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Wildman developer defends decision to layoff staff and then rehire some, details new rewards

The Kickstarter campaign for Gas Powered Games' Wildman will release more details on its gameplay mechanics and add more reward tiers later this week, CEO Chris Taylor said in a video update on the game's page late yesterday, just one day after announcing his plans to rehire key staff members that were fired late last week.

"This weekend was an incredible experience for me," said Taylor regarding his decision to fire most of his staff on Friday. "The reality is, is that we did what we thought was right and over time I think this will become more obvious to us."

Taylor promised another update would come later this week describing how the developer plans to mesh real-time shooter and action role-playing game elements for Wildman. More concept art and another video update detailing Project Mercury, the platform the studio plans to release modding tools on, will be shared soon as well.

The developer has also added a new $85 rewards tier, which grants backers VIP access to the game's forums, a special forum tag and badge, the ability to vote on weekly design questions and a copy of the digital collector's edition of Wildman. Taylor says the team plans to add more tier increments in the near future and improve the value of these tiers through rewards like one-on-one Skype calls with the developers.

On Sunday, Taylor told Polygon the success of the Wildman Kickstarter will effectively determine whether the project will continue and whether Gas Powered Games will stay in business, saying he thought the campaign has now "become about saving a company and the game is a distant second."

"We need to get the word out," Taylor said in last night's video update. "That's going to take some work, and we have 25 days to do it. We've got a long road ahead of us, but at the same time I'm optimistic."

After Gas Powered Games was hit with "substantial layoffs" last Friday, the company considered pulling the plug on the Wildman campaign. In a Kickstarter video update Taylor explained his decision to let staff members go, saying if Kickstarter funding fails he would have to "let everyone go, shut the company down, no one gets any unpaid PTO or severance."

In a Reddit AMA yesterday, Taylor urged potential backers to support Wildman because they are interested in the game, not because they feel sorry for his studio.