Meet Panzer Gaming Studios, Steam’s Weirdest Scam Artists

June 1, 2015 by

Steam Greenlight is now a hotbed of scammers and fraudsters. Want to know about our personal favourite?

Steam Greenlight and Steam Early Access were introduced by Valve with the best of intentions. They were idealized as a way for less financially well-off game designers to create their passion projects, without having to go through big publishers; a way for Steam’s dedicated community to vote for what quality content they wanted to see on the world’s largest digital games platform. Of course, this is the internet, so nothing ever works out quite so utopian.

Fast forward to 2015, and both of these services are filled to the brim with cheap, half-arsed zombie survival games full of pre-bought or pre-stolen assets. The latest (and arguably greatest) offender on this ever growing list of Steam scammers is Panzer Gaming Studios, whom you might recognize as the developers of Left to RotTime Ramesside and/or A New Reckoning, depending on how long you’ve been following this sad, hilarious story.

pitch
Jason Welge’s convincing pitch for “Left to Rot”.

Headed up by one Jason Welge, Panzer Gaming Studios is an odd beast. After five attempts to Kickstart their game, they finally rushed out a lazily put together, broken excuse for a debut title last month, one which has miraculously decreased in quality since leaving 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 said about just how bad it is. The short version: it’s a total mess. This is a game which almost exclusively uses pre-bought Unreal 4 assets, uses language and spelling (and a plot) befitting of your average ten year old, and struggles to grasp even the most basic concepts of art, gameplay and sound design. So slapdash is Panzer’s debut creation, one honestly wonders if they’ve ever even played a game between them.

Thankfully, the story of how Time Ramesside came to be is far more interesting than anything in the game itself.

2015-04-30_00002
… because this is what’s in the game.

Our story begins in 2012. After graduating from Westwood College Online (B.A, Videogame Art and Design), head honcho Jason Welge attempted to Kickstart his first game, Left To Rot. Billed as a zombie infested amalgamation of both FPS and RTS genres, Left To Rot only raised $189 of its $41,000 goal. When you watch Welge’s pledge video, it isn’t hard to see why.

Welge stands somewhat awkwardly in front of posters for Gears of War and Assassin’s Creed, as well as two depicting a scantily clad Megan Fox. He claims that Left To Rot was born out of his “love for designing videogames”, right before a stock JPEG of various console gamepads jumps to the foreground of the screen. It all feels very hokey, like a weak approximation of what “gamers” want to see in a Kickstarter video.

Welge states:  “We want to have an action packed, high-paced, Call of Duty, Battlefield, blood-pumping game! That is where we want to be”, and “RTS and FPS play mechanics, combined into one!” Again, this all sounds like a rather odd, vacuous approach to talking about videogames, as though a real person isn’t saying these words.

Instantly, one must call into question exactly why Welge needed a Kickstarter in order to get his game off the ground.  He apparently received a $10,000 grant from the state of Wisconsin in 2012, awarded based on the quality of some proposed business plan. Quite where this money went, I’m not certain, but it clearly wasn’t enough for Welge to create the desired “blood-pumping” FPS game.

starlet
Left To Rot as it appears in “Starlet”, a decidedly different game from Time Ramesside (A New Reckoning)

Around this time, footage from Left To Rot appeared in the indie movie “Starlet”, at approximately twenty-three minutes in. This appearance was later listed as one of the “Awards” won by Time Ramesside, initially billed rather misleadingly as “Hollywood film festival indie movie of the year 2102 Starlet” [sic], perhaps in an early attempt to make the game come across as genuine in its intent.

So by all accounts, and by Welge’s wording, Left To Rot is the same game as Time Ramesside, or Left To Rot is the game that went on to become Time Ramesside.

