With Hitman's freelancer mode in the rear-view mirror and an upcoming James Bond game (opens in new tab) boiling away somewhere behind the scenes, IO Interactive has revealed yet another project. The Danish studio has announced in a recent post to its website (opens in new tab) it's working on the straightforwardly-titled "Project Fantasy," an online fantasy RPG.
I was curious about what the "online" part of online fantasy RPG meant—after all, you could plausibly describe Hitman as an online game even though it's single-player—but IOI makes it sound familiar. The studio says it's "building a new world, a new IP [...] a world and a game built from the core to entertain players and expand for many years to come," and pays particular homage to tabletop gaming and the idea of "a diverse group of individuals with different skills and strengths" working together and becoming "more than the sum of their parts". That certainly sounds a lot like a pitch for a live-service game to me!
That's… pretty much your lot as far as announced detail goes, although we can tell from the artwork at the top of the page that we're sure as heck gonna see some willowy elf-folk and wide, squat dwarven lads. Even the job postings associated with Project Fantasy on IOI's site don't reveal much. The posting for a senior product manager promises that the game will "revolutionize the online fantasy RPG genre," while the post calling for a senior combat designer reveals that the game will, in fact, have combat. That's as close to a revelation as we get, folks.
So don't get too excited just yet: This one seems like it's in the earliest of early stages. So early, in fact, that its announcement post was a call for job applications more than a proper reveal. The Meet the Team section on the page has a bunch of interviews (opens in new tab) with people working on the project, but they're more keen on chatting about things like work-life balance rather than the game they're working on. It does sound quite nice in Copenhagen, though. Maybe senior combat designer is my calling.
Whatever Project Fantasy ends up being, I'm excited to see it. I have fallen head over heels for Hitman's freelancer mode in the last couple of weeks, dedicating an embarrassing amount of my free time to screwing up assassinations spectacularly in a range of exotic locations around the globe. IOI seems like it's only going from strength to creative strength at the minute, so I'm intrigued to see what they do with a fantasy game.