Alan Wake 2 developer Remedy Entertainment announces that the planned free-to-play co-op multiplayer game that the studio has been working on with Tencent has been rebooted. Remedy, which is known for strong single-player experiences like Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Control, was going to be making a F2P live service game, but that looks to have changed.
Remedy makes some of the best mind-bending single-player games out there. So when the Alan Wake 2 developer announced in 2021 that it was making a free-to-play live service co-op game with Tencent, it sounded a bit odd. Codenamed Vanguard, it was to mark “Remedy’s first entry into games as a service business model,” something many studios have tried and failed to do.
That looks to be changing though, as while Remedy is still working with Tencent, Vanguard has become Kestrel, “a premium game with a strong, cooperative multiplayer component.” While it will remain in the concept phase, and not to be confused with the Control multiplayer spin-off, it doesn’t sound like a strictly live service game anymore.
“We have made some great strides in free-to-play and multiplayer development in Vanguard,” Remedy CEO Tero Virtala says. “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 competencies is the right way to go.”
The news also adds that Kestrel will keep a lot of the assets and themes from Vanguard, and lean on Remedy’s core strength while doing so. There’s no doubt in my mind this decision has been in the pipeline for a while, but that the glowing Alan Wake 2 reviews pushed it over the line.
Too many publishers are forcing their premium single-player studios to make multiplayer live service games these days, which keeps seeing many of these projects stuck in limbo, or, well, bombing completely. Just because you can make a live service game and focus on perpetual revenue streams (or whatever the dudes in chairs like to say) doesn’t mean you should, especially when an experienced team doesn’t have the know-how to pull it off.
I imagine Kestrel will still have some live service-type elements in it, but letting Remedy focus on a premium triple-A release – something the studio is phenomenal at – that incorporates strong co-op elements is the wisest move, especially at such an early stage in development.
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