Fast forward to 2013, and Panzer’s second attempt to Kickstart Left To Rot, now called A New Reckoning. Though A New Reckoning failed to receive its desired amount of crowd-funding on three separate occasions (one of which still has “Left To Rot” included in its URL), it showed up on Steam Early Access on the 8th July, 2014.

scam

 

Around this time, Jason Welge finds himself listed on the Unreal Engine Forums as a genuine scammer, with his crimes listed as: “Contract Scamming, Money Scamming, & Resource Gathering.” User DieByZer0 describes Welge’s modus operandi: “after you are finished completing a task for him, he will claim that he is moving. Also, he will generate false claims to have paid you after the task has been completed.” Other users have corroborated this statement, resulting in Welge’s appearance on a scammer’s watch-list.

welge
(Image courtesy of BroTeamPill)

This is just the first of many accusations levelled at Welge regarding his character.

On the 17th November 2014, Welge updated A New Reckoning on Steam. The game was now called Time Ramesside, a strange and rather nonsensical name seemingly adopted to throw A New Reckoning’s detractors off of Panzer’s trail. Not long after, the game’s name was changed again, this time to the even clunkier Time Ramesside (A New Reckoning).

 

Another Kickstarter followed shortly thereafter, this time under the newly adopted Time Ramesside moniker. Despite claims on Facebook that some benevolent soul had donated $2000 to his cause, Welge’s final Kickstarter campaign was a failure, netting only $58 out of the desired $15,000. In this pledge video, Welge explains that Left To Rot and A New Reckoning “didn’t go so well,” but that Time Ramesside is a great product. I’d understand if this was simply a case of revamping and reworking ideas as Welge states, but we’re talking about (supposedly) completely different games here. Given Welge’s history of fraudulently ascertaining free programming/art commissions from the community, and considering A New Reckoning’s many many broken Steam updates, there can be little doubt that Welge is not the down on his luck indie developer he claims to be, rather that he has been attempting to pull the wool over paying consumers’ eyes for some time now.

This is where things get really weird.

price
Time Ramesside is not a multiplayer game, nor is it an episodic one.

As YouTuber BroTeamPill pointed out, Time Ramesside’s Kickstarter was launched several days after Welge was charged with grand theft property (more than $300, less than $5000) in Charlotte County, Florida. Though there’s no evidence to confirm BroTeamPill’s allegations that Welge used Kickstarter as a means to pay off his legal fees, the timing is certainly unfortunate, and it certainly gives prior accusations of fraud/asset theft an awful lot of credibility.

Welge took to Panzer’s Facebook account to deny that he’d been charged, claiming that he was being mistaken for a different Jason Welge, and that he lived in Wisconsin, not Florida. However, the man pictured is without question the very same Jason Welge seen in every one of Panzer’s Kickstarter videos.

Time Ramesside was released on April 29thas per Panzer’s Steam updates – though the game’s official release date was listed as May 1st.

2015-04-30_00006
A cut-scene from Time Ramesside, in which this… thing emerges from an icy cliff.

This final build is about as dodgy as could be expected. The game’s executable file is simply “ShooterGame.exe”, the same executable file used for Unreal Engine’s stock first person shooter demo “Shooter Game.” Panzer didn’t even bother to change their executable file to correspond with either of their game’s names. An Early cut-scene in the game is a slightly modified version of the Unreal 4 “Elemental Demo”, just with hodge-podge assets thrown in to replace Unreal’s fire and ice demons.

After reviewing Time Ramesside (I gave it no stars FYI), Welge took to the comments section to air his grievances. He began by claiming that I had lied in my review, stating that the game’s release date was not May 1st (it is). Accompanying him were two other users, named IceMan10153115 and Bill Venders, both of whom claimed they loved Time Ramesside. Unsurprisingly, Iceman and Bill Venders shared the same IP address as Panzer Gaming Studios.

Unreal-Engine-4-Elemental-010
The same cut-scene, this time from an Unreal 4 tech demo. Panzer simply replaced the ice giant with their own scorpion abomination.

Around the same time, various Steam users were reporting that they’d been banned from Time Ramesside comments sections or had seen their threads deleted, supposedly for criticizing the game.

In a last gasp attempt to silence critics/gain sympathy, Panzer Gaming Studios labelled Time Ramesside A Misunderstood Game”, claiming that players were expecting too much from a game made by one person (a blatant lie – Welge states on numerous occasions that he works with a team), and that people have misinterpreted his keen reworking of a genre.

