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Monday, June 24, 2024

Witcher 3 director and Cyberpunk 2077 veterans announce new studio and ‘AAA dark fantasy’ RPG

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Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, director of the Witcher 3 and producer / secondary director on Cyberpunk 2077, has today announced a new studio formed up of CD Projekt Red veterans: It’s called Rebel Wolves. Based in Warsaw, Poland, the press release rather pointedly notes that Tomaszkiewicz “envisioned a new studio with a united goal of doing things differently while also putting the team first at all times.”

The press release really does go to town on the whole team angle. “Unified by the mission of putting the team first—ALWAYS—they believe that happy people create great games as they endeavor to revolutionize the RPG genre with their first project.”

I’m getting the sense that someone wasn’t enormously impressed with how things ended up going on Cyberpunk 2077. That aside, Tomaszkiewicz will act as CEO and director of the studio’s first game, which at the moment is unnamed and has the piece of concept art at the head of this article.

Other CDPR veterans joining the Rebel Wolves are design director Daniel Sadowski (The Witcher, Nitreal Games, Growing Up), narrative director Jakub Szamałek (Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077, Thronebreaker), animation director Tamara Zawada (Witcher 3, Shadow Warrior 2, Capcom Vancouver), art director Bartłomiej Gaweł (Witcher 1-3), CFO Michał Boryka, and Studio Head Robert Murzynowski.

“For all of us here at Rebel Wolves, video games were always something we felt destined to do—something ingrained in our DNA,” says Tomaszkiewicz. “Personally, I couldn’t be happier to have banded together with friends who share this passion. We’re developing a video game we’d like to play in a way that games should be made. We want to evolve the cRPG genre by creating unforgettable stories and stirring deep emotions, all while working as a tightly knit team united by a shared goal and ambition.

“Collectively, we envision Rebel Wolves as a place where experienced game developers can reignite their passion, where they can focus on their craft, and pour their love into an amazing, ambitious title. We want to stay small and agile—a place where people know and care for each other.”

So what about that game, eh? Based on the image I’m getting strong vampire vibes: The central character seems to have fangs, is surrounded by bats, and the little fantasy gremlins in the bottom right are looking on him with fear. The setting is clearly medieval (we can see a settlement and castles), while the focus on sliding down a mountain may be suggesting something more ambitious in terms of player traversal than a horse. There’s what looks like a gibbet in the background… so I’m going to go with vampire outcast, hated by society, out to fill your boots, snack on peasants, and save the world from something worse than yourself. This is all just my speculation based on an image of course, and is probably dead wrong.

It will be the “first of a planned saga” and “AAA dark fantasy built inside the Unreal 5 engine.” It’s also described as a “story-driven RPG saga for PCs and next-gen consoles.” That’s yer lot in terms of hard details, although team members do speak more broadly about what they’re going for.

“In order to create truly great games, we won’t chase trends or numbers,” says narrative director Jakub Szamałek. “Our goal is clearly defined: to create memorable games, tell moving stories, and evoke visceral emotions. It’s ambitious, true—and I’m glad it is. Art needs ambition. I don’t want to create another game. I want to work on titles people will remember.”

The announcement ends with, yet again, a renewed focus on the importance of a happy team. “We decided to create our own studio and run it on our own terms. Chief among them: the team comes first, always. Happy people make great games— games players want and deserve. Yes, it’s as simple as that.”

Rebel Wolves will be based in Warsaw but will also hire remote workers. It is currently hiring for its first project.

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