Gamers raise new questions about Wild West Online’s credentials and connections

If there’s one thing that MMO fans have learned (and re-learned) over the years, it’s that it’s not a great idea to take things at face value when it comes to upcoming games. A healthy dose of skepticism is useful to keep one from getting burned by developers and studios who might make outlandish claims and expect them to be accepted.

So as you read this investigative piece at Kotaku that questions the validity and backing of Wild West Online, perhaps it’s useful as a reminder that we should be skeptical until a company and its product are proven.

The article in question raises a few concerns over Wild West Online, an online western sandbox that appeared out of nowhere a few months ago and is being developed by a studio that didn’t seem to exist much prior to that. It digs up some circumstantial evidence that hints of a link between WWO and Free Reign Entertainment, the studio that put out Sergey Titov’s The War Z.

It’s important to note that the studio has previously adamantly denied involvement with Titov.

“Sergey Titov is not involved in the development of this game, but yes we use a game engine developed and supported by one of his companies,” a 612 Games representative told followers in May. After we followed up on the accusations made on Reddit last spring, the company made this statement to Massively OP directly:

“Yes, we are using the Nightshade game engine from Free Reign Entertainment. However, 612 Games is neither a subsidiary of Free Reign, nor financed by Free Reign or Sergey Titov. The team is focused on making a great game that will speak for itself, and now that we’ve addressed this topic we are going to return our focus to the game itself. Thank you for your continued support.”

It is nevertheless strange that 612 Games has a barebones website and has listed only three developers working on the project.

“Until further evidence turns up we have to take the company at its word,” Kotaku concludes. “The spaghetti tangle of company names and things like 612’s set-up may be a little unconventional, but there’s no harm in that.”

Wild West Online recently put out a gameplay video and is soliciting early bird purchases of the game, which it says will release later this year.

Source: Kotaku. Thanks Zander!
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75 Comments on "Gamers raise new questions about Wild West Online’s credentials and connections"

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Chris Brown-DeMoreno

What’s the problem? You might question their choice of game engines but other than that why is this even a story? Treat it like any other game by any other developer. When it comes out, you try it, read about it, watch videos on it, and if you don’t like it, you don’t play it. It’s like these sites are trying to make a scandal out of nothing, like AAA publishers haven’t pooped out games before.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

“It is nevertheless strange that 612 Games has a barebones website and has listed only three developers working on the project.”

Is that weird? Like the page says, those are the principals, the leads. Why would they list more than that? Do game company web sites usually list all the programmers and such working for them? I usually only see and hear about the directors as far as when I look at sites, if even that much. I’m unsure what you’re looking for exactly, obviously they’re not going to list every worker the company has. If they listed one more person as the music director would it have made it less of a conspiracy?

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Jennifer Yaner

“Remember. No preorders.”

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kody

Why on earth would anyone use that engine when there are better engines available? Unless there actually is a deeper connection than they’re claiming.

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Melissa McDonald

The video we saw of gameplay looks pretty good. That’s all I care about, not what engine is being used. How does it look, how does it play, that’s all that matters to me.

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primal

non of the engines like unreal, cryengine, unity etc have the netcode built in to handle an MMO so they would of had to create it themselves.

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Space Captain Zor

At this point I’ll wait for the “Let’s Play WWO” youtube videos before I spend any money. The setting is interesting but it’s not the Western I really *cough Firefly cough* want.

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mcsleaz

I won’t touch anything that evem remotely smells like Sergey Titov…………..This project REEKS of titov.

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Sorenthaz

I’m sort of leaning towards buying the $20 purchase just to get the exclusive stuff IF this turns out not to be as shady as it looks, but then I remembered that The War Z used similar cheap pricing for its pre order packs.

Not to mention none of the items in the packs have been really shown or explained. And there’s been heavy radio silence. So it’s hard not to be cautious about the game.

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Greaterdivinity

Damn, dd I miss some juicy comment-drama? I love comment drama : (

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zeko_rena

Dang it, I always miss comment drama :(

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Utakata

They’re still coming. You just might catch one before the next swing of the Bree’hammer. :)

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Paragon Lost

Heh, yep you did. Was of the crazed nature.

