Wargaming looks to Total Annihilation, Master of Orion for inspiration

Wargaming.net is best known for its meticulously crafted, historically accurate war games. World of Tanks, World of Warplanes and World of Warships are all titles designed to drop players into military history.

That doesn't mean the company won't ever step outside the realm of reality to create new sorts of gaming experiences, just that they are historic military simulators and any fictional world they create will never mingle.

"I don't think we're going to move away from history accuracy where we make tanks with lasers or something arcadey," said Chris Cook, director of Wargaming.net's North American PR.

In August, Wargaming.net acquired the intellectual property for Total Annihilation and Master of Orion from an Atari bankruptcy auction. At the time Wargaming.net's CEO Victor Kislyi said that the company is "more than willing to give a new lease of life to these games."

The real-time strategy game Total Annihilation was developed by Cavedog Entertainment and released in 1997 for Mac and Windows PC. It was followed by a handful of expansion packs. Developer Simtex's turn-based Master of Orion dates back to 1993, and sequels followed in 1996 and 2003.

But Kislyi's personal love for the games isn't the only reason the developer and publisher purchased them.

"What really appealed to us was that both are really well known, prestigious, respected IPs," Cook said.

Total Annihilation is one of the games that actually got Kislyi into gaming as a teenager, Cook said.

"I think that picking up games like Total Annihilation and Master of Orion helps gives us inspiration as well," Cook said. "Both looking at what we can do in the future and also looking at the present and how we can expand. It will help us define and investigate what we can do in the future."

Design ideas in those two games can also help "inspire" Wargaming.net in what they're currently doing with World of Warships, World of Warplanes and World of Tanks as well, Cook said.

Cook added that there is no reticence on the company's part about creating games set in a fictional universe.

"We have to evolve and grow," Cook said. "Picking up properties like Masters of Orion and Total Annihilation give us some fuel to think about how we’re going to do that."

Perhaps it is not coincidental that in February, Wargaming.net acquired strategy game developer Gas Powered Games and with it the talents of Chris Taylor, Total Annihilation's original designer.

Cook said that Gas Powered Games is "still in that building stage" of development.  He declined to say what the team is working on, but did say that they've shelved Wildman, the game Taylor tried to Kickstart right before Wargaming.net's acquisition.

The team right now are in the thick of prototyping ideas for a game, he said.

"What he and his team are going to focus on in terms of prototyping and concepting will be free-to-play," he said.

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