If you followed the long and strange saga of Wild West Online over the past year or so, you’d know that the beleaguered MMORPG from a Russian developer with ties to the infamous Sergey Titov got off to a rough start and never really recovered. It got more hype than it likely deserved, with many players willing to overlook its sketchy development details simply because it had “Wild West” in the title.
In what’s bound to be a last-ditch effort to wring some profit out of a game that quickly burned through its goodwill and can barely manage to keep 20 players online at any one time, WWO is relaunching not as one, but two, games both of them free-to-play: “survival/exploration/PVP game” Frontier and a battle royale game titled Magnificent 5.
A post on the WWO forums lays out the details as they’re currently known. Frontier seems to be the most similar to the original Wild West Online, which downplayed its PvE elements in the effort to draw in more people to PvP. As for Magnificent 5, it’s being made with the help of one of Sergey Titov’s companies, Free Reign Entertainment — makers of their own battle royale (Last Man Standing) and survival (Romero’s Aftermath) games — and its Chinese partners. It will use monetization that is “VERY SIMILAR to Fortnite, with Season Passes that opens challenges and access to cosmetic items.”
Also, both games will be free-to-play, with the obligatory goodies going out to previous purchasers.
Magnificent 5 will be available for public testing within the week, while Frontier is expected to show up sometime in November.
While anyone should be skeptical, maybe, just maybe, the dev team will look up what was wrong with the original game — which always seemed too grand in scope to have any real chance of success — and pare things down a bit to provide something (or somethings) enjoyable. Then again, we’ve been down the “single game splits into survival and battle royale games” road before, and how did that turn out?