For most game developers, creating games is all about exploring creativity to deliver unique experiences in the virtual world. Unfortunately, to some developers the entire focus is on making a quick buck.
In December 2012 War Z was the perfect example of a game that demonstrated all it cared about was making money. It all began with reports that the game didn't match what was advertised on its Steam Store page or its website prompting widespread refund requests. Soon, word got out about the game's lack of creative qualities, from its name to its gameplay that were ripped straight from the popular ARMA 2 mod DayZ. It didn't help that it was one of the first game to aggressively push microtransactions despite having a pay-to-play business model.
War Z creator Sergey Titov would call those who complained the "minority". Interestingly enough, the game stands at a distressing 20/100 on Metacritic, one of the lowest game averages achieved in 2012. Eventually, the name War Z would change to Infestation: Survivor Stories. After making some money on the title, Sergey Titov and the gang appeared to move on.
Things have been quiet for the past couple years. It almost seemed as if that was the last we would see of the shady businessman known as Sergey Titov. However, behind closed doors he was busy with his next clone.
This week a game by the name Burstfire has hit the Steam Store. Priced at a reasonable $14.99, to unsuspecting customers it looks like a great deal. After all, August is a soft month for games, and even the most average of experiences can be exciting during this time of year.
Upon playing the game many have noticed striking similarities to Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, the most widely talked about tactical shooter release of 2015. Looking at its official description it's clear that it's taken a page or two from Rainbow Six:
As described in a Steam Community post, Burstfire makes no effort to hide its direct inspiration. As with Rainbow Six Siege, it has wall barricades, barbed wire, ground drones, and 5v5 combat. Even its gameplay trailer is formatted almost identical to what Ubisoft Montreal showed off at E3.
But what Burstfire doesn't have is Rainbow Six Siege's Anvil engine. In its stead is the same clunky, unintuitive Eclipse engine that War Z ran on; gunplay and movement feel off, and visual feedback is lackluster. There are also a lot of bugs, ranging from players getting stuck on objects to multiplayer lobbies not functioning properly. Consequently, user reviews have been mixed, with many cautioning potential customers to spend their time and money elsewhere.
Sergey Titov and his new publishing company Free Reign Entertainment would attempt to market the game by sending a mass e-mail to all entries in the War Z database. Everyone who has ever registered for War Z has received a Burstfire marketing e-mail this week inviting them to purchase the game. The effort was largely successful as the game shot up in sales within hours, earning a higher rank on Steam's Top Sellers list.
Sergey Titov has attempted to hide behind new company names in order to avoid rousing suspicion. Both developer Nacho Games and publisher Free Reign Entertainment have no history to be found, , and simple search engine entries won't lead you anywhere. It wasn't until players noticed that the download link on their website points to 'thewarz.us5' that things began to unravel.
What you see here is a game just as bad as War Z, and created by the same guy who made headlines back in December 2012. Just as with War Z it lacks creativity, is a buggy mess, and is being billed as an Early Access title to offer players hope for a brighter future. It's become clear over the years about shady developers are remarkably persistent, and Sergey Titov is an example of that. Sadly, he doesn't appear to have learned anything during the past 30 months, and now he wants more of your money.
Do yourself a favor and grab a closed beta key for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. Play that for free in a few weeks and see if you like it. If you don't, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is always a safe option. Whatever you do, Burstfire doesn't deserve your hard-earned money.