Wild West Online developer 612 Games had a chat with SegmentNext and discussed what’s up with the single player campaign, weapon updates, development tools, and console version of the title.
Wild West Online Interview
SegmentNext: Ever since GTA Online the community has widely discussed the possibility of Red Dead Online, especially a version on PC but that is unlikely to happen. Is the idea of developing Wild West Online a reaction to the lack of Red Read on PC? Or has the game always been its own thing? What’s the inspiration behind this title?
Stephan Bugaj: The lack of Read Dead Online, and the likely absence on the PC even if it were to happen, is certainly an opportunity ripe for the taking. We are taking it, but we are doing so because we always wanted an online, open-world Western game and finally decided “nobody else is doing it so it let’s see if we can do it.” We were inspired in that thought both by how much fun multiplayer online gaming is, and by our enjoyment of Westerns – especially ones that are a bit more interesting in one way or another like Unforgiven, Westworld, and The Dark Tower.
SegmentNext: Working in the gaming industry for a long time gives you an idea of how things work, how marketing works, and what companies often do to generate a buzz. Tell me, honestly, there was a leak on GTA Forums which showed the very first image from Wild West Online (although fans obviously took it as Red Dead), was that a planted leak?
Stephan Bugaj: It wasn’t a planted leak. We weren’t far enough in our development plans to go public yet and we were preparing a Kickstarter campaign, which was supposed to be the big, exciting reveal. What happened was that we had reached-out to a third party that we were interested in collaborating with, and sent them materials for consideration. The leak happened on their side.
SegmentNext: Of course, you guys must be focusing on the multiplayer modes and features but by any chance is your team also brainstorming ideas for a possible single player mode for the future? Will that depend on how well the game is received?
Stephan Bugaj: Coming from Pixar and Telltale I’m a story guy first, so I’d love for us to add a story-driven linear component to the game. However, like several other future expansion plans we’re hoping to deliver, that sort of thing will depend on how well the game is received. It’s just the economic reality of the industry that indie teams without big studio budgets rely on gamers getting excited and remaining engaged over time in order to support our grander plans.
SegmentNext: Your FAQ page already mentions that there are no plans for a console version right now. But I have to ask, why not? And why PC only?
Stephan Bugaj: Even in an industry where cross-platform engines abound, developing on multiple platforms is far from free. We wanted to put 100% of our resources into making a great game on one platform, and the team are predominantly PC developers. Once there’s a great PC version, then we’ll consider whether or not it makes sense to port to consoles.
SegmentNext: Let’s talk about the development tools, what is powering Wild West Online? Do you have an in-house engine?
Stephan Bugaj: We’re using Nightshade. It’s a solid engine that supports online multiplayer games all the way down to the core, which has advanced from earlier incarnations. We are licensing the engine from Free Reign, who cut us a good deal.
SegmentNext: You talked about adding “experimental guns” into Wild West Online. Are we talking automatic weapons? Snipers?
Stephan Bugaj: Over time we are thinking about introducing new weapons based on ideas that emerged around the turn of the century such as rapid-fire weapons (Agar, Bailey and Gatling guns), precision rifles (Chassepot or Moisin-Nagant) and early semi-automatic pistols (Borchardt C-93 and Mauser C-96). We are not planning to add anything remotely contemporary, but you can expect to see some cool weapons, all with period relevant capabilities.
Wild West Online release date is yet to be confirmed.