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: