Victor Kislyi Interview

Good day everyone, brief interview with WarGaming CEO Victor Kislyi:

We know the number of possible tanks and tech tree branches isn’t unlimited, and they constitute most of the major updates to the game. What direction will the game go when the possibilities for tanks are exhausted?

  • Our researchers have already dug up material for Polish, Italian and Hungarian tanks. Even by modest estimates that is enough material for several years. After that we’ll see. I don’t really agree with the idea of tech branches being the only backbone of updates, we just launched Grand Battles, which is something I long dreamed of.

Do you plan to add modern tanks into the game?

  • We’re often asked about this. Huge walking robots, helicopters, modern tanks. With WarGaming we have 4,500 people working for us, a lot of them extremely creative, so we think of everything. From time to time these ideas go into concepts and prototypes, though we only release info on these outside of the company if we’re sure the idea will work. For example, not everything we first tried with Grand Battles worked out and went on into the final version. That’s the law of show business, hits aren’t easy.

Single player campaigns have appeared on consoles. Are there any plans to develop something like this for PC?

  • We’ll see how it goes. Initially World of Tanks is a PvP game, but not everybody likes PvP… You also can’t forget that the whole game industry was first built on PvE. If everything goes well we’ll look further into the idea.

World of Tanks just completed it’s first season of Ranked Battles, which was heavily criticised. Do you consider that criticism justified?

  • Ranked battles, or as some people say skill based matchmaking, is a subject long discussed in World of Tanks. It was a first attempt, and the statistics say that over 90% of our active players tried the mode. Yes, a number of defects were picked up, but this is normal for any large scale mode. We listened to the players and took their feedback into account for the second season. It will be much better than the first. If necessary, the third version will do, or as many as we need to reach an ideal option… If people write, or criticize, it means they’re interested. If nothing is criticized, it’s suspicious. Maybe they stopped playing? When I launch World of Tanks I’m immediately piled by messages. Most are thankful for the game, but sometimes they like to swear. Like “Oh, you’re a so-and-so”. I immediately screen these and send them to specially trained people. Let them see what players complain about.

Are you playing a lot now?

  • I play in tanks and ships. I platoon in Blitz with my son. Since the beginning of the closed beta I’ve been playing Total War: Arena. It could have been earlier but I’m still an addicted man. I want everything to be finalized, but in general I like games, since the early 80s.

It was recently revealed that Blitz will have tanks from Warhammer 40k.

  • Yes, that’s right, several tanks. Of course this doesn’t mean full scale alterations of the game. In Blitz there’s a kind of tradition that it’s audience accepts, that there will be more fantastic machines from time to time. By the way, I myself really like Games Workshop. Some time ago, my son and I went to Nottingham, where Robin Hood splits the arrow in half, and spent the entire day in the Games Workshop factory and shops. I have a lot of respect for the company.

Recently, Sega and Creative Assembly have become your partners. How did the cooperation for Total War: Arena start?

  • Even when we did Operation Bagration at different exhibitions I first pestered Creative Assembly first, then Sega about doing something for the Second World War. That didn’t really go anywhere, but I knew some people there. Now we have tanks all over the place, happily fighting each other in PvP, and now we come to Sega a little bit more solidly, and we agree that Total War with PvP is an interesting concept. They shook hands and we began work.

In December, you announced an action MMO called “Caliber”, but since then we’ve heard nothing. How much longer is the wait?

  • The answer to that one is simple: work. Games need a lot of work over a long time. This is a somewhat new genre for us, and it’s a team effort. As soon as we have something to show, we’ll show it.

What do you think is the future of the WG Labs project, which so far has only released one really noticeable game, Master of Orion?

  • WG Labs isn’t a separate company. We must understand that we put the WarGaming stamp on solid, long-term projects. WG Labs is a search, with the task of going out and being friends with everybody, knowing where everything is going, going to all of the exhibitions, and from time to time coming across interesting projects. In this case hundreds of games are shoveled. Understand that hits do not appear every year.
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