A new job ad suggests Arkane’s next project will be an online game, and probably a live, ‘service’ game of the kind that are so popular these days.
If you've got infinite leisure time, why not get into all the best MMOs on PC?
The advertised role is for an online game engineer at Arkane’s Texas studio – they collaborated with Arkane’s Lyon team on Dishonored 1 before the two studios split to focus on their own projects. Arkane Lyon worked on Dishonored 2, while Arkane Austin handled this year’s Prey. Both are thought to have sold under expectations, particularly Prey.
This probably explains the change of direction hinted at in the ad. Key responsibilities are to “diagnose and fix live service issues,” while desired skills include “experience in a ‘live’ environment (ongoing support of a product after launch).” The ad implies the new project will come to PC.
As Nirolak on NeoGAF points out, Arkane’s publishers Bethesda have been gravitating toward service games, with Quake Champions, Fallout Shelter, The Elder Scrolls Online (and Legends), and a few other unannounced projects.
If there’s been a consistent trend in the big publishers’ financial results over the last few years, it’s growth in digital revenue. The biggest financial success stories in the industry of late have all been service games (Overwatch, League of Legends, Crossfire, Destiny, to name but a few). Amidst a supposed crisis for traditional single-player games like Dishonored and Prey, this apparent change in direction is understandable.
Personally, I worry that Arkane would be getting in on the trend too late. Everyone wants a live component to their games lately, and by definition, such games aim to keep players hooked in perpetuity. We don't have infinite leisure time and the market has to saturate at some point.
Destiny 2 and Anthem are both coming to PC. Just saying.