Remedy’s upcoming co-op shooter will no longer be free-to-play

Remedy vanguard Alan Wake 2 Max Payne
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Alan Wake 2 developer Remedy’s upcoming co-op game, codenamed Vanguard, will no longer be free-to-play due to a “rapidly changing” market.

Developer Remedy may be better known for its narrative-driven games – not least this year’s rather spiffing, and very spooky Alan Wake 2 but it’s also been dabbling in other, rather different genres. One of those dabblings was previously codenamed Vanguard, and was billed as a free-to-play co-op shooter game that has long been shrouded in secrecy.

Behind the scenes, however, Remedy has begun to have second thoughts about the whole free-to-play part of the equation, and has even gotten cold feet over the old Vanguard codename. As a result, what was once Vanguard is now called Kestrel – but due to “uncertainties in creating a successful game due to the rapidly changing free-to-play market and associated risks”, both Remedy and publisher Tencent are looking for a “new direction” for the game.

The news comes via an earnings call with investors, first reported by Eurogamer, in which Remedy CEO Tero Virtala talked about concentrating on the studio’s “core competencies” rather than make yet another game in the already huge free-to-play shooter market.

“We have made some great strides in free-to-play and multiplayer development in Vanguard,” 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 competencies 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.”

Remedy also has another multiplayer game in the works, this one called Condor, which is said to be a spin-off from the studio’s own Control.

It’s just possible that recent headlines have given Remedy and Tencent pause. Sega recently cut its losses in a major way by cancelling the multiplayer arena shooter, Hyenas, just before it was due to be released. Then there are the vast array of competitors set to join the market, with Sony having 12 of the blighters in the works (though six are delayed), and Warner Bros Interactive stating that it wants to transform more of its “biggest franchises” into live service games, much like Rocksteady’s long-gestating Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League.

Given that making a game based on “Remedy’s core competencies” is business-speak for “let’s stick to what we’re good at,” it sounds as though the studio’s doing the logical thing, and avoiding the bit of the gaming market dominated by the likes of Fortnite, Apex Legends and so forth.

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