things we love about real-time strategy," said Taylor. "It's original, it's unique and we think our fans will embrace this new approach. And if you like what you are seeing and hearing about the game, we hope you'll back us on Kickstarter."
Taylor says he's excited to see what the backers for the project ask for from the game. To that end, he's stopped short of fully fleshing out the details of for Wildman. He hasn't for instance, finalized what time period the game will include. Nor has he decided what sort of classes to ship the game with.
The news of this new project comes just weeks after Microsoft announced that Gas Powered Games would no longer be working on content for the free-to-play Age of Empires Online.
Taylor said the team learned a lot from Age of Empires Online and that working on it was one of the reasons they decided to go through Kickstarter for this game. Going through a publisher and selling games in a box, he said, feels like the "old model."
Taylor says he hopes that this model will prove to be one that can sustain triple-A games and the developers that make them.
The idea of using Kickstarter to back a game is in many ways an experiment for Gas Powered Games. When they first started thinking about doing something through the fund-raising platform, Taylor initially thought about Kings and Castles, a real-time strategy game first announced in 2010.
But Taylor was wary of taking his first run at Kickstarter with such a huge project.
"When we started looking at what we would do next and Kickstarter, we thought 'Can we do a Kickstarter for Kings and Castles?'," he said. "We decided it was too much. We felt it was too much to ask for the kind of dollars we would need, which is much closer to $6 million."
Instead, this is what Taylor describes as "eating the elephant one bite at a time."
They're going to get Wildman up and running and if it does overwhelmingly well, they'll look at what they can do through Kickstarter next.
While using Kickstarter to back the game is an experiment, the game itself isn't. Taylor said Gas Powered Games has about 50 people on staff right now and that they're wrapping up another project. Once that is done the team of about 20 to 30 will be needed to finish this game.
"We're all in on this," he said. "We have some other stuff we're working on, but I don't believe it's enough to keep the company operating.
"This is one big poker hand."