The 3rd interview of the series.

— Slava, what’s your role in WG now and how did you become part of the company?

— I joined Wargaming 4 years ago and I was one of those who initiated World of Tanks. Now I am VP of Producing (Head of Producing Department) of the company (and my boss - Overlord). My major task is to make sure that our new projects reflect the global strategy of the company and satisfy the quality standards of Wargaming. To put it short, I make sure that all our games are cool!

— Where are you heading now? All your “Worlds…” are well-known and the plans regarding them are pretty clear: new vehicles, new modes… What about World of Tanks Generals, for example?

— It’s more difficult with Warplanes and Warships than it seems. The games differ not only in terms of vehicle types. They both have their unique battle pace and the gameplay itself. World of Warplanes is the most dynamic out of the three. 3D battles require good reaction and the ability to adapt to a fast-changing situation. World of Warships is a more strategic type of game with relatively slow gameplay. When all the three projects are out, every user will be able to satisfy their preferences.
The success of Tanks was partly due to the fact that we slowed down comparing to Counter Strike and shooter fans found something slower and more technically accurate than CS. Now we have two new products – one of them is faster than Tanks, the other one is slower. Warplanes are more about skills. Warships are about strategy. Thus we tend to widen the horizons of game experience for our players.

— Do you think this choice might lead to the audience’s splitting age-wise? Warplanes’ players will be younger than the ones playing Tanks and those who prefer Warships will fall into an older category.

— I am 100% sure that the Warplanes’ audience will be younger than the current Tanks’ audience. And it’s okay. I don’t see a problem if Warships will attract an older audience than the Warplanes. By the way those who came to like Tanks in 2009 will have grown 4-5 years older when we release the Warships. Hopefully they will be old enough to appreciate the Warships’ appeal. I personally prefer World of Warships because I am pretty old now ☺
I’d say that World of Tanks requires a lot of strategic elements to play successfully. However, we do understand that “digging” into strategy we would ruin the good old gameplay. It’s unlikely that most players will be happy about that. That’s why we’ve decided to develop a completely new project where strategy is crucial.

— What about WoT Generals then? Are they for grannies?:)

— Nope! The uniqueness of WOT Generals is in its individual confrontation with other players. In addition, this project is aimed for less powerful devices.

A lot of users wouldn’t mind playing something related to Tanks but they can’t do it during breaks of a working day for example. For them we are going to offer World of Tanks: Generals and World of Tanks Blitz. These projects will be available on tablets and smartphones and in any browser. The main goal is to minimize playing time. If a player wants Tanks, some kind of them will be available all the time.

— Wives will start hating you! You will occupy all the niches of a player’s life!

— Is there anything bad about it?:) We have got our load of comments from angry wives with World of Tanks already. A little more of hatred won’t worsen our karma seriously.

— All the Worlds… are using the same engine - Big World. What about WoT Generals? Anything new will be used for them?

— The “exterier” – something that a player sees – it’s not Big World, it’s a browser application on HTML5. It was chosen because we are more or less sure that all browsers will support this version in a few upcoming years. One can’t say the same about Flash, on the other hand.

— There quite a few browser games where outstanding things are made using Flash?

— Nobody knows how many years they will support Flash in Safari for Macs and other devices. The confrontation of Apple and Adobe Flash is no secret. The interest of other companies to the multimedia platform has faded greatly. We don’t want to face the situation when we lose audience just because they cannot play because of technical reasons.

— You have recently made a few big acquisitions: studios with good expertise which developed popular games. Are they going to work on porting your World of trilogy and WoT Generals to different devices or are you going to use their potential otherwise?

— Our acquisitions is a different story. We felt that at some things we are not as good as we’d want to be. The first issue was definitely the engine. We needed full control over the server part of the technology to ensure stability. Big World was an expected and reasonable purchase. Acquiring Day One Studios is also about technology. The studio can boast great expertise developing multiplatform projects. They guys know how to develop games for different platforms, devices and controls.
It’s different with Gas Powered Games though. First of, they are a source of gamedesign expertise for us. They have great experience in world-renowned titles development and they simply know a lot about about game development as such. The aim of all these purchases is expanding the company’s knowledge base. Possibly as a result we will have other projects that are not Tank-related. Sooner or later they will be announced.

— Gas Powered Games included?

— Gas Powered Games included. Chris Taylor smiles all the time he is interviewed. We are not announcing anything as we are still discussing with Chris what kind of game we are developing in detail. It’s not a two-week discussion. Everything has to be counted accurately: cost of development; whether we have enough resources and whether we are professional enough. If all goes well, we’ll come out with a few products that will blow the industry!

— One question only: reality or fantasy?

— No comment.

— Talking about Gas Powered Games… World of Tanks as well as other Worlds are European games mostly. The topic of World War II is not very popular in the US. Maybe you acquired Gas Powered Games to learn to develop games for the USA?

— As I have already mentioned, we want to boost our expertise, including the regional markets specifics. We are currently working on organizing the process of how to teach our teams those things which the US guys – old good developers - are good at. The reciprocal training process is currently going. We aim to increase the professionalism of all our teams.

— How do teams from different countries interact? Their mentalities are different as well as their experience. How are the new teams doing?

— I went to the US where I communicated with the Chicago team from Day One Studios and Chris Taylor. They are very cool and comfortable to work with. Seriously! I’d say that the barrier between the American mentality and ours is exaggerated. On condition of mutual respect and understanding, everything goes perfectly well.

Of course there are some specific moments. For example, I tend to be outspoken and they used to think that I was being aggressive. It might be not our national mentality but my personal feature. WOT team had to also get used to this characteristic of mine. To tell an American that their idea is not that great means to give offence to them. We should be softer. In my case everyone had to adapt. The guys understood that my criticism doesn’t lead to firing someone. And I also started to be more attentive when I had to say something which was not a praise.

— What about the contacts between teams? Do they communicate via a top manager? Or is there a horizontal scheme of communication?

— The devs communicate with each other directly, they discuss technological issues using their own language that only they can understand. Managers communicate directly too as well as game designers. There are not many horizontal contacts on day-to-day basis, but it hasn’t been long since the acquisitions took place.
— They say that in Wargaming America employees attend the Russian Language courses?

— Yes, there are people learning English. For instance I work directly with Chris Keeling, a western game designer who has been cooperating with WG since Operation Bagration. He speaks a little bit Russian.

We mostly communicate in English with our colleagues. Our European and American offices employ Russian speaking colleagues too. It’s nice and somehow useful in terms of building rapport.

— Shall we expect a new WG title about gigantic marching warrobots – Massive Assult resurrection or something like that?

— I’ll give you our traditional answer – we’ll let you know ASAP ☺

Originally posted here.