Siphaed
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Siphaed

If true, be prepared for this MMO’s varmint to rob your stagecoach blind!

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KumiKaze

When I heard they were using Titov’s engine, that is when I became very skeptical. There are 2 reasons I could see why they would use it over something like the Unreal Engine, Source, Unity, CryEngine, etc, is they got a far better deal than what the others offer or the net code is better. The first seems the most logical.

I hope it turns out great and everything is fine, but until more news and the game gets actually released, I will not be ordering it.

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bobfish

None of the off-the-shelf engines have great net code. Plus some of them have revenue share requirements once you reach a certain revenue amount, which is off-putting to indies.

I do wonder about the murky nature of the company setup though.

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Sorenthaz

From what I understand, Unreal would’ve required them to do the multiplayer components from scratch whereas this engine has most stuff from the getgo. Also of course money is an aspect as well.

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Jack Pipsam

I am skeptical of everything regardless of company size.

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Sally Bowls

Re Quality, absolutely! Fraud, not so much.

If Project Gorgon, or SC or Ashes of MLM or The Repop were to announce they spent all the money and were shutting down, one might say mean things about some people on social media, but there is nothing negative that would happen to the companies. They are bankrupt husks, immune to boycotts since they will never sell again. Companies without assets are effectively immune to lawsuits and fines.

If TenCent or EA or Activision-Blizzard stole ten million dollars from backers of a game, they do have assetts for lawsuits and fines and regardless the impact on their billions of dollars of other games would far outweigh a tiny ten or twenty million they stole

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Cypher

Yup! Steam taught me that lesson, and then some!

Rustyblades
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Rustyblades

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kody

It seems so fitting that the newspaper had something about snake oil.

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MesaSage

Justin, you’re being overly optimistic today. I don’t think MMO fans have learned nearly enough about healthy skepticism.

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Melissa McDonald

For what it’s worth, I have received exactly zero correspondence, update, or email of any kind from WWO since I purchased an early bird account June 7th.

Zander
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Zander

Learning more about this project, would refund and wait until launch.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

gotta love the smell of the weekly lynch mob.

what happens so many years from now and i and my partner finally officially announce our game and because we will have a bare bones site and no prior history as a company until we are ready to announce everyone freaks out about us?

does one need a company website to put together a game project now? or be in operation? i better tell my local mom and pop breakfast place they are shady without a website! XD

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Greaterdivinity

Are you going to promise the sun and moon with an insanely ambitious project? Will you have connections to known shady characters?

Any time you’re asking for folks to give you money, expect harsh, blunt scrutiny and suspicion. Folks are going to want to know who they’re giving their money to, what you’re going to do with it, and how qualified you are to deliver that vision.

If you’ve got a solid start, reasonable scope, and are asking for a reasonable amount of money (which is all insanely subjective, I’m well aware : P), you’ll avoid much of this kind of nonsense. But unfortunately, enough people have shat up crowdfunding that a lot of folks.

And no, a local mom and pop breakfast place is only asking for your money in return for food you literally just ate, not to start their restaurant. If they were asking for it to start their restaurant, you can bet your ass I’d expect them to have a website nowadays.

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primal

tbh this isnt an insanely ambitious game at all. all you have to do is watch the video to know the game is going be quite basic at least at launch. just hope they dont price it stupid at launch cus if they want any where close to full price its not going to be a full price game.

it might be entertaining but dont go expecting the quality of red dead in an mmo from these guys

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

idk what is insanely ambitious about this project? they’re a little vague but after that “gameplay” video you can see what they mean by what they’ve said.

and this isn’t crowdfunding? they are doing some presales but they decided to forgoe crowdfunding. htey literally decided they would not do kickstarter afterall.

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Archebius

Mom and pop diner is a little different. Presumably, you can smell food cooking. There are likely other people there, eating. To serve food, they had to pass an inspection of some sort. Also, you don’t pay until you’ve verified the diner’s ability to make eggs and toast.

