No Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC? No problem, says the developers of Wild West Online.
Wild West Online developer Stefan Bugaj headed me off at the pass, bringing up the elephant in the room (Red Dead Redemption 2) before I could.
“We were inspired by Westworld and the impending not-coming-to-PC Red Dead Redemption 2,” he said with a smile. “Westerns started coming back. So we thought [the game] would fill a fun unfulfilled gaming desire in the community.”
You can see the entire demo I got from Bugaj in the four videos on this page, beginning with the one above. It’s clearly still very early in development – note the total lack of any other people on the servers as of yet – but the team is cognizant of that and was happy to talk through their goals and intentions for WWO with me this week.
They want WWO to be “a place for people to role-play in the towns, prospect for gold, build a homestead. [We’re] trying to find that balance between the PvP players and the role-playing/PvE type of stuff, resource gathering, exploration, building, etc.”
They still don’t know yet exactly how one-on-one duels will work. First-person? Maybe? Slow-motion? Possibly. They’re also planning raid-like large-scale player activities but they’re not set in stone yet.
But what we do know is that you can pan for gold, mine, gather resources for crafting (to make medicine, for instance), buy safehouses and homesteads, become a lawman or an outlaw, etc.
There is no traditional class-based system. Your actions dictate who you are. If you do lots of stealing – thus earning negative points on your Reputation – you can dig your way out of that moral hole by praying or tithing to the local church. “There’s a lot of social dynamics stuff that we have to work out over time,” Bugaj said.
You can make a fire at a riverbank, put river water in canteens, and then purify it over the campfire, cook your can of beans, and enjoy a lovely nighttime storytelling session with your friends.
Wild West Online clearly has a lot of potential, but it’ll be a while before it’s ready to realize it. That’s OK. However long it takes, I just hope it gets there.
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews and Xbox Guru-in-Chief. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.