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Total Annihilation: The Story So Far

By Geoffrey Keighley

 The Designer
 The Development
 The Release
 The Split
 The Future
Behind the Games

Cavedog's Total Annihilation, winner of GameSpot's editor's and reader's choice award for Best Game of 1997, is one of the most significant computer games released in the latter half of this decade. Featuring innovative technology, a unique and creative design, and some of the most addictive gameplay ever seen in the real-time-strategy category, Total Annihilation took the gaming world by storm upon its release late last year.

But as it turns out, that was only the beginning of the story. For amidst the astounding sales success, widespread critical acclaim, and mass popularity, a breach was forming within Cavedog, one that would eventually lead to the departure of Chris Taylor, the brilliant young designer who conceived Total Annihilation and led the team that brought it life. The future of the series seemed suddenly in jeopardy - and countless questions about the game, Taylor, and Cavedog were left unanswered.

Until now. GameSpot is proud to present the definitive history of Total Annihilation. We begin with a complete, in-depth account of the game's conception, development, and release. Next, we bring you the rest of the story, giving you the inside scoop on the reasons behind Taylor's departure from Cavedog as well as a penetrating look at the future of the series, including never-before-revealed details about Total Annihilation: Kingdoms and Total Annihilation 2. Here's a look at what's inside.

Chapter One - The Designer
Meet Chris Taylor, game designer, visionary, and the man responsible for Total Annihilation. Find out how he went from bending pipes in a plastic factory to creating one of the most innovative strategy games ever made. Sit in on his first meeting with the legendary Ron Gilbert, founder of Humongous Entertainment and Cavedog and learn why Gilbert chose Taylor to design his company's first mainstream game.

Chapter Two - The Development
Get the never-before-told inside story on the creation of Total Annihilation, starting with the first technology demos and ending with the frantic rush to bring the project to completion.

Chapter Three - The Release
Experience the tsunami-like success of Total Annihilation. Learn about the development of TA's innovative online marketing scheme, how Cavedog got its name, and what the designers think they could have done better.

Chapter Four - The Split
The world of Total Annihilation is thrown into chaos as Taylor leaves Cavedog. For the first time ever, Taylor and Gilbert speak on the record regarding the breakup and the reasons behind it.

Chapter Five - The Future
Get the scoop on what's next for Cavedog, including new details on Total Annihilation: Kingdoms and Ron Gilbert's first public comments about Total Annihilation 2. Also find out what Taylor has planned for his new company, Gas Powered Games.

Chapter One - The Designer