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:
“We’d like to address some concern that has been voiced regarding use of the Nightshade engine. We decided from the outset that we did not want to develop a new engine – our strengths lie in game and story design so we wanted to use an existing engine that would be suitable for an online, multiplayer game and allow us to scale over time. We chose Nightshade because it provides the best tools for our team in terms of building/scaling the game, and it has some robust anti-cheat features already embedded that would save us time and expense that we could then allocate towards feature development. We’re happy with our choice, and are working to bring you a fun game experience built atop this engine. This is the only post we will be making regarding this subject and we expect this will allay the concerns of certain members of our community. We now want to focus on the game and working with you guys to make something pretty badass for PC. We hope you guys will judge us on the outcome of the game and give us your support so that we can bring this to fruition.”
Concerns very much not allayed, Massively OP reached out to 612 Games for comment yesterday, hence the delay on this post, but the studio sent us the same engine-related statement it made on the forums, in spite of the fact that we asked specifically about Sergey Titov’s role in funding the game, not about the engine. The team did not address Titov’s involvement in the game’s funding or lack thereof on the record. We have requested further clarification.
“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.”