Remedy Entertainment, the developer of such games as Control and Quantum Break, is currently working on three new titles, including an unannounced title and a live-service game called Vanguard. This announcement came as part of the company’s financial statement for the year of 2019, which provides a few scant details of in-development projects.
In addition to providing DLC for the critically acclaimed Control, the studio will be providing the single player experience for Smilegate’s upcoming CrossfireX as well. This project is the most well-known of Remedy’s in-development work, as it was formally announced at E3 of last year.
According to the financial statement, Vanguard and the unannounced title are both “projects that are based on the company’s own game brands,” which suggests that they could be extensions of the studio’s previous work on titles like Alan Wake and Quantum Break.
A live-service Control?
The company is most eager to talk about Vanguard. According to the financial report: “The goal of Vanguard is to create a game that combines long-term service-based multiplayer experiences with some of Remedy’s unique game features.”
Essentially, Remedy is hoping to create a service game that players will continue to revisit regularly, likely propped up with microtransactions, providing the company an endless stream of revenue. These kinds of games have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they deliver a far larger return on investment than games that are intended to be played, enjoyed, and then put to one side.
This is a big departure from Remedy’s standard output — the studio is known for well-built single player games that tell a definitive, carefully plotted story. Crucially, these games tend to have endings, providing the player with closure and a degree of narrative satisfaction. Live-service games by their nature are intended to just keep going.
Thus, if Remedy is building a live-service game, the studio will need to come up with an ongoing story that won’t get tiresome in spite of its unending, cyclical gameplay loop. This hasn’t proven very easy for other studios making a similar transition. Most notably, BioWare, once beloved for its story-based role-playing games, has struggled to keep players engaged with its live-service title, Anthem.
There’s also the question of whether customers will appreciate a live-service game set in an existing universe from a Remedy game. Their games tend to skew towards horror, making the player feel like a small, helpless individual facing off against a much larger malevolent force. Thus far, most live-service games sell themselves on providing the player with a power fantasy, rather than promising to scare them repeatedly as they rue their own relative powerlessness.
Nevertheless, while Vanguard sounds like a dramatic departure from Remedy’s standard fare, this is no bad thing provided the company can stick the landing.