Chris Taylor on Wildman: "What if I tell people my wife's gonna cut my balls off?"

Tyler Wilde at

So, I'm driving this guy around, and does he have a personality, or is he a more a vessel for me? Is there a narrative?

CT: No, I'm not a strong narrative guy, but we do hope we can tell a story that's kind of a story written by earth history of primitive man as he develops, and it's an empire building game, essentially, and you play the Wildman or the Wildwoman, you go out there, and you're basically expanding your empire, and when you push into someone else's, grr, invariably, of course, they have to go. I would love for there to be some sort of commentary on the human condition—the desire to grow, and build, and conquer, and sometimes it's senseless. If it's you or them, and there's really nothing wrong with them, but they gotta go, because you want their land, their resources, their technology—that's the human condition, which is sad, but you know.

"I mean s***, we've got two cats in the house, two cats in the barn. We've got cats everywhere. We love cats."

 
And I understand you're looking for suggestions from backers, like with shapeshifting—you were hoping to get feedback on the backers on the kinds of animals they'd want?

CT: Exactly, so, you know, we know that cats are popular. I mean s***, we've got two cats in the house, two cats in the barn. We've got cats everywhere. We love cats. But in this game, we haven't created the artwork for them yet. There are no cat models, no gorilla models, no wild boar models, so we can kind of go to referendum on that, because that's an arbitrary creative decision. So if you're a backer, and you wanna speak up and talk about what you'd like to see, or you think the idea sucks and we shouldn't have shapeshifting. But I do like the idea that there's a slightly mythical component to the game, where you're in this world and we're—you know that, what was that movie, Inglourious Basterds? Remember that? Quentin Tarantino? He imagined what would happen if Hitler had been assassinated.

Yeah, and his latest, Django Unchained is along the same lines. A historical revenge fantasy.

CT: Right, and that's interesting. So, imagine instead we're going back to primitive man and saying, "What if other creatures evolved? What if men could shapeshift? What if bugs could evolve and were sentient and could arm themselves with weapons, build structures, and get organized?"

We're having some fun with that, and we're happy to collect creative input on that, because there's a lot of choices, and they're mostly all valid. I don't think there's something that's dead wrong, it's just an artistic choice. I'm not shy about saying what I believe is the right one, and people can say, "Wow, I get to debate with Chris about what I want, and I disagreed with him on this." You know, that's kind of fun, that's different.

"We have to do this. We have to try."

 
I guess this happens with traditional publishers, too, but do you think there's—not from yourself, based on what you've just said—but any fear from others that you'll lose authorship? That there'll be no more auteurs in games if a crowdsourced community is calling the shots?

CT: Yeah, well I think you gotta make one first. There's a lot of people who would guess that would be the case. What you said, take the, "Hey, if J.K. Rowling were to write the next book and ask everyone what they wanted, it wouldn't be her book." Well, if she wrote one book like that and came away and said, "Here's what I learned. This is the experience I had." Now, if I didn't think it was positive, now I can speak to it directly from experience.

The fear of not wanting to try something new and closing the door on it—I don't live in that world. I'm sort of, you know, I'm kind of foolish. I'll try damn near anything once. I'll take a bite out of any food. I'll do anything. And then I can speak to it after the fact and say, "You know, that was dumb" or "That was fabulous." But how many times as individuals have we done things that we thought we were going to hate and loved it, and it was life changing, and thought, "Woah, I almost didn't go down that road for fear that it was gonna be a waste of my time, or not produce the results I was looking for." Well this is a f****** clear-cut example of that. We have to do this. We have to try. If we do it and we fail, then we at least have something to refer to, to say, "Oh yeah, well, we tried it with Wildman, remember that? Oh yeah, well, now you know."

But I'm not that cynical, I actually think this is gonna work. And there's a little bit of skill here in navigating these waters. We have to kind of know how to—it's like shooting the rapids, we can't just throw the canoe into the river. We have to paddle.

My interview with Chris Taylor wrapped up, but that didn't end the conversation. I said I'd include it, so here you go: the terrible things that might happen if Wildman's Kickstarter fails.

“What if I tell people my wife’s gonna cut my balls off?"

 
CT: Well I hope this is an interesting story, and we certainly appreciate you guys covering it for next Monday. If it doesn’t fund, I’m moving to the mountains and you won’t ever hear from me again. Just FYI.

Oh, okay. So you’ll become this magical game designer hermit who people will travel to--climb the mountain--to receive your advice?

CT: Yeah. And Peter Molyneux said if he didn't reach his Kickstarter funding, his wife is gonna divorce him. I’ll just say this right now: it’s going to be far, far, far worse for me.

Oh, okay, sounds bad. I’ll keep that in mind. But I do wonder if Peter Molyneux might overstate things sometimes.

CT: [Laughs] That’s what I’m going for. If it worked for him, it might work for me. What if I tell people my wife’s gonna cut my balls off? How about that?

That definitely will get people to help fund--or not. Maybe they’ll just be curious to see what happens?

CT: Oh! They’re like, “You know, I was going to fund it, but then he said his wife is gonna cut his balls off and that is just more interesting to us!”

Now that’s the kind of story I want to read about! Actually, no, no I wouldn’t like to read about that. It makes me cringe and I hope that everything attached to you remains safe.

CT: You know, thank you very much. My BALLS thank you.

You know, what? They’re welcome. They belong where they are.

CT: I think this is my first interview in 25 years where my balls feel like they’re part of the interview.

Yeah, they really are now. You know I have to lead this story with "my wife will cut my balls off."

CT: [Laughs] You know what? I’m- I’m okay with that.

Alright, you know, I think if you want an attention-grabbing headline, you've just made it for me.

CT: You know what’s funny about that? It’s your job to grab those with the- and it’s my job to, well, it’s my job to get grabbed--by god, it sounds like the balls are back in the story.

We’re both grabbing! I have to grab attention, and you’re--well, you have to get attention and then ask for a bunch of money. That’s trickier.

CT: And if my balls get grabbed in the middle of it all, somewhere, like accidentally in the shuffle-

Sure!

CT: Hey, all the better!

No problem!

CT: Tyler, thank you.

Thank you so much, Chris.