A development company has nothing for you except their word and whatever communications they choose to send. If a company has no history, very little information on its developers, and is asking for money in advance, there are good reasons to be be careful.

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Schmidt.Capela

While I see your point, you are kinda entering into hyperbole territory here. A bricks-and-mortar shop is something quite different from a developer that doesn’t get to literally see their costumers eye-to-eye.

Also, a regularly updated website, or even just a dev blog, is a great way to build confidence with the potential players. No, it’s not required, but I see having at least a dev blog updated weekly or so as giving great return for the time spent maintaining it, and particularly so after the dev starts asking customers for their money. Radio silence after taking someone’s money makes the whole thing feel like a scam, and so it’s something I really recommend against.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

the game does have a website. they’re talking about a website for the company only

https://www.playwwo.com/ has forums where devs interact with people regularly

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Schmidt.Capela

I hadn’t seen the game’s site; yeah, it seems good enough, and there seems to be some announcement and/or post every week.

I still think they should update the company’s site with the names of some of the devs they brag about, though. Would help put this whole controversy behind.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i mean they’re already being harassed, why would they put out more names for people to harass?

this and the ashes controversy are so silly.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Let’s not pretend that fraud doesn’t exist. There’s a reason why many professions are required by governments to be licensed. There’s a reason why any profession that wishes to be taken seriously and has a desire to police its own has a professional organization that issues certificates, even if licensing is not required.

And what a surprise, so do international game developers.

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Jeremy

In this industry, it’s guilty until proven innocent. Most game developers are pretty shady, and this game is most likely bullshit.

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Chris Moss

I am getting so F’ing tired of this BS story. I just bought the damn CE out of spite over so many people trying to tie this game to some guy I don’t even know.

As another person on the WWO forums said, if you are so concerned over spending $20-60 on a game, you may need to rethink your life. Cause you really don’t seem to have enough money to spend on gaming.

The devs have said he has nothing to do with it. They admit they got the engine from his company. FFS will it ever be enough?

((Edited by mod.))

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McGuffn

“As another person on the WWO forums said, if you are so concerned over spending $20-60 on a game, you may need to rethink your life. ”

Did they conclude this thought with “Now shut up and give WWO your money!”

People don’t want to be scammed. Blame Obi Wan Kenobi. And blame Titov and his company, who have proven in the past that they will lie, cheat and steal to get your money.

https://kotaku.com/5969927/some-war-z-images-were-ripped-from-the-walking-dead

But there’s a sucker born every minute, I guess. Enjoy!

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Paragon Lost

I’m always skeptical by nature but I am interested in WWO, I do not think that MassivelyOp is Kotaku are being spiteful or hyperbolic by talking about any info that or even speculation about this new mmo developer.

You are coming off as hyperbolic, over reactionary and not very rational in this thread. It’s as if you’ve got serious money on the line or something. Might want to take a step back and realize that gamers, game websites, journalists etc indeed talk about games and games in development.

You apparently want nothing but spun cotton candy and rainbows mentioned about this mmo. Sort of crazy ya know…

Edit: Poor mods are being busy I guess. My post makes less sense now. :/

(Comment edited by mod.)

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Melissa McDonald
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Utakata

Lots of awful people win elections though. Not sure what your point is. Nor how relevant it is to the topic.

What is true though, Kotaku ran a story, for right or for wrong, suggesting not all things are correct and standing in the State of Denmark with WWO. Some are taking issues with it, because they presumed from the internets that Kotaku is the spawn of the Devil. Thusly, presuming the story to be false as opposed to articulating with evidence why it is wrong.

To be pigtailed frank here, I don’t know if the article itself is in good standing…or leaning towards yellow spectrum of journalism. But dismissing it because of the source is not really in good form. Ms. Bree reminded me of this when I trashed an article presented by a reader because it came from Fox News sometime ago. I need good reason to object to something other than it rejecting because all the cool kids don’t like the news source. Just saying. :)

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Paragon Lost

Uhm, I didn’t start that, he did. Also, I’m retired thanks and not screaming about much of anything. Also, did you miss about a dozen posts of that person being hidden, not talking about ones that were edited by the mods and stayed. So I guess I’m missing your point.

p.s: Not even sure what an antifa kid is. The afternoon motorcycle ride is calling and weighing that and debating weird shit with you is no contest.

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McGuffn

anti-fascist. Such as in the sentence “Simon Wiesenthal was an antifa stooge.”

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Paragon Lost

Forgot… mandatory country road bike picture from today. lol. The Current ride, a Road Glide Special.

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BalsBigBrother

Its ok I turned my monitor on its side, nice ride :-)

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Paragon Lost

lol! Had to give up the sports bikes, they made me want to always zoom up to 150mph. Which was bad for my insurance. This isn’t the autobahn, though I loved hauling ass on it when traffic and weather permitted back in the day.

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Paragon Lost

Damn bike picture is rotated. Wasn’t on the preview.

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Paragon Lost

Wow, thanks McGuffn. I had no idea, I just don’t even try to keep up on all the various internet and social acronyms anymore. Had to know so many for all those years in the military that the whole concept of acronyms burnt me out.

Though I must admit I am confused as to why why would it be an insult to be anti Fascist? Being against Fascism is a good thing. Five generations at least of my family have served the country including myself and three of my sons currently, just so people can have the freedom to be wackadoodles.

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enamel

My only regret is that I have only one thumb to up for this comment.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

Who, exactly, are you spiting? I don’t think either Kotaku or Massively care one whit how you spend your money. If Titov is behind this company, you’ll probably get screwed over. If he’s not, hopefully you’ll get a wonderful game. But either way, it’s not spiting either game website to pre-purchase this game.

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Chris Moss

Oh nooooo I lost $60. How will I ever be able to survive. I won’t be able to make my car payment, buy groceries, have a place to live now!!!! Whoa is me, how could I ever let myself be scammed out of 60 DOLLARS.

I’ve been wanting a western themed mmo ever since I played RDR. Now that we are close to getting one, there are people trying to tear the game down before it even releases.

((Edited by mod.))

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Lord Zorvan

Most people spend their hard earned money wisely to get the most bang for buck. Then there’s people like you.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

The room was hot, stiffing and sticky.

Officer Joe Scanlon stood up from the body and watched the rumpled overcoat silhouette of Detective Epstein appear in the doorframe. As he did, sweat slid along his back sending a shudder down his spine. He smirked to himself and thought, “See murders every day without flinching, but one drop of water … .”

His thought was cut short as Maria Epstein stepped into the apartment and smiled. It was the only bright and good thing to be found in those 156 square feet and Joe guessed probably the whole damn city block.

“Joe, ” she shook his hand, “Sucky night to be out.”

He nodded, “Sure is. Needs ta rain.” He stepped aside to let her look at the body.

She knelt down to examine the body, her mind already working and replied absentmindedly, “Been needing to do that for a week.” She poked at the corpse, and rattled off a few statistics.

Joe had heard them all before asking, “Is it…”

Maria stood and nodded, her mouth set in a thin grey line. “EPO… Pretty sure.” She pointed at the corpse, “See how the body is all puffed up? Like it exploded from the inside? Sure sign of Exclamation Point Overdose.”

The veteran officer shook his head, “With an explosion like that.. I can’t even imagine what his EP ratio was.”

“Most folks can get by with an EPR of .3 percent, anything higher than that…” She looked around the room, “And you start sounding like a carnival barker.”

Joe smirked, “What do you think this guys was?”

Shaking her head, Maria shrugged, her brown overcoat barely moving, ” Probably an EPR of about 7 percent? Given that kind of violent reaction.”

“Sweet dear baby Jesus.” Joe’s voice came out like an awestruck blasphemy.

Maria turned to face him and started to walk out the apartment, “Damn shame too…There was a ‘Strunk and White’s’ on the nightstand.” She patted him on the chest and stepped back into the dimly lit hallway, “He’s all yours Joe.”

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Melissa McDonald

I like Joe Kenda better :)

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Utakata

I was awaiting for a well placed Schlag giff, but I think this will do it. Thank you for that. /bows :)

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Paragon Lost

Heh, we just had a masterful text based meme instead from CR. :) It’s so much awesome.

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mistressbrazen

I have no dog in this fight but, it’s not really a matter of whether someone can afford $60. It is a question of whether a company is committing fraud, which is a crime. That is what people are worried about, not the $20-$60. It is a legitimate area of inquiry and people who support the game should not be afraid to have a light shined on what seem to be dark corners in the business plan.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

So what? Nobody gives a damn how you spend your money. If someone says, “Hey, this might be a scam,” and you twirl your mustache and laugh maniacally while throwing wads of cash at it, literally no one cares.

It’s either a scam or it’s not. Neither your belief in the matter nor your attempts to “get back” at the people suggesting it might be will change reality.

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Chris Moss

You are right, no one is telling me how to spend my money.

No one is forcing anyone to pre order this game. So I wish they would move the hell on, and go find something else to play.

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Lord Zorvan

Unless you’re the developer, you have way too much of a vested interest in someone else’ product being slagged. Sergey, is that you?

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Jack Pipsam

I actually know quite a few people IRL who’d actually not be able to get a full bag of groceries if they wasted $60 in a week. $60 can be a lot to some people, especially students and even just struggling families in general.

A deep desire for a western themed MMO is there for many, if anything that sort of thing might be the prefect setup for some kind of grand mislead hypothetically. I mean at this point I guess the gaming industry can get away with anything with pre-order culture still a thing despite countless incidents.
There’s nothing wrong with taking things with a gain of salt, this IS the gaming industry after all.

If this game is 100% legit then a few articles raising questions isn’t going to suddenly tank it, to think that way is rather silly.
If that was the case LotRO could have had to shut years ago.

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Cypher

Well said! Just the other week I watched a show about a family with both parents working but still needed help from food banks… in a western european country that used to own half the world! (And still does, if you believe the conspiracy theories) Attitudes like that make me sick!

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Xijit

All credibility of this ended with the combination if “Kotaku” and “investigative.”

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mcsleaz

All credibility for the game ended when they used Sergey Titov’s engine.

cmdr_cotic
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cmdr_cotic

To be fair this is the UK branch, totally different to the naff US site.

Take a look at the work they did on Star Citizen http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2016/09/23/inside-the-troubled-development-of-star-citizen

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Utakata

…I have the feeling that all credibility may have ended with “early bird access” and “Sergey Titov ” long before this for some. o.O

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Xijit

I don’t care if it is true or not: **** Kotaku.

The only time they get involved in something is if it involves some bullshit smear campaign for publicity.

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Jack Pipsam

Kotaku normally has a pretty solid history with leaks, they’ve corrected reported in advance all sorts of various things over the years. If they have a source, history puts them more in the correct than the incorrect all up.

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Chris Moss

This is really starting to feel like someone is trying to take this game out, before it even releases.

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McGuffn

So what. My guess is you don’t want them playing it anyway.

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Utakata

Actually it’s more like Kokatu took a “credibility” hit with the rise of Gomer Gate. So my credibility of the objection to the source of this article goes out the window whenever folks start to trash it without considering the content. So please demonstrate to me why this article is wrong, beyond the partisan mutterings about the publication that hosted it from the internets. Thnkx.

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Schmidt.Capela

I never understood why Kotaku is so hated by some people. I mean, they use large doses of sarcasm in their reporting, which is bound to ruffle a few feathers, but I don’t remember they willfully spreading falsehoods since I started to go there for much of my gaming news.

And, in any case, if the site is hated by the GamerGate collective, that alone makes me far more willing to seek it.

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Utakata

“Actually it’s about ethics in gaming journalism.” :)

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Utakata

I suspect others do “care” though. /shrug

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Howsabout a little WWE for WWO?

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