Wildman is a cancelled action/Real-Time Strategy/Role-Playing hybrid game developed by Gas Powered Games around 2012-2013 exclusively for the PC.
The game was set 200,000 years ago, in an alternate prehistory where animals and insects had evolved like humans towards civilization and technology as well as magic. You play as the Wildman (or Wildwoman) with the aim of conquering the various enemy civilizations that you were going to encounter.
It was officially revealed on January 14, 2013, with the launch of its Kickstarter as an “evolutionary” Action RPG”. Here is what we could read as main features:
“Wildman delivers an action-role-playing experience that only a developer like Gas Powered Games can deliver. Think of it as a spiritual successor to our classic PC game Dungeon Siege, with a twist.
This is what Wildman is all about:
Explore the World: Go on RPG Adventures in amazing and epic environments; discover secret dungeons; fight battles against rampaging hordes of monsters; find and equip new weapons and armor.
Evolve or Die: Steal technology from your defeated opponents and use it against them in future battles.
Smash and Destroy: Advanced physics and destructible environments deliver highly visceral (and bloody) combat.
Go to War: Build your army and fight against opposing champions armies for great rewards in hand-crafted War Zones.
Imagine a game where you control a single hero—the “Wildman”—dropped into the middle of a War Zone. The battle starts. Your own army begins to engage the approaching enemy.
You support your troops with your own combat abilities and skills. You shape-shift into new forms that grant you new abilities. You upgrade your armies with new technology. You construct defenses. Your opponent switches tactics; you reconfigure your army to counter.
You push the enemy back to their citadel, their home base. You face your opponent’s champion. You each rally your troops for support. You execute your special abilities with precision. Your opponent is devastated.
You survey the battlefield: the bodies strewn on the ground, the trees burned down and smoldering, the buildings turned to rubble. You collect your rewards. You evolve.
Victory is yours. For now.
Now imagine that between these War Zone battles you can go on role-playing adventures. You can explore fantastical environments. You can discover ancient dungeons full of mystery and treasure. You can earn new skills. You can discover and equip new weapons and armor. You can collect materials. You can craft new items. You can fight relentless onslaughts of men and monsters.
Wildman has fast-paced combat and deep role-playing that rewards strategic thinking. The more you play, the greater your power.
Wildman represents the union of our experience working on pure RPG and RTS games, and we’re pulling some of the best features from our past games into the Wildman experience.
From Dungeon Siege: The core action-RPG experience. Equip weapons and gear, cast spells. Fight monsters. Level-up. Find loot.
From Supreme Commander: The core RTS experience. Create armies. Explore a tech tree that lets you customize your hero and armies. Adjust your strategy on-the-fly.
From Demigod: You don’t fight alone in Wildman. Waves of allies fight alongside you in the War Zones as you push the battle ahead, seize key control points, and destroy the enemy citadels.
Wildman is exciting because it’s something new, but it’s also reminiscent of these games we’ve made and loved. We want to make this game, and we have the right people to do it.”
“The battles against other tribes and races will be a combination of MOBA gameplay, where you steer your hero around the battlefield killing creeps and acquiring resource, and RTS mechanics as you spend those resources on buildings and advanced units. While your spawn buildings will naturally create cannon fodder at whatever is the baseline tech level of your tribe, you can also spend gold to churn out advanced units like catapults or powerful longbowmen instead of the basic archers. These forces will spawn for as long as your gold holds out, so you can basically control where and when to start launching more powerful creep waves.
“When you defeat [the enemy], your quest reward is to pluck one of their technologies from them,” Taylor said. “So it’s got kind of a Civilization vibe. It can be passive technology, where it applies to everyone, and as soon as you get it you’ve got it across the board. Or it could be active technology where it could be… complex catapults. They’re expensive, so we can’t just turn them out by the hundreds.”
Taylor wants the war zone combat to be intense. He wants players to be turning off the ringer on their phones and sitting on the edge of their seat. But he also wants players to be able to relax after the battle with an adventure.
“Think Dungeon Siege or Diablo. But this is more of an overland adventure. You’re travelling, expanding out into the world. The battles are not as frequent, it doesn’t feel like you’re just going from whacking skull after skull, like some sort of zombie apocalypse where they’re just standing around waiting for you to come along and pop ‘em on the head. That’s almost arcade. We want a little less arcade, we want a little more sense that you really are adventuring.”
Gas Powered are asking for $1.1 million, though obviously they hope for more. Taylor says that GPG have already spent close over a million dollars just laying the groundwork for Wildman, and there are a number of features they would love to include if they achieve greater funding, like PvP multiplayer. But at its heart, Wildman is a single-player game with co-op focused multiplayer.”
However, only four days after the launch of the crowdfunding campaign, Gas Powered Games was forced to lay off 40 employees following an increasingly difficult financial situation, as we can read on Kotaku. Asking the backers if he had to continue the campaign, Chris Taylor spoke that the course of the Kickstarter would decide the fate of the studio on Gamasutra:
“The studio is still operating, but we had to slim WAY down to conserve cash reserves,” studio head Chris Taylor confirmed to Gamasutra, following earlier reports from Kotaku. As Taylor told us earlier this week, the studio is betting all it has on Wildman, and has little funds left to continue operating. “We spent all the last dough that we’ve had, and the last several months working on it. So we’re betting the company on it,” he said.”
Sadly, on February 11, the studio decided to cancel the Kickstarter after collecting 504,120 US$ on a goal of 1 100 000 US$, cancelling Wildman in the process. Still on Kotaku, we could read:
We have some news today. We are canceling the Wildman Kickstarter.
At this point, it makes sense for us to focus our attention on other ways to keep Gas Powered Games running. Unfortunately, we are unable to share any specifics in public. When we have news to share, we will be posting it on our site. If you want status updates, or if you want to continue discussing Wildman and/or this Kickstarter, please consider migrating over to forums.gaspowered.com.
We are profoundly grateful to those of you who backed this project and Gas Powered Games. Your passion and hard work put us in a position to write this exciting new chapter in the history of GPG.”
Wildman looked quite interesting, though, sadly, we will never get a chance to play it. Currently, Chris Taylor worked on it’s new game, Intergalactic Space Empire, within his new company Kanoogi.