The long awaited remake of the first, and funniest, squad-based real-time strategy battle game!
GENERAL CHAOS II: SONS OF CHAOS
by Brian Colin
General Chaos II: Sons of Chaos is the long-awaited sequel to the cult hit Sega Genesis game General Chaos. It's an intense, squad-based multiplayer slapstick action/strategy/tactics game, just like the original...but this time, it has a vastly improved control scheme, huge 3-D environments, tons of weapon upgrades and much, much more!
WHO AM I?
I'm Brian Colin, and I've been conceiving, designing and developing video games for over 30 years now.
The story of General Chaos and the story of my company, Game Refuge Inc. are really one and the same.
A LITTLE HISTORY
I started out as an animator at Chicago-based arcade manufacturer Bally/Midway back in 1982, and was lucky enough to be able to help create a number of games that are now considered game industry classics.
I developed a pretty good track record during that decade; first as an artist/animator on games like Discs of Tron and Spy Hunter, and later as a principal designer/artist/animator on a number successful original concepts like Rampage, Xenophobe, Arch Rivals and Pigskin. Designing for the arcade was excellent experience; we were able to make the kinds of games we wanted to play, and the quarters in the coin-box provided direct and unequivocal feedback from our intended audience.
Still; I was quite surprised when a producer from a major California software publisher contacted me out of the blue in the fall of 1991 and, after several weeks of discussing a variety of possible options, presented me with a “once in a lifetime” offer: suggesting that if I started my own company, his employer (Electronic Arts) would do whatever game I wanted to do, sight unseen!
It took some doing, but I convinced my friend and coworker, game designer/programmer Jeff Nauman to come on board, and together we took a “leap of faith” and quit our jobs, traveled across the country and pitched an unconventional multiplayer cartoon battle-game to a roomful of total strangers.
Fortunately, they loved the game, (or at least pretended to), and, except for a brief moment when someone asked if we’d consider making it a Gang War, (we wouldn’t), the meeting was a smooth and thoroughly enjoyable experience. At that moment, both General Chaos and Game Refuge were born.
General Chaos went on to be one of EA’s top original Sega Genesis titles, and Game Refuge went on to make many, many more games for Coin Op, Console, Casino, Social and Touchscreen/Mobile manufacturers and publishers.Currently, I have nearly 80 titles under my belt.
And yet, to date, I still get more fan mail for General Chaos than for any other video game I've ever done.
WHY A REMAKE?
1) We've been dreaming about remaking General Chaos for years. As you might expect, we have a lot of great (some would say outrageous) ideas for expanding the General Chaos universe with new features, new weapons, new characters and much more.
2) Even if we didn’t have a ton of new stuff to add, (which we do), the hardware and memory limitations of the 16-bit era meant that we couldn’t really “do justice” to the original game concept back in the day. We’d love to re-introduce this unique game play mechanic to today’s players as it was meant to be played… taking full advantage of Touchscreen controls, dynamic 3-D environments and online/LAN multiplayer modes.
3) But mainly, as noted above, we want to do a remake because of requests from hardcore General Chaos fans who have been begging us for years to do it all over again. If you're reading this, I hope you're one of them!
In a nutshell: “Creative Freedom.”
The phrase “Independent Developer” is misleading. It suggests a kind of pure, lofty, artistic autonomy… free from the crass commercial considerations of the big impersonal Game Giants. But the truth is: the Independent Developer has clients, and a client’s agenda always comes first. Which is not a bad thing; we typically treat each client’s particular agenda as just another part of the diverse set of creative challenges that make every game’s design process fun and interesting.
Still, I’ve often reminisced about the days when the player’s agenda was our only agenda.
So when, in a recent brainstorming session, a co-worker casually referred to Kickstarter as a environment in which the player IS the client, virtually everyone’s face blossomed into a delighted smile of realization at the same instant… (harp glissando) ...and we immediately began drafting the campaign proposal you’re currently reading.
WHAT WE'VE DONE SO FAR
We've got a feature-packed design document that's complete and ready for implementation. Though not yet an “official’ GRI project, we've already begun creating assets and experimenting with some of our new movement and dynamic camera enhancements in our spare time. (You’ll see bits and pieces of this in the video.)
