Seattle-based Gas Powered Games has released a variety of titles for a number of years, from a fantasy action-RPG series in Dungeon Siege to a sci-fi RTS series in Supreme Commander (its sequel is due out on March 2) to a sci-fi RPG in Space Siege. In 2009, they shipped out Demigod, a mix of multiplayer RTS game with a fantasy RPG.
But apparently all of those projects have led up to their just announced game Kings and Castles. Described by Gas Powered's founder Chris Taylor as "the ultimate fantasy RTS game" the developer has decided to give its fans a detailed look at the production of the game via their just launched web site. They also plan to use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.
Big Download got a chance to ask Taylor some questions to find out more about why they are promoting Kings and Castles in this way, a few more details on the game itself and more.
First, let's talk about your plans to promote and inform people about Kings and Castles. How did this idea come about?
I think it just sort of evolved out of a desire to share more about what happens behind the scenes. So many people ask me about what it's like to make games, and after 22 years of dodging the question, I felt it was time to show them! :)
Some people believe that today's games are over-hyped already and that too much info is given in advance. They believe that as a result some surprises are revealed that might have been better kept a secret. Do you think this might happen with Kings and Castles?
I think it's a totally changing world, and we need to change with it. Most of the time the secrets are kept for competitive reasons, as most of the details of the game are released in the months leading up to release. We're trying something new, and only time will tell how well it works... somebody had to do it!
You have already launched your first video blog where you got attacked by a horse. How did the idea come about to film at a farm and what was the experience like for you?
Well, it's my yard, so it was super convenient. I didn't know the horse would bite me, that was just a bonus!
What can we expect to see in future video blogs? Will they all have a humorous theme or will some show some serious game development?
I think it will be a balance between humor, and a serious look at game development. In the next blog, I drive in to the office, do a quick tour, and from there, we start to meet the individual team members.
Most game previews always focus on the good stuff but we know game development has its issues too. Will we see the hard times of game development; the long hours, the features and content that don't work and are cut and other matters?
I'm sure hope we can show that part of it. We're trying to keep the blogs short, like around 2 minutes, but if the demand is there, we'll increase the length and show more of those long hours... the true underbelly of game development!
Ultimately what is Gas Powered's goal in lifting the veil on game development in this manner?
We think it's a way to expose a new game concept, to mitigate the fear of something new that we've seen this past few years. And we certainly hope that by opening the kimono it will create a closer bond between us and our fans. This is a ton of fun for us, so we're really happy to do it. Don't ask me why it hasn't been done to this extent before.
Let's talk about the game itself. When you say that you wanted to make the ultimate fantasy RTS game what exactly does that mean?
For me, this means a game that is feature rich. We'll have a lot of new ideas, we'll do it up in a big way, including maps, size and scale of the battles, and with no compromises or cheats. We are introducing the concept of Legendary Units. These are massive, hulking units, like in the upcoming Clash of the Titans movie. We love to bring that kind of unit together with the more standard unit sizes, and see how they interact. For us, it's about creating something so visually spectacular, it shocks people when they see it for the first time. That is what we intend to deliver.
We assume that a game that's titled Kings and Castles will have both kings and castles in it. How will these two elements be incorporated into the game design?
The player starts out as a King. He builds his empire, and this includes his castle. This is not some small little structure, but instead a massive, towering work of art, and an intimidating strong hold. The scale of which nobody will have seen before, or even imagined they would see in a video game.
What will the fantasy world itself be like it the game? Will it be a standard Tolkien type of world or will we see some new and original aspects to it?
It's our own unique blend of fantasy. We don't want a lot of constraints, because we want to do whatever we please in this world. To create the best game possible, we want to push the boundaries, and deliver surprise after surprise.
What cool feature or content are you planning for the game that you can reveal to us as an exclusive scoop?
I think I've already revealed quite a bit, lol...
How far along is the game's development at this stage? Is it pretty early at this point?
We are just starting out, and though it's early, we wanted to start the blog and really do what we say, and take people on an adventure... not show them an adventure after it was finished. :)
You have not announced a publisher for Kings and Castles. Is it your intention to self publish the game or find a publisher?
We have not made any arrangements, and I wouldn't say we are self publishing either, it's simply a question of finding partners who share our goals and want to approach game development a little differently. We love breaking new ground, exploring new models... if ever there was a time to do that, it's now.
Supreme Commander 2 is now two weeks away from its PC release. Are you happy with how that game has turned out and can we expect extra downloadable content to be released after the game ships to stores?
I am very happy with how it's turned out! And we're only a couple of weeks from the PC launch, which is very exciting. Sorry, can't comment at this time on additional content.
Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Kings and Castles?
I hope that you tune in each week to see the blogs... we're pretty darn excited about it, and that we would love to hear your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and tune in also to my twitter at DeathBot9... we've going on a great adventure here!!