Chris Taylor says that laying off the majority of Gas Powered Games employees may have saved the game and the studio.
In what is possibly the strangest Kickstarter launch ever, Gas Powered Games boss Chris Taylor announced the action-RPG Wildman and then, a week later, laid off almost the entire development team. But he didn't pull the plug on the Kickstarter; instead, he asked supporters and fans whether he should continue the campaign and rehire the team if it succeeds, or shut it down right away.
"Help me make a tough decision," he said in a video update. "Vote with your comments, we'll tabulate them. Do we kill the campaign, or do we keep it going? It's up to you."
Following a surge of support from the community and a big push in donations, Taylor revealed in a Reddit AMA last night that the decision had been made. "We're much smaller now, but we're still here, and we're going to see the KS campaign through," Taylor said. "What's weird, is that I think GPG would have truly been dead if I hadn't laid off the team."
He also dismissed accusations that he engineered the situation to attract attention and, one would assume, the sympathy vote, although he did say that all the publicity had an unexpected upside. "The entire industry has been alerted to what happened, and we've never received more attention from companies that are recruiting people," he continued. "In other words, by getting media attention, we have the best chance to find jobs for those who are moving on. It's really a win-win situation."
Wildman enjoyed a big bounce over the weekend and has now broken the $300,000 mark, but it's still well short of its $1.1 million goal and Taylor said that even with the big jump in support, the situation doesn't look great. "What became obvious by day 4, is that the campaign was going so poorly, there was no way it was going to happen," he said. "People argued this with me in the media a bit, saying it was too early to judge, but consider this, even with this weekend's surge, we're still not doing very well... can you imagine what it would have looked like without the big push from the media covering the layoff?"
Regardless of how it works out, Taylor expressed his gratitude to everyone who has backed the Wildman Kickstarter in a separate statement released today. "The outpouring of support this past few days has been unlike anything I could have imagined," he said. "I can't thank everyone enough, and can only hope that one day I will return the favor to each and every person who reached out to help."
Source: Gas Powered Games