Nov 29, 2007
Most developers tend to be a little on the quiet side. Chris Taylor is a glorious extrovert, trading obscene jokes with the worst of them, carelessly mentioning games he hasn’t announced yet and casually trusting no one will abuse his confidence.
He’s also been involved with some of the most interesting games of recent years: Total Annihilation, Dungeon Siege and Supreme Commander. He contains contradictions: in our half-hour with him, he both expressed the opinion that the need for constant total reinvention is something we have to move past while rapturously extolling The New. Two things are clear: Chris is fun to be around and Chris thinks a lot. At the moment, he’s thinking about the newly released expansion pack to Supreme Commander, Forged Alliance.
Expansion packs and semi-standalone sequels - the 1.5 thing - are an odd phenomenon. You don’t see that in any other medium, do you?
Chris Taylor: You see, one of the problems with a full sequel is people want a brand new game. But these days... well, I was playing BioShock. To be honest with you, I got all the way through BioShock and I don’t want Ken Levine and the gang at Irrational to go away for four years to create another one. It’s too long. I’d rather have something in 18 months or a year, like Valve are doing with their episodes. It really is one of those things: do we have to go off and reinvent a brand new game, or do something closer to what is an old school expansion pack but with new units and content? For example, if we did Supreme Commander 2, would we throw away all of the factions, and create a new story with four new factions you’ve never seen before?