It can be quite difficult to gauge whether Welge is/was ever sincere in his purported desire to create a “Next Generation Shooter Experience.” His Kickstarter pledge videos are full of genuine-sounding (if incredibly misjudged) passion, and the general public’s negative reaction towards Time Ramesside (A New Reckoning) has led him to rather heatedly debate the merits of his work on forums and in comments sections.

review copyy
A totes legit critic tries to write a totes objective review.

It’s odd, because your garden variety scam artist would simply sit back and watch the fruits of his labour. He’d take what little money he’d “earned” and head for the hills, never to be seen again inside the games industry proper. But Welge seems to fervently believe in his studio’s creation, and consistently shrugs off the various allegations as to his company’s shady dealings during A New Reckoning‘s development.

Ultimately, we’ll never know if Jason Welge was once a man of great ambition, forced into a life of crime through desperate circumstances, or if he’s just another hack with a copy of Unreal Engine.

“Really what this means for me is completion. I am so driven into focusing on getting this game done and doing it right, and making a great product, versus focusing on making a junky product and selling it.” – Jason Welge, Panzer Gaming Studios.

About Liam Lambert

Liam lives in York, UK, and is a writer/editor/Social Justice Waluigi. He is currently studying for a degree and drinking an ocean's worth of cranberry juice.
  • TracyS

    Jason is a scammer. He is currently working a leasing scam in Punta Gorda FL, but not for much longer because he is being evicted. He is moving back to Wisconsin. Please watch out for any dealing with this SERIOUSLY DISHONEST person.

  • straafe

    Haha, this guy offered me a 3D modeling job way back in 2012. He offered me around 250USD a month for full time hours. I declined. My favorite part of the first kickstarter video is towards the end when he says “Look to the right of your screen at all the great rewards we are offering” as he gestures to HIS right, which is the left side of the viewer’s screen.

  • Marcus Lowry

    I actually worked with Jason when he was doing the Left to Rot game. Believe it or not, he really knows his way around the Engine…the problem…he is an idiot who can’t take criticism.

    He truly believes in what he is doing. That does not make it right. I say this to lay to rest the “scam artist” thing. Guys, Jason is mentally handicapped. If you spent as much time talking to him as I did, it is very clear, he is mentally handicapped.

    However, I did spend around 300 dollars on some assets which he stole. Jason, this is Marcus, if I ever get to meet you. 1 hit K.O.

    By the way, I love seeing how much of a failure your games are. It is fitting for you and you are getting what you deserve….you made your mess, not stay in it.

    • Andrew Moore

      So you are saying that you would 1 hit K.O. a mentally handicapped person? LOL

  • Adam Burner

    I’m glad that he got what was coming to him. He stole all of my environment assets and some of my animations when I worked with him. He said that I had “signed” a contract and that everything of mine belonged to him. I worked with him for over 2 years and he was always sketchy, always taking and stealing peoples hard work. I fortunately came to my senses and left Panzer. Still would love to find a job in the gaming industry doing Environment and level design.

  • Mas Sirianni

    If anyone wants to see some of the ridiculous game play from his games check out allshamnowow on youtube, he plays time ramesside and it’s “sequel” X-17, and they are just absolutely as great as you could expect from jason welge (so bad it’s hilarious).

    • Panzer Gaming Studio

      Thanks!

  • Commander BB Shockwave

    And now, 1 year later, Jason is back with what has to be the worst made game in history, X-17… :D

  • Thoughtful

    This Panzer guy is so ridiculous. I gotta love how he basically avoids all the facts saying “it’s in the past”. He blatantly stole all the assets, etc. and fucked over his dev team (if that even existed in the first place, that is; I can’t even believe anything he says anymore). Not only that but he lied to his customers — his games do not have a multiplayer feature, nor do they have multiple episodes.

    As if that wasn’t enough, he feigns ignorance over everything he’s said and done and expects that he will somehow turn a profit for wasting his time trying to sell his garbage. I can’t but feel shame for him.

