Chris Taylor Gets Some
New Company Plans
What's the name of your new company, and what type of games will you be making?
Our first title is a role playing game (RPG). I can't talk much more about it at this time but I can say that we want to innovate in the same way that we did while building TA.
Do you worry about biting off more than you can chew by doing an RPG as your first title? RPG's are notorious for having huge amounts of content and taking a long time to get right. Or do you just like a challenge? ;)
It's definately a huge challenge! We have lots of example of RPG's out there right now that we can look at and say, jeepers, look at all the content in this game...we better get our tools and technology worked out and then prepare to hire a lot of people! We need to get this right on the first try!
Will you work on more than one game at a time, or just focus on one for starters?
We are just going to focus on one title at a time for the first couple of years.
Do you have a publisher lined up yet? Can you mention them?
Why Microsoft? I ask because I know a lot of developers that haven't exactly cherished the fact that they had to deal with Microsoft. What was it that pulled you towards them and not another publisher such as GT, Activision or even Interplay. Was their being local to you a big factor? (Editor's note: Gas Powered games, like Microsoft, is located in Seatle, Washington)
Microsoft (MS) has really turned a corner in the last couple of years and built a great infrastructure for working with outside developers. Having MS nearby is a plus but it's not the main reason. They have a great marketing and distribution group that is capable of getting the message out and the game on the shelf. The most important reason is, we saw eye to eye on what the game should be and agreed on the product vision.
How many employees are on board so far? How many more left to hire?
We have 9 in total right now. We are going to hire a few more and then the rest in about 7 months after we do our technical prototype. By the end of the project we will likely have hit a high of about 24 people.
What are some of the difficulties you've had in setting up the new company?
Well, there is all sorts of stuff that gets in the way. Nothing is so serious that it causes big problems but its annoying to have to fill out piles of government paperwork. One thing is for sure, if you start a company, get a good biz guy! Can't say enough about that.
What can you tell people about your new game to get them excited?
I can't tell them much but I can talk dirty for awhile instead. (Just kidding).
What are your favorite types of games to play?
I like all kinds of games but my favorites include Duke Nukem and Command & Conquer. I played a ton of Warcraft 2. I have been playing Unreal lately and Fallout. The list goes on and on. Oh, I finally got my hands on Final Fantasy VII which from what I understandis really awesome, now I just need to play it!!
What games are you most looking forward to over the next year?
Half-Life from Valve and Amen from the guys at Cavedog. Tiberian Sun looks good and I definately can't wait to play Homeworld from Relic.
What's wrong with the game industry that you'd like to see change over the next couple of years?
I would like to see fewer
games at a much higher quality. As we move into the mass market and
more and more people are introduced to computer games, I want to make
sure we don't scare them away because the first game they play leaves
a bad taste in their mouth. I wouldn't mind the price dropping so that
the games are more affordable to more people. At the end of it all I
want as many people as possible playing games.
Quality over quantity huh? What do you think about Deer Hunter? It's hard to knock a game that we all know we could have done in six weeks, but has sold as well as it does. I think a lot of developers are kicking themselves about now for not thinking about Joe Sixpack as a consumer. What do you think about this new mass market we appear to be entering?
I will never go for quantity over quality, that's out. I think Deer Hunter was a very interesting success story because it reminded us that there is a huge market out there and the typical "gamers game" is too hard to learn or too tough to play. I want to break down the barrior between these two markets and make a game that everyone can enjoy without making compromises... the question is: Is this possible? I sure as hell hope so! :)
Where do you see the industry going in the next few years?
I see persistent world games on the internet that work really well and don't feel like an R&D project. I see the hardware getting so good that designers will have to focus almost entirely on game content and playability instead of technology to make the game great. I see better characters with personalities that weave more tightly into the story telling experience. And mostly I see deep and immersive environments that don't make playing the game feel like they are trying to fly a 747.
What are your hobbies, or what do you like to do when you aren't working on games?
I like to play my piano and wonder when I will fly the little helicopter I built 2 years ago. The thought does occur to me that I should find a wife so I can have some off-spring. I have it on my "to do" list.
What's a typical day like for you these days?
I work on the "game" and then sometimes watch TV when I am too wiped-out to think. I do a lot of email, in fact, I am thinking about having my email program burned into ROM's in my head so I can do email whilst in the shower and driving down the road. This weekend I am going to go mountain climbing because I need to cross that off my list and then I can say, "yeah, I went mountain climbing in the last Millennium, did you?"
|Credits: Illustration © 1998 Dan Zalkus. This interview is © 1998 Chris Taylor & George Broussard. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and totally not cool.|