Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
August 22, 2014
arrowPress Releases
August 22, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


30 years of creating strategy games with X-COM's Julian Gollop Exclusive
30 years of creating strategy games with  X-COM 's Julian Gollop
February 25, 2014 | By Mike Rose

February 25, 2014 | By Mike Rose
Comments
    4 comments
More: Console/PC, Indie, Design, Business/Marketing, Exclusive



For 23 years, game designer Julian Gollop worked for himself, and created what he wanted. After spending six years at Ubisoft creating games for other people, he's now ready to get back to doing it for himself again.

Gollop is the very definition of a video game industry veteran. The British designer started out creating tabletop strategy games for Games Workshop, before moving on to strategy games on the ZX Spectrum, the Amiga, Amstrad, Commodore 64, and eventually the Windows PC.

His credentials include creating the X-COM series, while also founding Mythos Games and Codo Technologies. In 2006 he decided to join up with Ubisoft, and lead a team to create the under-appreciated Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars for the Nintendo 3DS.

But after work was completed on Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, Gollop decided he'd had enough. "I wanted to get back to making the games that I'm actually good at making and I am interested in making," he tells me. "I did manage to make a cool turn-based strategy while at Ubisoft, but it seemed that I would be unlikely to make such a game again if I remained there."

"I did learn a lot, working for a big publisher," he adds, "but it wasn't exactly my most creative period."

chaos 1.jpgAfter Gollop left Ubisoft at the end of 2012, he founded a new company, simply called Gollop Games. Since then he's been piecing together a sequel to his 1985 ZX Spectrum game Chaos: The Battle of Wizards, and he's finally ready to show the fruits of his labor.

Chaos Reborn is set to be a turn-based strategy game with RPG elements, playing out in both single player and online multiplayer. Gollop is planning to take the in-development game to Kickstarter next month.

"Chaos had some unique qualities," he says of the original. "It was an effective multiplayer game, with up to eight players on one computer, and despite the fact that it was turn-based, it was still quick playing and fun. The randomness meant that every game was quite different and excitingly chaotic."

In the years that followed the 1985 release, Gollop received numerous requests from other developers to remake the game. He always consented, and as such there are over 30 completed Chaos remakes out there. Now the designer is ready to try his hand at his own remake.

"I did learn a lot, working for a big publisher, but it wasn't exactly my most creative period."


With this updated take on the concept, Gollop is aiming to both capture nostalgia in former Chaos fans, while also modernizing the idea for a fresh audience.

"The core mechanics of the wizard battles are almost identical to the original game, and there will be a 'classic Chaos mode' which closely matches the workings of the original game," he explains. "The presentation has been remarkably spruced up, but still keeping the mono-color themes of the creature."

New features including a massive single-player mode in which you explore the Realms of Chaos, and various online multiplayer modes including tournaments, rankings and co-op play.

Now into his 30th year creating strategy games, Gollop has seen the genre evolve rapidly. Of modern strategy games, he says that many fall down from the very beginning of development.

"I think the biggest problem is an inadequate preproduction phase where the core gameplay has not been proven with an effective prototype," he reasons. "The key for building a good prototype is to 'find the fun' quickly and test it regularly with people who haven't been exposed to it before."

chaos 2.jpg"Too much focus on design and planning without something testable and provable is definitely the biggest mistake, in my view," he adds. "It's probably no surprise that I am not a big fan of large game design documents, especially early in the development cycle."

Which modern strategy games does he enjoy, then? The latest XCOM team will be happy to hear that the man who started it all is quite the fan of the updated series.

"I think the latest XCOM stands out as a remarkable triumph for turn-based strategy games," he says. "Apart from this I can't think of any direct influence on my latest work. I have taken an interest in some of the rogue-like games, such as Hoplite and 868-HACK. I am also intrigued by Spelunky with its random levels and daily challenge. Chaos Reborn will use a lot of procedurally generated content, which is to some extent inspired by these games."


Related Jobs

Retro Studios - Nintendo
Retro Studios - Nintendo — Austin, Texas, United States
[08.22.14]

Senior Tools Engineer
Retro Studios - Nintendo
Retro Studios - Nintendo — Austin, Texas, United States
[08.22.14]

AI Engineer
Retro Studios - Nintendo
Retro Studios - Nintendo — Austin, Texas, United States
[08.22.14]

FX Artist
Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment — Irvine, California, United States
[08.22.14]

Compatibility Analyst










Comments


Tony Dormanesh
profile image
Sounds cool, good luck!

alexis bonte
profile image
Julian Gollop really is a great person and game designer I do think its a pity we did not see more X-Com games from him although hats off to the X-com Enemy unknown team who did a great version of it.

Really keen to see Chaos Reborn. We are working ourselves on a multiplayer tactical strategy game "Tactical Heroes" for Tablets and keen to see the genre grow again and capture old and new audiences.

Jorge Molinari
profile image
So the man who invented X-COM, loves the new incarnation of X-COM, loves Spelunky, and is working on a new game that is influenced by bothÖ Those are my two all-time favorite single-player games. God bless this man. I need to let this news sink in.

Okay. My only gaming platforms at the moment and for the foreseeable future are Mac, PSVita (both unpopular, I know) and iOS. And Iíve only ever backed a single Kickstarter project, which was not a game (Hitfilm for Mac). But if this new project of his comes to any of those platforms, Iíll probably give Gollop a blank check for his game. I can see myself going for the higher Kickstater tiers for this game. God bless you Julian Gollop.

Mark Venturelli
profile image
Julian Gollop for president, who's with me o/

:p


none
 
Comment: