It’s been quite a ride for Wild West Online, the survivalish MMO that came out of nowhere last spring to take on Red Dead Redemption 2. The game was originally planned to launch in the fall, but it hobbled to an early access launch well behind schedule instead, weathering drama around its relationship to The War Z’s studio, the slow rollout of female toons, and a complete do-over on its planned open PvP gankbox mechanics (the game is now a faction-based setting – cue the anguished howls of early backers).
But the game formally launches on Steam today boasting that faction-based territorial PvP, solo and group play, PvE questing, and homesteading, with a promise of an evolving world in the future.
“To create an even further gripping experience, the development team will continue building out the larger world and integrating new content to create the best experience for players. This includes having Wild West Online’s world age through the years. When players enter Wild West Online today they will start in the mid-1800s with a frontier dynamic and during the coming years the world will evolve as it moves into the late-1800s and eventually into the early 20th century.”
A new year, a new batch of survival games! Yes, the genre has become so popular that one guide, no not even two guides could contain all of the survival goodness. More keep cropping up. I certainly can’t say as I mind, since this is the style of game that has been giving me the feeling of having an impact on my environment. And it’s not all the same collection of zombies, although there is still plenty of that. It is interesting to see what new takes developers are bringing to the table. Want to do a survival reality show? There’s a game for that! How about living like a viking? Yup. What if you want to be the psychotic killer that survivors are trying to, well, survive? Got you covered. Fell like upping the ante and surviving via VR? There are a few of those available.
If you are looking for a new survival to sink your teeth into, here’s the addendum for some newer games in development as well as some newly discovered ones since the last mega double guide. Note: This collection will be a mix of multiplayer and single-player titles with some uniques thrown in.
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.
Rumors spread on Reddit yesterday suggesting that Sergey Titov is involved in Wild West Online have been partially but not fully debunked. Titov, you’ll recall, was the controversial personality behind scandal-riddled The War Z aka Infestation: Survivor Stories aka Infestation World, a survival game so terrible our original reviewer called it “worse than actually being killed by zombies.”
Reddit user TheSkiesAreShattered (now deleted) posted his hypothesis (now deleted) that Titov was involved in Wild West Online’s development and indeed was its mysterious investor. The Redditor offered circumstantial evidence including an engine comparison, domain name patterns, and Facebook friends lists, chastising the press for missing those “clues.” Similar threads on the official forum have been locked and heavily moderated with links to the Reddit thread removed, but a forum moderator confirmed that the team licensed the engine from Free Reign Entertainment – that’s Sergey Titov’s outfit.
“No, 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,” the mod writes. A second followup post from the developers also homes in on the engine rumor specifically but doesn’t address the other allegations:
The Crowfall team has stated its plans to release the Siege Perilous update this month for testers, and the Ranger archetype was originally scheduled to release alongside it. Surprise! The Ranger showed up early in all of her melee-and-ranged glory! She’s a sneaky one. You can also check out a preview of upcoming changes to the UI and a full-screen viewport, if you’re so inclined.
Other beta news? Oh, yes indeed!
- Infestation World, formerly known as Infestation: Survivor Stories, formerly known as The War Z, never known as Prince, is now in open beta for an April launch. You may wish to catch up.
- The open beta for SMITE on the PlayStation 4 is here, if you felt like the console just wasn’t complete without deities to smash. To be fair, it’s kind of a thing that happens on PlayStation consoles.
- Wild Terra is opening up its 0.8 update to players to test over the weekend; if you want to play with character gender and explore some new safe zones in the world, it’s best to download the test client.
- Eternal Crusade has dropped a new patch with bigger maps and a whole new gameplay mode for testers to try out, and it even has a launch infographic. This comes on the heels of the Warhammer-themed MOBA, Dark Nexus Arena, calling it quits this week.
- A big old patch landed on the Landmark servers before launch. There were some changes that didn’t quite make it into the patch notes, though, and if you needed a reminder that the game is still in testing, the patch was just a little bit broken and needed some fixing. Possibly even more fixing.
- Last but not least, if you can’t get enough of digital card games, Chronicle: RuneScape Legends has moved into open beta, with a promise of no random numbers, no mana, no artificial sweeteners, and no sleep until Brooklyn. At least the first couple.
Oh, yes, and there’s the full list of games in testing just below, as you like it. Let us know if something down there swapped states without us catching it, we do appreciate your vigilance added to our own. Like some kind of vigilance gestalt.
Thai publishers Electronics Extreme and OP Productions (no relation to Massively OP) have today announced they’re bringing open-world survival sandbox Infestation World to… well, the world. Or a big chunk of it. And if “infestation” sounds familiar, that’s because the game was once known as The War Z, which became Infestation: Survivor Stories, which then-Massively writer Mike Foster called “worse than actually being killed by zombies.” The original is now called Infestation: Survivor Stories Classic on Steam. Romero’s Aftermath was another spin-off of the original last year.
Electronics Extreme says Infestation World is the free-to-play “global service” for “North America, South America, Europe, CIS, CN, Middle East, Africa and Oceania/Australia.” Thai servers will be separate, according to the FAQ, and currency purchased in ISS: Classic since last October 29th will transfer to the new version.
Seriously, folks, we couldn’t make this up even if we tried. The critically reviled Infestation: Survivor Stories, which used to be The War Z before a legal entanglement, is now changing both its name and its entire codebase. The new game will be called Aftermath, and supposedly it represents a complete reboot of Infestation as a “spiritual successor” with additional features and better gameplay.
The decision came about as the developer ended its relationship with publisher OP Productions and began anew as Free Reign East. The team is taking advantage of the situation by holding on to the best ideas from Infestation and “avoiding controversial decisions and plain stupid mistakes that were previously made.” It’s selling early access for $15, although “the most active” Infestation players will be allowed in for free.