1047 Games, developer of free-to-play 'Halo with portals' FPS Splitgate, is ready to move on.
Not from portals, but definitely from the Halo comparison. The studio announced today in an interview with Digital Trends that Splitgate's next content drop would be its last.
The game isn't shutting down, but from there on, 1047 will support Splitgate with regular bug fixes while the bulk of its team moves on to what's next: another portal shooter in the Splitgate universe powered by Unreal Engine 5.
"Specifically, we are trying not to be 'Halo meets Portal,'" 1047 Games founder Ian Proulx told Digital Trends. "That’s another reason we want to move away from this. We want to come up with a new art style … Give us a blank slate and let me show you what we can do."
Following a $100 million funding round this time last year, Proulx says 1047 is going much bigger. The goal is not to make "just something that’s a really successful indie game, but is a massive AAA game with the budget, with the team."
Proulx sees this as an opportunity for 1047 to rethink aspects of its FPS that it was never satisfied with. "There are things we want to redo because we’ve learned a lot. There are things we want to change because we think we can do better," Proulx said.
1047 isn't talking specifics yet, but player retention seems to be a major focus of its next game—something Proulx feels Splitgate was never set up to do well.
"I think with Splitgate right now … it’s really fun and people love it, but after a month or so, they’ve experienced everything there is to experience and they’ve probably left their positive reviews. But they’ve also probably run out of things to do and it’s gotten stale for them."
Splitgate's story has been one of ups and downs. The arena shooter originally launched on PC in 2019, but despite positive impressions, it didn't make a splash. In 2021, the studio returned with a plan to reinvigorate Splitgate—unreleasing it back into "open beta" to coincide with its console launch. This worked, attracting millions of players at its peak, though the Splitgate player base has steadily declined over 2022. On Steam, around 1,600 players are playing Splitgate daily (that number is likely higher on PlayStation and Xbox). Those are healthy numbers for an indie game, but not sustainable for Proulx's "AAA" vision for 1047.
The way Proulx talks about the new game has me doubtful it'll be another arena shooter. "We’ve done market research, we’ve done surveys, we’ve looked at the data, we’ve talked to our community. There are a lot of things we want to change to make sure we have a game that stays relevant long-term."
Please Proulx, you had me at market research. While I'd personally like to see 1047's cool portal tech applied to, perhaps, a singleplayer campaign, I'd wager surveys are steering Splitgate towards some version of a battle royale with built-in downtime for socializing.
Whatever it is, the next Splitgate is still years away (Proulx says it definitely won't be out in 2023 at least). Meanwhile, as a goodbye to the original Splitgate, the arena shooter will get an unlimited-time battle pass with 100 unlocks on September 15.