    • F

      My brother worked on A new Reckoning as a writer and had to constantly give Panzer Game Studios money to help fund the development. He gave so much that he had to move into an apartment his dad had to pay for and get a job at walmart.

      • disqus_ObSBG7by3u

        He always asked for money from people that “used” to work with him.

  • IronC101

    wow this is the first I’ve heard of this guy and his “games” lol what a scumbag

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  • Panzer Gaming Studio

    This is so outdated and inaccurate now all around, we have a good laugh reading this now.

    • Bongo1138

      Oh good. Do the Steam reviews give you chuckles too?

      • Panzer Gaming Studio

        That they do except for the ones in August. So out of date.

    • ForestCritter

      Bro…let it go. It’s just sad at this point.

      • Panzer Gaming Studio

        Ohh I have let it go, that’s why I wrote this is so outdated, and was so inaccurate to begin with. Sales are really starting to climb now with the improvements and updates I have made on the game. When I can honestly sit here and say this article has nothing to do with the game at this point their is no reason to be offended.

        • Hiphopanonymous

          Sales climbing on an 18% positive review (all of those positives are you no doubt on different accounts) game? Highly unlikely. Face it, your game is shit, you can’t spell for shit, and you’re god damn insane. No one believes your lies except you, scammer.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Yeah It still sells each month, and I can prove that so before you go ahead and talk shit you better back up your mouth hot shot.

          • Demarcoz

            Dear Panzer Gaming Studios

            “Sales are really starting to climb now” Really? What, you made $68 off one of your “games” instead of $58? Well done, hope that minimum “sales climb” was worth all the hate. Also, the minor amount of improvements you made won’t save your career at this point, you’re a scam, and people all over realize that by the day. One copy (which is most of the time immediately refunded) of your game sold each month isn’t much of an accomplishment, it’s usually posted on youtube to showcase just how horrendous it is anyway. It’s practically a “joke game” at this point. So bad you can’t help but laugh. But please, keep on doing what you’re doing, I want to see just how much trashier your products become as time goes on. I could be surprised with a game that you actually put a bit of effort into. At this point can’t say, all of your work is worth jack-shit so far. Put in some effort to produce good content for once in your life you miserable scammer.

            Sincerely, just another pissed off user. (I suspect you’re used to this kind of stuff by now).

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Hmm go to steam spy dumbass we now have 45k retail copies out. Sucks to be you.

          • Demarcoz

            Good for you, really, still doesn’t affect how most think of you though. Doesn’t change how shit the quality of your content is. Unless those “improvements” were the equivalent to the Titanic. Also, I wouldn’t say it sucks to be me y’know, considering I have a decent reputation and career. You have a reputation as an effortless douche who pulls content out his pompous posterior . I find you just as they do. Which is a fraud, liar, and a scummy little scammer. But think, all this could’ve been avoided if you just put even a little effort into your products. Then they’d think of you as someone who tried their best to produce something. Instead you lied, over and over, saying nonsense of episodes, fake or real teams, (I honestly can’t tell over how much you’ve contradicted yourself over them) and multiplayer dlcs. But nope, for some reason you couldn’t manage that. So really now, who is the dumbass here?

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Lol u understand i work on my games especially t.r more than 60 hours a week. So dont talk to me about time or effort when you have no clue of what you are talking about. I had over 200 uodates on t.r alone.
            Eitherway its kewl am still working on t.r not giving up on i think this time around with the soon to be released build will be a step in the rigjt direction if not the perfect direction. Unlike other developers i have not given up and abandoned any of my games.

