Guns and gadgets are giving way to hammers and magic. For the better part of seven years, IO Interactive took its classic Hitman franchise from an episodic release of the first game to a fantastic trilogy. Now work is underway on the next adventure from the talented studio. This time, it’ll be an online fantasy RPG.
Besides a piece of concept art that checks all the fantasy RPG boxes, we don’t know much. IO Interactive isn’t even naming it yet. Right now, the studio is dubbing it simply “Project Fantasy.”
The developers touched on their inspiration for the game and how it will influence their work on it in a blog post:
“For many, this journey is also a deeply personal one that began long before we started making games for a living – and it started with the fantasy genre. From the “Fighting Fantasy” books compelling you to choose your path, alone, against wizards, lizards, and thief kings. To the togetherness, camaraderie, agony, and delight found around the tabletop. For some it meant taking the role of a game master: Part storyteller, part AI opponent, part guide, part villain. For everyone around that table it meant creativity, imagination, building a world together, and a shared goal in creating a great game experience.”
“This idea – that a diverse group of individuals with different skills and strengths can work together and become more than the sum of their parts – is what inspires us. It inspires the fantasy world we are building – and it inspires how we build it.”
IO Interactive’s CEO Hakan Abrak has previously mentioned a “third universe” the studio was tinkering with. In a 2021 GI Live talk, Abrak described it as “a bit different and absolutely a love child. It is something our core people, our veteran staff, have been dreaming about for some time.”
IO Interactive’s trio of studios (Copenhagen, Malmö, and Barcelona) will lend a hand in developing this new title. The studio is also using this announcement to recruit experienced developers to help out. Several job listings for Project Fantasy include, Animators, Network Programmers, Encounter Design, Producers, and more.
IO Interactive will also be sending some of its team to GDC as they look to bolster their development ranks for Project Fantasy and Project 007.
Right now, their two new projects are Project 007 (a James Bond game) and Project Fantasy (an online RPG).
It’s good to see IO Interactive branch off from the Hitman franchise. I love it, but I’m curious to see what the team can do with the new IP/genre. The fantasy genre is one of the biggest out there, and it’ll be interesting to see what the studio can bring to it.