WHAT WE HAVE PLANNED
In the original General Chaos, the Red army (under the command of the wizened General Havoc) charged into battle against the forces of the Blue army (led by the haughty General Chaos). Every conflict was confined to a single screen, with both sides fielding a squadron of up to five soldiers, each with unique weapon types and funny animation gags. Players could control all five soldiers in the same battle by using the Genesis D-pad (to move an onscreen cursor) and buttons (to switch characters, move to the cursor &/or attack).
In Sons of Chaos, the armies of Chaos and Havoc are at it again...but this time, you'll be able to just touch on a soldier and then touch on the spot where you want him to go.We plan to add multiplayer modes that use online and LAN connectivity to give each player his own dynamic, scrolling 3-D view of the battlefield. New weapons, new squad formation and movement options, new characters (including NPCs)...the list goes on and on!
The Core Game is primarily a reinvention of the fast paced original, but we’re using today’s technology to make it easier & more FUN to play. It will have a simple, intuitive Touchscreen (or Mouse & Keyboard) controls. Single Player, Multi-Player LAN / Multi-Player Internet game play options. Featured dynamic cameras that follow the cartoony combatants across scrolling, interactive, 3D environments.
All of the original characters are back; only more versatile, smarter and funnier. We’re increasing the number of Levels, adding new Squad configurations and Squad Movement options, and there will be plenty of new Terrain nuances just waiting to trip up the unwary...
Some players loved the game's unique Squad-based control mechanic, some preferred the more conventional method of controlling individual Commandos directly. Both control methods will be back, along with a brand new, intuitive Leadership Mode that will let you direct an entire squad's movement through the direct control of the Squad leader!
Assuming that we can "pull the trigger" in October, we see this as a nine-month project, start to finish. At minimum, we’re re-making the Core game to take advantage of today’s technology. Ideally, our “Grand Vision” includes everything listed in the Stretch Goals below, and probably a bit more.
The details about our Pledge Rewards can be found in the column on the right, but the pictures below might give you a better idea as to what things look like...
Note that some of the Rewards shown above are prototypes, the production items may differ slightly in appearance.
Note also, that all Pledge Rewards that include a Digital Download of the Finished Game have a delivery date of July of 2014, but most of the physical components, (clothing, toys & other swag) will ship in November of 2013.
I think everyone understands that, the more we raise, the more we can do. But, honestly, the concept of chopping up our “Grand Vision” into individual “Stretch Goals” seems a bit alien and arbitrary to me. (I mean, is an Armored Infantry Vehicle really “better” than a cybernetic UberDood? …Or a Compound Bow that shoots exploding Chickens? )
Having said that, I think it’s important that we share the full extent of our creative vision with you, the client. So I simply took “the big picture” and chopped it into manageable chunks. Hope it helps.
Know this: We’re going to do our best to do everything on this list regardless of how much we raise. But the more we raise, the more people I can put on the project, and the greater the likelihood that it all gets in.
$125,000- The Core Game$135,000- New Squad Movement & Squad Formation Options
Allowing Players to Define and Save their own Squad Battle Formations. Splitting Squads into separate, smaller mini squads. Dynamic (Read: Destroyable!) Terrain - opening up a wide range of movement possibilities
$150,000- New Close Combat & Medic Options
Close Combat will be expanded to include a greater variety of “Fighting Game” options. Players will have greater control over their Medics, who can be deployed to aid both the Fallen & the Walking Wounded.
$165,000- Touchscreen Tablet Port
$175,000- “General Orders”
Rules of Engagement - Allowing adjustments to the Squad’s “default” Standing Orders, Movement Rate(s), Response Time(s), Attitude Adjustment(s), and Firing Option(s) prior to each Battle. Battle Cries - “Heat of Battle” Squad command options.
$185,000- Weapon Upgrades, Supplies & Provisions
Multiple Weapon Upgrade Options for each Grunt Type. A variety of tactical gear and equipment choices with performance enhancing capabilities.
$200,000- Grunt’s Eye View
The Player would be able to switch between the all-encompassing, overhead Battlefield View and a Ground Level View from the current Squad Leader’s perspective.
