I got acquainted with the game World of Guns: Gun Disassembly back in 2014 year, after it was released on Steam. Even then, I knew that this project came from Ukraine, but I could not contact the developers. But now it has happened and we are talking with Valerii Zadorozhnyi, director of the studio Noble Empire Corp., which created this game more than 10 years ago.
But first a little about World of Guns: Gun Disassembly itself. It’s not quite a game, but more of a technical puzzle, guide, simulator, and fetish for true gun enthusiasts. A kind of modern analogue of the famous two-volume book by Oleksandr Zhuk – “Revolvers and Pistols” and “Rifles and Submachine Guns”. In the game, you can disassemble and assemble samples of firearms from different countries and times, see how they are built, how they work, etc. A real paradise for those who are in love with engineering and weapons.
World of Guns: Gun Disassembly is out on Android, iOS, Facebook, macOS and of course on Windows PC. And it is still doing well, getting updated and getting new weapons. Now there are already more than 250 units and every month one or two new samples are added, the priority of which can be voted by the players themselves. The game is free, and contains in-game purchases, but Ukrainians have free access to all models.
The game has a very good Steam rating of 83% and by various estimates from 620 thousand to 4.78 million installations only on Steam. Be sure to try it!
And now to the interview with Valerii Zadorozhnyi.
Good afternoon, Valerii, tell us a little about yourself. Who are you, where are you from, how did you get to this life, i.e. developing gun games? Are you a small arms fan yourself? How many samples do you have, do you often go to the shooting range, do you support the idea of free ownership of weapons in Ukraine?
I am Ukrainian, from Kyiv. I am a philologist by education, but since childhood, I have loved technology, repair, and everything related to it. I worked for my father in a car workshop. I began to be more interested in weapons in 2008 when we started working on the Gun Disassembly project. I had a Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun and several air pistols.
I support the idea of free ownership of weapons in Ukraine, but… It should be a deliberate and large-scale measure. The opening of clubs, shooting ranges, the implementation of an educational base in schools, and a rethinking of the legislative framework, that is, the culture of using weapons in the country as a whole needs to be changed.
As I understand it, it all started in 2010, when Noble Empire Corporation acquired VK Team’s engine and technology. What kind of team was that? Did you immediately see the potential in the creation of a designer of firearms? What did Noble Empire do before acquiring VK Team?
We had a small Ukrainian team with experience in game development called VK Team. We later reorganized into Noble Empire, which is an American company, simply because at that time the US entity had much more access to mobile markets. We worked on several games, but Gun Disassembly turned out to be more successful.
Gun Disassembly’s first iOS apps came out in 2011. Which platform is currently your main user base and revenue, if it’s not a secret of course? For example, on Steam, according to various estimates, the game was tried by 620 thousand to 4.78 million players. Which of these numbers is closer to the truth?
The first version of Gun Disassembly 3D was released in 2010 and it was a version for iOS. At that time, in our opinion, it was a more promising market to start your journey in game development for a small independent team. After that, we released versions with support for Windows, Mac, and Android platforms. It remains the same now, we have 3 main platforms Steam (Windows, Mac), iOS, and Android. If you count the downloads of all versions on all platforms, there may be more than 20 million downloads.
In addition to firearms, World of Guns even has cars and dinosaur skeletons, but the main focus is on weapons. Why, did cars and lizards turn out to be less interesting for users?
Yes, firearms turned out to be more interesting, probably because in World of Guns: Gun Disassembly (the modern name of our game program) we cover a wide range of interests. For older people, WOG is an encyclopedia of modern and historical weapons, for a large number of specialists it is a tool for use in the maintenance of weapons, for the younger generation it is just fun, to compete in the game, disassembling and assembling models as quickly as possible.
