Despite being one of the best-known names in strategy, Chris Taylor has had a challenging five years. The death of Age of Empires Online, the failure of the Wildman Kickstarter, the end of Gas Powered Games—there have been a lot of lows. But now Taylor is back after a stint at Wargaming, and he’s making a new RTS.
"My goal is to put RTSes on more screens than ever,” Taylor told Eurogamer. “I want to move the football way down the field. I want to change, fundamentally, not only the way we play RTS but the way we access the RTS experience.”
But what does that actually mean? The concept is of a true multi-platform game—not a game that simply launches on a variety of platforms, but one that can be played on PC one minute, and then continued on a phone the next.
"What if I told you you could be playing on your dual-screen PC with your quad-core whatever and when you had to run to a meeting you could continue playing on your phone, because you want to, because you're dying to, because you don't want to have to wait to get back?
And this is where things get complicated. Strategy games on PC are completely different animals from their mobile counterparts. It’s a problem Taylor recognises, and the solution is to make each version a different experience, even though it will be a continuous one.
"The way the design works is when you're on PC, it's going to feel like a PC game. When you're on a mobile device, it's going to have a slightly different method of interface to serve you on that device, on that screen. That might even mean the speed of the game changes. It has to change: you cannot make one experience and cram it onto every device."
It isn’t just the design that’s bold, either. Taylor doesn’t want to deal with Steam or GOG, and hopes, instead, to use his own website. And while it will be free-to-play, he has some ideas about how to completely change the business model.
"When another developer sees what I've done, and I mean this, they're going to say, 'Ooh that's really interesting—I should do something like that.' I'm going to set up a bunch of stuff they're going to want to leverage, and I know that starts to sound like a platform because maybe it is."
As for specifics, he’s keeping quiet right now, and the new studio isn’t actually up and running yet.