World of Tanks developer Wargaming.net hasn't quite decided yet what to do with Day 1 Studios' free-to-player mech combat game Reign of Thunder, the publisher's founder tells Polygon.
Free-to-play combat king Wargaming.net purchased Chicago-based Day 1 Studios last month for $20 million, renaming the studio Wargaming West. The official Reign of Thunder website powered down "for now," thanking supporters. At the time, the newly named studio said it would be focusing exclusively on the development of an "unannounced console title."
Speaking with Polygon during last week's DICE summit, Wargaming.net founder Victor Kislyi said they purchased Day 1 because "they have great console experience and they have an engine which is multiplatform."
While the company is hard at work on the unannounced console game, Kislyi said that there are still a lot of talks going on between the Wargaming folks and its new studio. That includes, Kislyi said, what to do with Reign of Thunder.
"Right now we're not in a position to talk details," he said. "Let me put it like this, there are a lot of possible opportunities. Their people and our people, engineers and designers, are actually figuring out what to do now. There are opportunities, but it is too early to speak about concrete facts or plans."
Kislyi says part of his interest in Day 1 and its console development knowledge is driven by what he sees as a video game industry in the midst of major change.
"Free to play evolved from those cheap and polished Asian ports to games like League of Legends, World of Tanks and Clash of Clans," he said. "Now they're generating healthy income.
"It became very obvious to me that things are changing very fast. It's not wise to say this or that or stay a certain way for five years. I would not say no to any opportunity right now. I would not say 'No, that's not going to happen' about anything."
At his talk during DICE, Kislyi stressed the importance of free-to-play for consoles, saying that if they don't start taking them seriously there could be problems for the likes of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.
"Right now I think we should be looking at everything, considering any possible opportunity."
His interest in Day 1 backs up that belief and the notion that free-to-play should be platform agnostic.
"Free-to-play as a concept doesn't have to be limited by platform constraints," he told Polygon after the talk. "It could go and be everywhere. It' about user experience, not a particular brand or piece of plastic. It's a philosophical concept.
Kislyi said he's particular attracted to consoles as a platform for free-to-play because unlike with PCs, every console owner is a gamer.
Consoles, he said, are "slick, cool" devices that sit in your living room attached to your television. Access to that television through consoles for free-to-play in the past has been very limited. Something he's talked about before. But now, Kislyi sees that changing.
"I think they are experiencing a lot of criticism," he said. "I can sense they have been changing for the last half year to year."
Powered by World of Tanks' tremendous success, and on the verge of launching World of Warplanes and later World of Warships, Kislyi said he's keeping his eyes open for any opportunity in hopes of landing on the next big thing.
"Right now I think we should be looking at everything, considering any possible opportunity," he said. "The next Angry Birds, Clash of Clans, League of Legends or World of Tanks could be coming from a very unexpected place."
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