For the entire time, we received a lot of grateful feedback for what we do: from the police, various special services, and officials of the armies of many countries. This helps them maintain their weapons and train others. There are generally very unusual appeals and thanks. For example, one of the users wrote that he has autism and our program helps him calm down. And there was also a case when they wrote from the court of some US state and asked for permission to use a video from our program in a court case. Many teachers of educational army units from countries such as the USA, Germany, Ukraine, Australia, and Italy wrote and thanked us. It’s very nice.
As far as I understand, initially, the weapon models for the game were developed in Kyiv, some Kyiv 3D artists have World of Guns and Noble Empire in their resumes. How about it now? Who and where designs the models for the game and how many employees does Noble Empire have?
Yes, and now there are employees in Kyiv. We work remotely… Ukraine, Italy, France, Estonia, Turkey. We work with 3D designers, and animators.
According to the in-game polls, each weapon model takes about a month to develop, and since 2011, you’ve been adding at least 12 new models to World of Guns every year. Do you work with weapons manufacturers, and with some shooting organizations, or is everything modeled only based on technical drawings from scientific libraries?
Model development takes from 1 to 3 months, depending on the complexity and availability of materials. We work actively and have a lot of interested manufacturers, we recently went to the SHOT Show (The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show) – an annual exhibition and fair in Las Vegas (Nevada), dedicated to the topic of hunting, shooting sports, and firearms in general. Together with IWA & OutdoorClassics is the largest gun show in the world – ed.) and made many new acquaintances there.
On the Noble Empire website, it is written that the company is ready to sell models and animations of weapons for other games and even movies, in addition to developing models to order. Can you give examples of such cooperation, again if it is not a secret?
We do not sell models with all internal details, only the exterior. Currently, for example, a book will be released. We worked with the authors for almost a year and released a historical model Collier Revolver.
World of Guns is a very cool game, but it’s over 10 years old. Are you thinking about some World of Guns 2 on a new engine, relatively speaking with RTX support? Have you considered creating a VR version? Have you thought about something like a gun shop simulator like car mechanic simulators, tank mechanic simulators, repair workers, and such, which are many on Steam?
We plan to release an update with new features, but we already have more than 250 weapon models, and it will take several years to update all the content, so we will not directly change anything radically. We are currently preparing for open beta testing of our new game, which we have been working on for almost 4 years. It’s called World of Shooting, and we think it’s a very interesting project. The game already has more than a hundred models of firearms, and about 100 mini-stages for shooting according to different rules – practical shooting, kill house, closed and open shooting ranges, and the opportunity to create your own mini-game. (Mezha editors have already tried World of Shooting and yes, it is indeed a very promising game about weapons – ed.)
How long are you going to support World of Guns? Another 5, 10, or more years. What are the obstacles on this way?
We plan to always support and expand. There are no obstacles, all you need is a desire!
Among Noble Empire projects with the Coming Soon note, you can see Tank Disassembly, Plane Disassembly, and Helicopter Disassembly. Are they really in development, or are they frozen for now? If these games are in development, when should we expect them, and on what platforms?
We have already released a tank, an infantry fighting vehicle, and an F4U Corsair fighter aircraft within the framework of World of Guns. Perhaps we will add the Mi-24 helicopter, but we must understand that such complex models take a lot of resources (as well as PC resources, complex models with thousands of elements take a very long time to load – ed.).
Now in the arsenal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, there is a whole zoo of Western, Ukrainian, and Soviet weapons. Do you think World of Guns can be used as a kind of interactive guide for the army? Have you thought about any DLC in honor of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with Ukrainian weapons, camouflage, etc.?
The program cannot be used as a tutorial because there are no instructions inside. Training must be conducted by a competent instructor, and World of Guns can be used as an additional tool to help understand the functioning of weapons and their disassembly. By the way, all models of firearms for Ukraine in the World of Guns program are free. And if any of the Ukrainian arms manufacturers contact you about us, please provide them with my contact information. We would love to do Malyuk for World of Guns!
Thanks for the answers, Valerii! Good luck in working on all your projects. And of course, we are waiting for the release of World of Shooting and the appearance of new interesting weapons in World of Guns.