Exclusive Wild West Online interview on PvE servers, budget, and Red Dead Redemption 2

Here at Massively OP, there’s nothing we like to hear more than word that new, bold, and big MMORPGs are in development. Over the past week, Wild West Online rode in on a dusty horse out of a desert of MMO development, delivering the reveal of this western sandbox followed by a surprise announcement just this morning that full funding had been achieved and a launch was scheduled for later this year.

To dig more into these announcements, we sat down with Stephan Bugaj, Chief Creative Officer of 612 Games, to ask a few follow-up questions about this exciting project, its budget, its scope, and if only PvP gankers need apply.

Massively OP: So who are these investors who have agreed to fully fund Wild West Online to launch?

Stephan Bugaj: It’s a group of private investors who believe in our project vision and got excited by the response last week.

What is Wild West Online’s launch budget?

We’re not disclosing financials, but our budget is way way above the $250,000 we previously mentioned as our Kickstarter goal. You can’t develop and launch a complex online multiplayer with $250,000 alone. In fact, we’ve spent more than that in the past year to bring the game into its current pre-alpha stage.

Eschewing both Kickstarter and Steam Early Access in the current market goes contrary to many games’ approach and seems to bypass opportunities for easy publicity. What are the advantages to aiming for a full launch instead?

One of our goals for a Kickstarter campaign was to validate our beliefs that a market and audience exists for this game. Given the enthusiastic feedback we’ve received since the game’s reveal five days ago, we realized that we don’t need to use Kickstarter or Steam early access for publicity. At same time, by avoiding Kickstarter we are showing the public that we will provide a final product and erase any doubts that usually come from a Kickstarter-backed game.

Regarding early access, while it can work really well for an online multiplayer game, we don’t want to turn Wild West Online into one of those “eternal zombies” games that are stuck in early access for years. We’d rather go the traditional route and make a final product that allows us to concentrate on alpha and closed beta stages to make sure that the game doesn’t have any major problems by release and to get valuable feedback from our community.

Is the game still focused on PvP with little to no interaction with NPCs? How come?

Our reveal actually mentioned that WWO has both PvP and PvE activities, but for some reason it has been perceived that our game is strictly PvP. Combat will be between players, but we have plenty of other activities tailored to either single player or co-op play that will not include killing everyone you see.

There are NPCs in the game and some will provide you with information: Some will give you missions and quests, and some are just there to trade with. The world is big enough for players to “be lost” and not meet other players if they don’t want to.

Why create a multiplayer western and aim for a late 2017 release with Red Dead Redemption 2 doing pretty much the same thing? Is there concern about direct competition?

When we first started designing the game and did our initial development, RDR2 wasn’t even announced. We didn’t want to throw away our efforts just because RDR2 was announce so we continued with development.

We love RDR, we love its story, characters and single player focus. And we’ll play A LOT when it will come out — we’re fans after all. However, our focus is slightly different: It’s on creating a living breathing wild west world that is populated by hundreds of players interacting with each other. We don’t know how it will compare to any online component RDR2 may have, especially given that there’s still no word about PC version of that game.

Will there be a public alpha or beta?

Yes. We plan on running a number of alpha tests this summer, with a closed beta available by the fall and a short open beta prior to the game’s launch. Players will be able to get a taste of what’s coming, provide feedback and help us create the ideal western game they wanted.

What localization will be included?

We’re planning on having English, French, German and Spanish versions, with the potential of adding Russian, Portuguese, Thai and Mandarin to that list.

What is the full list of stretch goals that are now going to be made into the game?

At launch we will include female characters, rich role-playing, and social activities such as card games and localization, which were all planned stretch goals. In addition, we have a few other previous stretch goals and further content that we’re going to release for free as part of several expansions following launch.

How long has WWO been in development so far?

We started working on the game slightly over a year ago.

There is concern among some players that we’ve seen who love the idea of a western MMO but don’t want to participate in PvP, either consensual or non-consensual. Will WWO have anything to meet their needs?

For those players we’ll offer community-driven PvE and roleplaying servers. These servers are community-driven and players who don’t want to do ANY PvP whatsoever will be free to do so and have their own “reality” on a custom server, or they can join one of the community-ran and -regulated roleplaying servers. It’s pretty much the same concept as the role playing servers for World of Warcraft.

Thank you for clarifying some of these points!

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Melissa McDonald

Unfortunately the brevity here doesn’t really explain it. We’ll just have to see I guess.
“Combat will be between players” doesn’t tell us if there will be combat on a PvE server against players and NPCs. Wish they’d be more detailed in their answers, or the questions asked.

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Kickstarter Donor
Feyd Darkholme

I’ve always wanted a Wild West MMO! I really hope this one is amazing! I’ll definitely give it a shot!

Solaris
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Solaris

Interested.

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Vellik

A little over a year in development and aiming for a late 2017 release along with being multiplayer seems like a very tall order, and a rather daunting prospect. I’m skeptical that they can reach their 2017 goal in time.

That being said, there needs to be more genre exploration in the MMO instead of the tired themes of fantasy or sci-fi — historical, urban, a return to post-apocalyptic, and other such themes need to be explored as well instead of playing it safe all the time. So I’m skeptical, but at the same time I really hope that they can pull this off. It might encourage other devs to explore more themes in games. If they can pull this off, I might give it a look.

What I would really be interested in seeing is an MMO set in a pre-industrial Asian country (Japan, Korea, and China are primarily what come to mind [China especially, since an integration of the Mongol hordes might be interesting]) without things such as what is included in the games that Snail offers (fantasy wushu setting). Low fantasy in general is something I find interesting as well.

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Craig

They should rename it the Tamed West…

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Kayweg

Still cautious after reading this.
To me, it feels a bit like he tried to dodge the bullet when it came to PvE content and consensual/non-consensual PvP.
“Community driven PvE and RP servers” ?
What does that mean, ffa PvP still applies but people can opt out of it ?
Well, i can pretty much imagine how that’s gonna go, if so.
Also, “the world is big enough for players to “be lost” and not meet other players if they don’t want to.”
Sorry but….yeah, right.
Should be interesting to follow how this progresses though, as more details become available.

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jay

It sounds like players will be able to run their own servers, and you can make your own options on that server. (disable pvp, RP, etc) This is similar to what star citizen’s plans were. You can play on the official server, but all bets are off, gloves are on.

Or you can make your own server, or play on someone else’s custom server, and frolic around with bunny rabbits to your hearts content.

django857
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django857

Wait so how is it that your first report said it was only open world pvp and now these guys saying that was wrong? Please explain how this got screwed up.

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Melissa McDonald

my belief is that they DID say it was open world PvP and after some backlash and “nopes” responses, they allowed for private servers/RP servers/PvE as their solution. But if you read the comments they also said “combat will be between players”, so we are still left with more questions.

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Reselect Name

“The wild west, now a lot less wild with new PVE servers!”

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johnwillo

My number one desire now is: firearms that have ranges (and concurrent aiming difficulties) on a par with actual weapons. Tabula Rasa had some cool assault rifles, but they could only shoot about as far as you could accurately chuck a large rock. Completely immersion breaking, and you see it all over the MMO sphere. Hell, archers in WoW are pretty limited in range. I understand that there are technical and gameplay issues, but they have to be overcome by the developers.

Sarigar
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Sarigar

This game will be great, right up to the point at which the players enter it.