Meet Panzer Gaming Studios, Steam’s Weirdest Scam Artists
June 2, 2015 - garden totes
Steam Greenlight and Steam Early Access were introduced by Valve with a best of intentions. They were idealized as a proceed for reduction financially affluent diversion designers to create their passion projects, without carrying to go by large publishers; a proceed for Steam’s dedicated village to opinion for what peculiarity content they wanted to see on a world’s largest digital games platform. Of course, this is a internet, so zero ever works out utterly so utopian.
Fast brazen to 2015, and both of these services are filled to a margin with cheap, half-arsed zombie presence games full of pre-bought or pre-stolen assets. The latest (and arguably greatest) delinquent on this ever flourishing list of Steam scammers is Panzer Gaming Studios, whom we competence commend as a developers of Left to Rot, Time Ramesside and/or A New Reckoning, depending on how prolonged you’ve been following this sad, waggish story.
Headed adult by one Jason Welge, Panzer Gaming Studios is an peculiar beast. After 5 attempts to Kickstart their game, they finally rushed out a lazily put together, damaged forgive for a entrance pretension final month, one that has miraculously decreased in peculiarity given withdrawal Early Access.
I’ve covered Time Ramesside (A New Reckoning) extensively, both in and out of Early Access, and there’s an awful lot that can be pronounced about usually how bad it is. The brief version: it’s a sum mess. This is a diversion that roughly exclusively uses pre-bought Unreal 4 assets, uses denunciation and spelling (and a plot) fitting of your normal 10 year old, and struggles to grasp even a many simple concepts of art, gameplay and sound design. So slipshod is Panzer’s entrance creation, one overtly wonders if they’ve ever even played a diversion between them.
Thankfully, a story of how Time Ramesside came to be is distant some-more engaging than anything in a diversion itself.
Our story starts in 2012. After graduating from Westwood College Online (B.A, Videogame Art and Design), conduct honcho Jason Welge attempted to Kickstart his initial game, Left To Rot. Billed as a zombie filthy alliance of both FPS and RTS genres, Left To Rot only lifted $189 of a $41,000 goal. When we watch Welge’s oath video, it isn’t tough to see why.
Welge stands rather awkwardly in front of posters for Gears of War and Assassin’s Creed, as good as dual depicting a hardly clad Megan Fox. He claims that Left To Rot was innate out of his “love for conceptualizing videogames”, right before a batch JPEG of several console gamepads jumps to a forehead of a screen. It all feels unequivocally hokey, like a diseased estimation of what “gamers” want to see in a Kickstarter video.
Welge states: “We wish to have an movement packed, high-paced, Call of Duty, Battlefield, blood-pumping game! That is where we wish to be”, and “RTS and FPS play mechanics, total into one!” Again, this all sounds like a rather odd, unfilled proceed to articulate about videogames, as yet a genuine chairman isn’t observant these words.
Instantly, one contingency call into doubt accurately since Welge indispensable a Kickstarter in sequence to get his diversion off a ground. He apparently perceived a $10,000 grant from a state of Wisconsin in 2012, awarded formed on a peculiarity of some due business plan. Quite where this income went, I’m not certain, yet it clearly wasn’t adequate for Welge to emanate a preferred “blood-pumping” FPS game.
Around this time, footage from Left To Rot appeared in a indie film “Starlet”, during approximately twenty-three minutes in. This coming was after listed as one of a “Awards” won by Time Ramesside, primarily billed rather misleadingly as “Hollywood film festival indie film of a year 2102 Starlet” [sic], maybe in an early try to make a diversion come opposite as genuine in a intent.
So by all accounts, and by Welge’s wording, Left To Rot is a same diversion as Time Ramesside, or Left To Rot is a diversion that went on to turn Time Ramesside.
Fast brazen to 2013, and Panzer’s second try to Kickstart Left To Rot, now called A New Reckoning. Though A New Reckoning failed to accept a preferred volume of crowd-funding on three separate occasions (one of that still has “Left To Rot” enclosed in a URL), it showed adult on Steam Early Access on a 8th July, 2014.
Around this time, Jason Welge finds himself listed on a Unreal Engine Forums as a genuine scammer, with his crimes listed as: “Contract Scamming, Money Scamming, Resource Gathering.” User DieByZer0 (programmer Chris Ioakeimoglou) describes Welge’s modus operandi: “after we are finished completing a charge for him, he will explain that he is moving. Also, he will beget fake claims to have paid we after a charge has been completed.” Other users have advanced this statement, ensuing in Welge’s coming on a scammer’s watch-list.
