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Chris Taylor: "We’ve gotten a lot of phone calls from people who are interested in publishing Wildman"

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Chris Taylor: "We’ve gotten a lot of phone calls from people who are interested in publishing Wildman"With five days to go till the end of its Kickstarter campaign and still yet to raise of its target funds, Gas Powered Games' Wildman is in dire straits.

However, there is some good news from studio head Chris Taylor who is saying that “[w]e’ve gotten a lot of phone calls from people who are interested in publishing Wildman." But that funding, which Taylor is saying may be as much as $3 million, is contingent on them meeting their $1.1 million target.

More below.

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Wildman at Bay: Inside Chris Taylor's fight to save Gas Powered Games

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Wildman at Bay: Inside Chris Taylor's fight to save Gas Powered Games

Chris Taylor knows he and his company have survived worse moments than this one. But it sure doesn’t feel that way.

He can tell you stories about being millions of dollars in the hole, and dipping deeply into his own personal line of credit to keep Gas Powered Games alive and to make payroll. There have been times when they had debt and no projects and no publishers. There have been times when he’s been at serious risk of not just losing his company, but the home he shares with his family.

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Gas Powered Games had “multiple” nearly-finished games cancelled by publishers before layoffs

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Gas Powered Games had “multiple” nearly-finished games cancelled by publishers before layoffs

Chris Taylor is making a habit of this. Wrenching our hearts, I mean - pulling them this way and that, littering the ground about his feet with an Autumnal sheet of flaccid, spent organs. Er.

"There's multiple games that we got almost to the finish line on," Taylor told Eurogamer. NDAs prevented the Gas Powered Games chief from revealing too much. But he said enough.

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Wildman Kickstarter campaign to continue despite layoffs; Chris Taylor speaks

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Wildman Kickstarter campaign to continue despite layoffs; Chris Taylor speaks

Last week, Wildman looked - and still does - like the workings of a great game. An RTS-botoxed action RPG, which becomes a MOBA in multiplayer. It looked like Gas Powered Games were finally evolving their way out of their Kings and Castles-shaped rut.

But on Friday, it became clear that GPG had also been concealing a gaping financial wound. Chris Taylor made what he described as a “very, very tough decision" - to layoff the majority of his team at GPG with severance pay rather than “play a card game" with his colleagues’ livelihoods and risk letting them go with nothing in a month’s time.

Taylor then asked his Kickstarter pledgers a similarly tough question. Do the skeleton squad at GPG go on, and hire back who they can if Wildman hits its target in 24 days’ time? Or do they admit defeat?

Last night, another update hit Wildman’s Kickstarter page. Taylor and his team will continue on.

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Gas Powered Games layoffs cause Taylor to ask Wildman backers to decide whether to continue

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Gas Powered Games layoffs cause Taylor to ask Wildman backers to decide whether to continueGas Powered Games, makers of Dungeon Siege and Supreme Commander (among many other genre-defining games), have "laid off a substantial number of the team". In a video update on Kickstarter the studio's head Chris Taylor says this is because "if [he] ran this team throughout the entire Kickstarter campaign, and it fails to fund, then [he] has to let everyone go, shut the company down. No one gets PTO, severance, or anything".

He has now put it to the backers of Wildman as to whether he should discontinue the current Kickstarter campaign or get it through to the end in the hope that he is able to use the funds to rehire any of the old team who are still available to work.

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Chris Taylor’s Wildman: first in-game footage of the “evolutionary action RPG”

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Chris Taylor’s Wildman: first in-game footage of the “evolutionary action RPG”There are marine iguanas living on the Galapagos islands. These black lizards were once regular iguanas, but were swept downriver from South America and out to sea on rafts made of reeds. The survivors washed up on unforgiving volcanic shores, and adapted. They learned how to swim. They evolved to hold their breath for up to an hour. They developed glands in their noses to sneeze out excess sea salt.

Chris Taylor, for the purposes of this laboured analogy, is a marine iguana. Having spent the ‘00s making exponentially bigger RTS games, he suddenly found himself drowning when publishers turned their noses up at biggest-ever RTS Kings and Castles. Gas Powered Games found a raft in Age of Empires Online, and it kept them going just long enough to adapt to this strange new industry where the middle-tier developer is cash-strapped and David Braben funds his games via Kickstarter. The result is Taylor’s own Kickstarter project: Wildman.

The publishers are the excess salt, I guess, and Taylor clearly relishes his newfound freedom as he wanders about the office with a camera, promotion scheduling be damned. Check out the results below.

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Chris Taylor on Wildman and life as an escaped zoo animal

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Chris Taylor on Wildman and life as an escaped zoo animalChris Taylor isn’t sleeping well. It’s Friday, January 11th, and there are only 72 hours until Gas Powered’s first Kickstarter goes live. He and his team at Gas Powered Games are constantly second-guessing themselves and worrying about the strength of their pitch for Wildman. Are they showing too little? They have prototype assets they can use, but they worry that the low-quality will make people think Wildman is likewise low-quality. But if they only show the stuff that looks good right now, chiefly concept art, Taylor and GPG worry that people will think the project looks too narrow, or too incomplete. How do you create a pitch that leaves people satisfied, yet hungry for more?

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Born to be Wildman: meet Chris Taylor and Gas Powered Games' new Moba / RTS brought to you by Kickstarter

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Born to be Wildman: meet Chris Taylor and Gas Powered Games' new Moba / RTS brought to you by KickstarterA number of times during our interview on Friday, Chris Taylor asked me if what he was saying made sense, if I “got" Wildman, his newly announced, Kickstarter-funded RTS / MOBA. Taylor talks a mile a minute and there’s always the sense that his words are trying to catch up to his brain, but more than that, Wildman is something different and harder to explain than he’s used to pitching.

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