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.'”
Scott Bandy has been appointed general manager of Wargaming Seattle.
Correction, 8:31 a.m.: Chris Taylor launched Dungeon Siege II in 2005. Obsidian Entertainment handled Dungeon Siege III. Taylor served as an adviser for the third game.