          • Demarcoz

            I guess we’ll see if the new build really is what you crack it up to be. I don’t care whether you give up or not on any of your games. I just want to see good effort, because currently I don’t. If you’re going to spend 60 hours week on one game, and create 200 updates, then users like myself, would expect quality content from it. But what we receive is not what we expect 60 hours a week is worth. If the new build isn’t a step in the perfect direction, then the amount of disgruntled users will increase drastically I hope you understand. Since your reputation as a developer is so down in a rut right now, another step could destroy you beyond repair, or it could boost your rep a bit up. Be VERY careful with it. Try another approach, because I don’t know if your type of effort will cut it in this new build. 60 hours a week would work, but you and your possible team will have to put a hellova lot more effort into this. Make 60 hours a week look like it’s worth 120 hours. Don’t sit there slacking off or doing minor enhancements to your project. Make it quality over quantity at the beginning, not vice versa with “episodes”. Focus on it rather then the next step and it might just make Panzer Gaming Studios a decent and, in time, a good game company. I’m not condemning you. Just know that I am judging you on what I’ve seen from your history in creating games. I can’t say your track record is impressive, so I, as well as those holding those 45k retail copies, will be expecting more than a lot from you and your studio.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Agreed

          • Hiphopanonymous

            Am I supposed to be impressed? People buy it cause it’s cheap trash they can use to inflate their steam library. Don’t delude yourself into thinking you have talent, because you have NONE.

          • Demarcoz

            Preach it.

          • Hiphopanonymous

            It’s so hilarious how you reply to people online, also. You are not helping yourself here. All you do time and time again is prove what a hack you are at life. It’s no small wonder why people like sterling and broteam are out against you, as well as many other people I haven’t bothered to read into yet. Get a real job, scam artist.

    • Srikant

      Hey Panzer Gaming Studio..
      I am Envenger form Skype hope you remember..

      What happened to the 100$ advance you were sending me?

    • Daumus

      Not really, no. Nothing’s changed and i felt sorry for even downloading a torrent of the game…

    • IronC101

      you and your multiple personalities I’m sure

    • hahahahahaha

      I don’t even have words for your shamelessness

  • Panzer Gaming Studio

    yeah the FPS template with no coding in. Honestly how do u think my A.I is written. Doesn’t matter either way Shootergame doesn’t exist. Plus I dropped down the price of the game to 99 cents until all major bugs are fixed, and all video that is around right now is pretty much all false especially this video. That content doesn’t even exist anymore. Especially with the new update coming out now in 4.8

  • Panzer Gaming Studio

    Yep if i was scamming anyone you said it best I would have headed for the hills! Starlet one the hollywood film festival of 2012.

    • Panzer Gaming Studio

      Ohh yeah one more thing that tech demo is long gone, along with the shootergame name.

      • Bongo1138

        But it was there in the first place?

        • Panzer Gaming Studio

          If people are going to complain about that I have big news for you most people that use UE4 for a FPS game use the core mechanics of shootergame. So complaining about using it doesn’t effect me at all.

          • NovoGeek

            Wrong. It takes anyone with half a brain to be able to use Shooter Game and rename the core files to represent your product,

            And if you can’t do that, it would take you 5 minutes to create a new FPS project using the FPS Template and then start creating your game in that.

            You sir are a Tool and a Liar.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            yeah the FPS template with no coding in. Honestly how do u think my A.I is written. Doesn’t matter either way Shootergame doesn’t exist. Plus I dropped down the price of the game to 99 cents until all major bugs are fixed, and all video that is around right now is pretty much all false especially this video. That content doesn’t even exist anymore. Especially with the new update coming out now in 4.8. A Tool huh tough words for someone that doesn’t know what he is talking about anymore.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Ohh yeah one more real big thing. That FPS template NEVER existed when we started making the game in UE4. We had access a little more than a year before it was released to the public, and it wasn’t even called UE4 at that point. It was called something else and under contract with EPIC I cannot talk about anything from this point on.

          • Homie da Clown

            you’re a complete tool, goof, whack job. I could make a better game with laundry detergent, a rubber band and three ounces of finely grated cheese.

          • Johnny Ohm

            I would play the shit out of your game and probably love it.

          • jeremy pilloff

            how much money have you made like 50 bucks

          • Panzer Gaming Studio
          • Danny Hensley

            That’s not true, they use the base of the fps blueprints provided by unreal engine, not the shooter game. You used every single asset that the shooter hooter game provided you, and the name…you didn’t even try.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Yeah I didn’t come up with the name. Also when the project first started we had access to the BETA to UE4 before it was open to the public. FPS blueprint did not exist.

