Gaming veteran Chris Taylor leaves Wargaming to start independent studio

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Above: Chris Taylor, circa 2009, at Gas Powered Games.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Chris Taylor, one of PC gaming’s well-known game designers, has left World of Tanks publisher Wargaming to strike out on his own.

The move is a surprise for a developer who had been out of the public eye for a while, but Taylor said it was time for him to move on, according to an exclusive chat with GamesBeat. But the departure raises some questions about what Taylor was working on before he left. Some players no doubt expected Taylor to produce a new version of Total Annihilation or some kind of real-time strategy game, as Taylor is known for. He’s still going to make games, but not for a big publisher.

Taylor has been making games for decades. He started working on games in the 1980s at Distinctive Software in Burnaby, Canada. His first game was Hardball II, released in 1989. He moved to Seattle in 1996 to work at Cavedog Entertainment, where he was the design and project leader for Total Annihilation. That game — where you massed tanks and other modern weapons to overwhelm enemies — defined Taylor’s reputation in the real-time strategy genre.

He founded his own company, Gas Powered Games, in 1998. He created the action role-playing game Dungeon Siege, and he released its sequel in 2005. He created the Supreme Commander RTS title in 2007, pioneering the concept of “strategic zoom,” where you could zoom in on the sci-fi combat and then zoom out to absorb the strategic battle. He also launched Supreme Commander 2 in 2010 and Dungeon Siege II in 2005.

In 2013, Taylor embarked on a new project dubbed Wildman. He tried to raise money for it, but he shut down the Kickstarter campaign when it became evident he wouldn’t be able to raise the $1.1 million he needed for the project. After that, he sold Gas Powered Games to Wargaming.net, the maker of World of Tanks. Taylor operated a studio in Seattle for Wargaming. Fans speculated he would do a big tank battle RTS.

But Taylor has other things in mind. He left three weeks ago and took his family on a vacation.

“Between Gas Powered Games and Wargaming, it was an eighteen year stretch and I wore myself out and didn’t realize it,” Taylor told GamesBeat. “I’ve decided i need to take a few months off, regroup, and recharge before I dive into my next thing.”

That next thing is going to be a smaller indie studio. And Taylor has also been making pottery on the side since 2011. Taylor declined to comment on the specific reason for leaving Wargaming and what he was working on at the company.

In a statement, a spokesman for Wargaming said, “Wargaming can confirm that Chris Taylor, general manager of Wargaming Seattle, has resigned from his position. We thank Chris for his passion and excitement, where he was instrumental in growing our Seattle team into a world class developer. As head of development Matias Myllyrinne has put it, ‘Chris is a seasoned leader and one of a kind creative visionary whose projects inspired a whole generation of people to pursue a career in video games. He has laid down the foundations for Wargaming Seattle. One behalf of everyone at Wargaming, I’d like to thank Chris for his many contributions over the years and wish him all the best in his new endeavors.’”

17 thoughts on “Gaming veteran Chris Taylor leaves Wargaming to start independent studio

            1. I imagine it’s because he was in WGs employment. I don’t even know what they had him doing there honestly so I’m not fussed that he’s left. I hope he goes and makes something along the lines of SupCom(FA) again.

              Liked by 1 person

      1. Total annihilation is released by WG on Steam for the price of a bag of chips. Def worth looking into when the Xmas sales starts on Steam. It was decades a head of its time. And has aged rather well. Works fine with Win 10 and the game works with 4K with no need to mod it out of the box.

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  1. oh wow supreme commander is a very awesome RTS it rivals C&C generals awesome really supreme commander 2 not so much but the first SC was 10/10 fun for me

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Supcom2 was destroyed because Chris Taylor didn’t really have a say in it. The publisher had a heavy hand in making it significantly dumbed down. Would have been a fine RTS if they chose a different name so it wouldn’t be compared to the first masterpiece

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      1. kinda reminds me of warframe Dark Sector was sapose to be warframe in a sence but the publisher said fuck your idea an make OUR idea an thats basicly how dark sector became then took that concept to make one of the best F2P on the market

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        1. Welp, Warframe is the future of Dark Sector universe of unspecified time.
          And it is indeed one of the best.
          But the horrid grind and connection problems plague the game to its very core.

          Probably only game where I spent money on cosmetics😀

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      2. Square Enix is notorious for loving dem consoles, and did everything to make SupCom 2 console friendly.

        Hence the reduction in map sizes and massive scale of battles.

        Gone were were the 3 tiers of technology that was apparently (lol) confusing for players (I really wonder which players… :^) ).
        And of course the publishers being Japanese like things that go a bit overboard in the style department. While Supcom 1 was never really subtle, especially in the experimental units, I don’t think the Western publisher would have accepted a giant wolf/dinosaur robot/alien hybrid unit like in SupCom2.

        Blame the stupid console-orientation and misguided publisher for the mess that was SupCom 2.

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  2. Cool, could he save this game from grace?
    Could he buy in to the PC version, split it from Minsk and continue as a separate licensed development branch with it’s own independent balance team (vehicle), map design team and marketing strategy team?

    That would be on my ultimate Christmas wish list ghehe. One can only dream.

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  3. I remember everyone was hyped as fuck when he announced that he was joining WG then there were absolutely no news about what he was doing so people kinda forgot he was with WG and now everybody is like “Oh yeah, I remember now this guy was working with WG and now he is leaving, cool.”

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  4. Either WG did not use him for anything. Or he was not allowed to use his creative mind the right way. Either way I’m happy he left and hope he goes back to doing what he does best. Love every single game he has had a say in. As in not Supreme commander 2. As that game was 100 step backwards vs the first game on even the Annihilation series. Even the first Annihilation game had maps that were 4 times bigger. Huge battles was kinda what he did.

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