This is usually a initial of many accusations leveled during Welge per his character.
On a 17th Nov 2014, Welge updated A New Reckoning on Steam. The diversion was now called Time Ramesside, a bizarre and rather nonsensical name clearly adopted to chuck A New Reckoning’s detractors off of Panzer’s trail. Not prolonged after, a game’s name was altered again, this time to a even clunkier Time Ramesside (A New Reckoning).
Another Kickstarter followed shortly thereafter, this time underneath a newly adopted Time Ramesside moniker. Despite claims on Facebook that some good essence had donated $2000 to his cause, Welge’s final Kickstarter discuss was a failure, concealment usually $58 out of a preferred $15,000. In this oath video, Welge explains that Left To Rot and A New Reckoning “didn’t go so well,” yet that Time Ramesside is a good product. I’d know if this was simply a box of revamping and compliance ideas as Welge states, yet we’re articulate about (supposedly) totally opposite games here. Given Welge’s story of fraudulently ascertaining giveaway programming/art commissions from a community, and deliberation A New Reckoning’s many many broken Steam updates, there can be small doubt that Welge is not a down on his fitness indie developer he claims to be, rather that he has been attempting to lift a nap over profitable consumers’ eyes for some time now.
This is where things get unequivocally weird.
As YouTuber BroTeamPill pointed out, Time Ramesside’s Kickstarter was launched several days after Welge was charged with grand burglary skill (more than $300, reduction than $5000) in Charlotte County, Florida. Though there’s no justification to endorse BroTeamPill’s allegations that Welge used Kickstarter as a means to compensate off his authorised fees, a timing is positively unfortunate, and it positively gives before accusations of fraud/asset burglary an awful lot of credibility.
Welge took to Panzer’s Facebook account to repudiate that he’d been charged, claiming that he was being mistaken for a opposite Jason Welge, and that he lived in Wisconsin, not Florida. However, a male graphic is but doubt a unequivocally same Jason Welge seen in each one of Panzer’s Kickstarter videos.
Time Ramesside was expelled on Apr 29th – as per Panzer’s Steam updates – yet a game’s central recover date was listed as May 1st.
This final build is about as dodgy as could be expected. The game’s executable record is simply “ShooterGame.exe”, a same executable record used for Unreal Engine’s batch initial chairman shooter demo “Shooter Game.” Panzer didn’t even worry to change their executable record to conform with possibly of their game’s names. An Early cut-scene in a diversion is a somewhat mutated chronicle of a Unreal 4 “Elemental Demo”, usually with hodge-podge resources thrown in to reinstate Unreal’s glow and ice demons.
After reviewing Time Ramesside (I gave it no stars FYI), Welge took to a comments territory to atmosphere his grievances. He began by claiming that we had lied in my review, saying that a game’s recover date was not May 1st (it is). Accompanying him were dual other users, named IceMan10153115 and Bill Venders, both of whom explain they desired Time Ramesside. Unsurprisingly, Iceman and Bill Venders common a same IP residence as Panzer Gaming Studios.
Around a same time, several Steam users were stating that they’d been banned from Time Ramesside comments sections or had seen their threads deleted, presumably for criticizing a game.
In a final pant try to overpower critics/gain sympathy, Panzer Gaming Studios labelled Time Ramesside “A Misunderstood Game”, claiming that players were awaiting too most from a diversion finished by one person (a blatant distortion – Welge states on countless occasions that he works with a team), and that people have misinterpreted his penetrating compliance of a genre.
It can be utterly formidable to sign either Welge is/was ever frank in his supposed enterprise to emanate a “Next Generation Shooter Experience.” His Kickstarter oath videos are full of genuine-sounding (if impossibly misjudged) passion, and a ubiquitous public’s disastrous greeting towards Time Ramesside (A New Reckoning) has led him to rather heatedly discuss a merits of his work on forums and in comments sections.
It’s odd, since your garden accumulation fraud artist would simply lay behind and watch a fruits of his labour. He’d take what small income he’d “earned” and conduct for a hills, never to be seen again inside a games attention proper. But Welge seems to fervently trust in his studio’s creation, and consistently shrugs off a several allegations as to his company’s untrustworthy exchange during A New Reckoning‘s development.
Ultimately, we’ll never know if Jason Welge was once a male of good ambition, forced into a life of crime by unfortunate circumstances, or if he’s usually another hack with a duplicate of Unreal Engine.
“Really what this means for me is completion. we am so driven into focusing on removing this diversion finished and doing it right, and creation a good product, contra focusing on creation a junky product and offered it.” – Jason Welge, Panzer Gaming Studios.