$225,000- New Grunt Character Classes
There are many contenders for these spots, but some of the candidates under consideration are: Sarge - an enhanced squad leader with a Shotgun, Sniper -an effective long-range assassin, UberDood - a cybernetic close-combat champion with iron fists, literally; and/or…?
$250,000-iPad & Mac Support
$275,000- War Chests
Plunder-based Economy - Each acquired Territory, Captured Enemy Solider Valuable Plunder Item picked up during battle adds wealth to the victor’s War Chest, which can be used for both temporal and permanent Squad upgrades. A good General recognizes that a prolonged engagement costs money.
$300,000- New Battlefield Victory Conditions - Variable Squad sizes
Battlefield Victories can now also be achieved by reducing the Opposing Force by XX%. Adding Surrender, Survivors and Prisoners of War. Players will be given the option to use battle survivors to temporarily increase the initial size of their Squad(s) in subsequent battles.
$325,000- Even More New Character Classes & NPCs
…Psyclops - a telekinetic armed with a Psychotronic Cannon, Skulker - a camouflage expert that can pass for anything from a thorn bush to a fire hydrant. We also want to add Non Player Characters such as Patrols of Roving Raw Recruits, Local Villagers and/or a Rebel Resistance that repel invading forces with a home turf advantage.
$350,000- Standing Armies & Reinforcements
Standing Army - built using accumulated Plunder. Reinforcements - additional squad that can be called upon as needed. Blitzkrieg - the victorious player charges adjoining territory without interruption. General Headquarters - Selectable secret location of the players' Capital City’s War Room
$375,000- War Correspondents - Video Battle Reports -
Dynamic, cinematic, battlefield “Camera Coverage” that allows Players to review entire Battles from a frontline Grunt’s perspective.
$425,000- Multi- Multiplayer Gaming
Multiverse Campaign Tracking -Players can maintain multiple persistent campaigns with their favorite opponents, picking up each new battle exactly where they left off. Multiplayer Team Campaigns - Cooperative Team Play Campaigns, with individuals fighting simultaneously in different areas against a common enemy. Multiplayer Free-for-all - We really, really want to allow Multiplayer Free-for-Alls that allow up to four different Players’ Armies (Red-Blue-Green-Purple?) to grapple for supremacy in a single territory!
$450,000- Vehicle Control
Fight for control of operational, if highly unusual Armored Infantry vehicles including: Squat Tanks, Dreadnaughts, Mono Choppers, Jet Zeppelins and, of course, Steve McQueen’s infamous barbed-wire-jumping motorcycle.
$500,000- New Multiplayer Game Modes:
Fun and addictive secondary game modes in the same package… i.e., Capture Flag, Full Contact Poker, etc…
$600,000- Console Port #1 - XBOX
The game has everything we want it to have. So the next logical step is to make it available on the popular XBOX home console system.
$700,000- Console Port #2 - PS
…Then make it available on the PlayStation.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The original General Chaos was the first game to be conceived, designed and produced by Game Refuge Inc., the company I founded in 1992. Since then, we've made over 50 games on a variety of platforms for over a dozen different clients. As our newest (and most attractive!) client, I hope you don't think I'm being overconfident when I say that I believe the risk to be minimal… we know how to make video games, and more importantly, we know how to make them FUN.
We have the full support and approval (& appropriate legal niceties) of the original publisher, so that’s not an issue.
Experience has taught me that, when everyone on the team is this excited about a project, the biggest challenge is going to be forcing them to go home and get some sleep at the end of every day. But when you’re doing something you love, lack of sleep is a hardship to be savored.
In other words, the risks are slight, and the challenges are welcome!
A lot of the specifics about the platform(s), console progression &/or “ideal” distribution channels really depend on how big of a project this ends up being. At this point, we’re primarily interested in defining the Scope of the Game…Where we end up depends on the amount of interest & support we get for our "Grand Vision" over the next 27 days.
…But don’t hesitate to ask. We're not kidding when we say we view our backers as our Client. Requests from our supporters will absolutely influence where we take this game.
Nope, the game development phase hasn’t actually started yet. Only after the project officially launches in October will we be able to commence creating a playable game.