    • Beetlejuice

      Your games are all the worst kind of shit and your reputation’s in the sewers. Give the fuck up.

      • Panzer Gaming Studio

        Yeah Like how you say games, when I have only made one game published. Shows how much this guy Beetlejuice knows. Ontop of that no I will not stop.

        • Hiphopanonymous

          You have made multiple “publishers” on steam to cover your own tracks, so people won’t know it’s you, idiot. But surprise, we instantly know it’s you, all we have to see is “Mostly negative” and we found you.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Wow your a real genius lol. Perhaps you should really look at the date posted when I said I have only made 1 game published lol. By the way I have 4 published now and one more on the way!

          • Hiphopanonymous

            “Wow YOUR a real genius lol”
            A person who doesn’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re” , and ends all their sentences with “lol” is mocking the intelligence of another. Priceless.
            You have changed the names of your own “team” multiple times in an attempt to make it so people don’t know it’s you, which would kill your sales if you kept the same name. With your track record of releasing nothing but pure shit, you probably have to. You’re only selling to those who don’t even bother to pay attention to the dead giveaways or just those who buy them cheap just for the sake of inflating their Steam library. Don’t kid yourself into thinking your games or any of your work is even of anything of good quality.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            That is your opinion. But I know many a lot of gamers out there do like my games! So I could care less if you do or not.

          • Hiphopanonymous

            You could care less? So you do care?

            By the way, it’s “I couldn’t care less”

            Yes, the point of your games being scams are my opinion. But it is also the opinion of many many other people out there who you just dismiss with “oh it happened a long time ago.”

            It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened, it still happened. You think time just makes it all better and “Oh it’s okay if he did etc. etc. etc.
            It happened in August.”?

            Do I want to see you do better? Yes. I think you’re capable of it, but you utterly refuse to, and all you do is purchase stock unity assets for games like that one rat game I forgot the name of it.
            Instead of working on a project for an extended period of time and putting your full effort into it like you claim you are, you sit on Disqus arguing with children like in the other comments below, and me, and call potential customers idiots if they question you or have a problem with your product. That is a truly shitty attitude for ANY businessman to have. But of course all I say will just go through one ear and out the other with you because you already made it obvious you just don’t even give a shit.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Yeah you clearly have no idea what you are talking about as far as assets and a few other things go. But thanks for wanting me to do better will see on this new game coming out. By the way I spend about 60 hours a week busting my butt.

          • Hiphopanonymous
          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            umm yeah you linked a game that isn’t mine at all. Same with the unity asset store. I have never touched unity in life. What was the point behind this?

          • Hiphopanonymous

            yep, as predicted.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            you linked digital homicide. I actually know that studio. Also FYI the owner is suing Jim Sterling for 10 million dollars. You should really look into things more before accusing me of making games that I have never been a part of.

          • Sizzler541

            If you’ve never touched Unity in your life, why do you have it listed on your linkedin profile? Or are you just an outright liar? I think we all know the answer.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            College does not count. That was back in 2009 when I took the 9 week class.

          • Sizzler541

            So what you’re saying is that you’re a liar on LinkedIn, if it “Doesn’t Count”.

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Fine I will take credit for unity even though I never used it for publishing purposes. Also you should really look at the last time linkedin plus the last time I logged in.

        • Mas Sirianni

          If you have only made one, how do you explain this masterpiece? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQCvvrkPDJc

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Wow your a real genius lol. Perhaps you should really look at the date posted when I said I have only made 1 game published lol. By the way I have 4 published now and one more on the way!

          • John Ceccarelli

            You’re*

          • Panzer Gaming Studio

            Your

    • Shxdow

      Lol is this for real? If you’re really Panzer, you make awful games. My friends and I, who are all 16 and still in high school, could make a game 10-times better than your team of autistic shites.

      • dantheman

        Same here lol its pathetic. I’m also sixteen and have made (but not released) games far better than this.

      • Panzer Gaming Studio

        A team? Really dont talk shit when you dont know what your talking about.

        • Hiphopanonymous

          And here we have a full-grown adult cursing out and fighting with minors.