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Wow, the YouTube video was released in November. How have I never seen it before? I've probably watched it three times in the past hour. It's an absolutely amazing production. What was the budget for this?
If you walk around Gamescom 2016 business area you’re bound to bump into the huge Wargaming booth. It’s a monument to power and luxury, which is admired (and secretly envied) by the biggest F2P-companies in the world. Floating in fancy lights, neon, wood, army-grade metal (well, maybe it’s not entirely army-grade, but it looks kind of cool), it stands there putting to shame even the extraordinary good neighboring booth of Bethesda.
When we came to this place, I was expecting to see more of the Planes, Warships and, you know, Tanks. Wargaming is known for its relentless online battling entertainment, which has taken the world by storm a couple of years ago. However, there’s more thinnest the eye here. Among the glossiness of F2P, Wargaming has a softer side, which is called WG Labs. Basically it’s a publishing initiative, which helps to bring more interesting games to the market.
Master of Orion
It’s not as diverse or quirky as Devolver Digital though. The developers of World of Tanks, have fewer titles (actually just a couple of games) and it’s still very much a closed club, but it does show a lot of potential. Last year Wargaming was showing us the working version of Master of Orion – the remake of the groundbreaking 4X space strategy of the past. Driven by the love and passion of Victor Kislyi (the CEO & co-founder of Wargaming), a small team from Buenos Aires managed to create what looks like a real ‘love letter’ to an iconic game.
Two years ago one of the best episodes of the television show Top Gear showed a wonderful Porsche 911 tribute, created by Singer. It was a racing car, which looked a lot like the classic, but had a bunch of smaller gadgets and fancy electronics (like a computer-adjusted rear wing). Well, Master of Orion kind of feels the same way. You could actually feel that this project is so loved and so admired by its creators, that it can’t possibly go wrong. The final version of the title will be released on August 25, 2016. It would be fun to see how this new vision of the classic holds up next to fierce competition, including Stellaris from Paradox. And why I do understand that this is less of a commercial project and more of a fun little initiative, even last year it did show a lot of potential. In many ways Master of Orion seemed like a proving ground for the future projects. And this year proved us right.
Hybrid Wars: Top Down Arcade Built with Unity
Barely a couple of days before we’ve met with Alex Zezulin, Wargaming announced a new game called Hybrid Wars. Unlike Master of Orion, this title seems a bit more of the commercial thing. It seems like this top-down action master was specifically designed to make you want to stand up, get your wallet and finally buy a game on Steam not during the Winter Sale. So, what is Hybrid Wars exactly?
Hybrid Wars is fast-paced action from Extreme Developers, who’s got a lot of very tidy game-related work under its belt. It made with Unity and it shows a lot of potential. During our short talk at Gamescom, we’ve seen the game is action during a short demo video. First of all, it’s all buttery smooth gameplay. Making Unity working so nice and fast is no easy task, but the developers managed to achieve this technical feat, while keeping the visual fidelity on a very high level. Secondly, it’s got that old-school feel, that craziness of Jungle Strike and Urban Strike taken on a whole new level. In other words, it’s really good.
Extreme Developers are well known on the Russian market. These guys did a lot of quality work and about a couple of years ago, we’ve had a little meeting, when they showed us this [Hybrid Wars]. It’s actually our first game with battle robots!
We’re working on standard publisher/developer terms. We don’t work with anybody. We try to engage only with the companies with potential, original ideas and some experience, which can support their vision. We do assist our partners in various ways obviously. For example, with testing, we’ve actually worked with the local outsourcer, which did most of the tedious work. Localization was done in the similar manner (a lot of work was outsourced). The polishing was done entirely by our R&D department. We’re also giving the team a dedicated producer/visionary, who helps to build the whole thing on the highest possible level of quality.
We are providing some creative supervision, but there’s not dictatorship there. We do provide some technological support as well. Some of our Unity-tech wizards did help Extreme Developers to make the game look this good.
Alex Zezulin, Wargaming
Hybrid Wars will be available sometime this year. The game is mostly done and the developers are just putting on some finishing touches. No Early Access – the full blown release. We’ll try to arrange an interview with the devs and talk in more detail about the production of this interesting piece of software.