Alan Wake devs Remedy reboot “Vanguard” shooter as premium game due to the “risks” of free-to-play

Alan Wake and Control developers Remedy Entertainment have announced that their untitled co-op shooter, the artist formerly known as project Vanguard, will no longer be a free-to-play game – largely, it seems, because the free-to-play business is looking a bit dicey. The game has been given a new codename to celebrate: Kestrel. It’s still a co-op multiplayer affair, however.

The reboot follows an evaluation period during which Remedy and publisher Tencent discussed a proof-of-concept version of the game, as we reported last month. They’ve now kicked it back to the concept phase “due to uncertainties in creating a successful game [in] the rapidly changing free-to-play market and associated risks”. A few members of the old Vanguard development team have moved to other Remedy projects, while the core leadership and certain select developers carry on with Kestrel.

“The new experience will lean more into Remedy’s core strengths and be built on many of the features, assets and themes already designed for Vanguard,” reads a note to investors, scooped up by Eurogamer.

Remedy CEO Tero Virtala added that “after a lot of careful consideration, we believe that taking on a new direction where the game will be built more around Remedy’s core competences is the right way to go.

“We are creating another distinct Remedy game with Tencent’s continued support in making a great cooperative multiplayer experience,” he said.

Remedy have at least one other multiplayer game on the boil, codenamed Condor. It’s a live service spin-off from Control which, as of October 2023, had “progressed from the proof-of-concept to the production readiness stage”. Last month, Remedy commented that they had “acquired valuable insights into developing service-based games” and are now “in a better position to create a game players can engage with for years”. It seems likely that many of the former project Vanguard devs have transferred to Condor. (Control 2 is still in the proof-of-concept stage.)

I think Remedy not doing a free-to-play service games is as a good move, partly because Remedy don’t have much of a track record for this kind of thing, and partly because the free-to-play market seems dangerously oversaturated. I’m interested to hear more from Remedy executives about the above “risks” and “uncertainties”. In other news, it looks strongly like Alan Wake 2’s DLC will deepen its plot connections with the original Control.

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