By Joseph Leray
Show of hands: how many of you are playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown? How many of you know that, before joining Firaxis to co-design the original XCOM, Julian Gollop was best known for Chaos: Battle of Wizards, a turn-based ZX Spectrum fantasy strategy game?
Gollop (relatively) recently quit his job designing mobile ports of Ubisoft franchises like Ghost Recon and Assassin’s Creed to work on his own projects, namely a sequel to Chaos, tentatively titled Chaos Reborn.
According to his devblog (and you should check it out, if only to marvel at the typographical choices), Chaos Reborn is being made in Unity3D, and as such will be “as multi-platform as possible.” Current options include iOS, PC, and Mac, with an eye toward Android, Linux, and Ouya (!!) ports.
As “part remake and part sequel,” Chaos Reborn will feature a full-scale single-player campaign as well as arena multiplayer for up to eight players. The plan as of now is to include asynchronous and pass-and-play modes. The single-player “Kingdoms of Chaos” shakes down like this: as a newly appointed wizard, players will be tasked with hunting down and destroying the prosaically named Wizard King.
Here’s the rub, though: Chaos is a turn-based game, and after every turn, the Wizard King gets stronger. I never played the original Chaos, but I can already see how this mechanic would be stressful: do I level up a few more times, or should I rush ahead to fight the Wizard King before he gets any stronger?
Even if a sword and sorcery throwback from the 80s doesn’t sound like your thing, Gollop’s blog is a wealth of neat game design insights. “So the big idea with the “Kingdoms of Chaos mode is that it is randomly, algorithmically generated. It will need enough elements and variety to keep it interesting, but should have plenty of replay value,” he writes. “There should be an element of strategy and deduction in figuring out which battles to fight and where to go.”
Here he is again on Chaos’ randomness: “Randomness does inject a fair dose of tension and fun into a game. It also means that you have rarely deterministically lost a game before it is over. In Chaos, there is usually everything to play for.”
“Your opponent may have a dragon bearing down on your wizard, but then you might just be able to slip your eagle behind him and slaughter the dragon summoner before your wizard gets fried.”
There you have it, folks: definitive proof that Chaos Reborn is going to be amazing.