Vanguard, Remedy's mysterious multiplayer game, is being rebooted. Just a couple weeks after saying that it hoped to have the game's "proof-of-concept" finished by the end of the year, the studio announced today that it's decided to take the project in a whole new direction, with a whole new codename.
We never really learned anything about what Remedy originally had in mind for Vanguard, except that it was meant to be a "multiplayer live game" developed in Unreal Engine 4. The now-removed Vanguard website (via the Wayback Machine) says only that "the Vanguard team’s mission will be to challenge conventions and create a new breed of social, multiplayer Remedy experiences," which isn't a whole lot to go on.
But it doesn't matter now, because that plan is off. Remedy said the decision to reboot the game, made after discussions with publisher Tencent, came as a result of "uncertainties in creating a successful game [due] to the rapidly changing free-to-play market and associated risks." Instead of free-to-play, Vanguard—now codenamed Kestrel—will be a premium game, although it will retain "a strong, cooperative multiplayer component."
"We have made some great strides in free-to-play and multiplayer development in Vanguard," Remedy CEO Tero Virtala said. "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."
The reboot means the project will be returned to the "concept phase" of development. Part of the team that was working on Vanguard will be moved to other Remedy games, "while the core leadership and select members of the development team of Kestrel will focus on the project’s new direction."
Virtala warned during an investors Q&A in October that the success of Alan Wake 2 could throw its planned schedules for future game releases off track. That happened with Control in 2019: It took longer than Remedy expected to start work on Control 2 because interest in the original persisted beyond what the studio had expected. "[Alan Wake 2 is] an opportunity that we now need to keep an eye on, and then evaluate if it will have some effect on some of the schedules that we have," Virtala said.
By all appearances Alan Wake 2 is a major success for Remedy, although there's no indication that was a factor in the decision to change direction with Vanguard. Whatever the case, it seems that we'll never really know what Remedy was aiming for with it—and we'll have to start the waiting-game clock all over again for Kestrel.