People Can Fly has cemented its legacy as an industry veteran, with top-selling titles such as Painkiller, Bulletstorm, and most recently, Outriders. Based in Warsaw, the studio specializes in action first-person shooters and is one of the most well-known and well-experienced in Unreal Engine game development. Currently, the developer has 3 unannounced projects in the works, including a new VR port of one of their games – that we did not know before.
The VR Title
In the job listing, the description also mentions that one of their “IPs is also being adapted for VR technology”. Neither People Can Fly nor the two publishers have any prior experience with developing VR titles, so it is uncertain what the game will look like. However, we do have some extremely vital information that can point to what the game will look like, and that information comes from a job listing for Incuvo Studios.
Incuvo Studios was founded in 2012 and has a long-standing history of developing VR ports for popular titles. Some of their portfolio includes ports of several well received indie horror games, such as Layers of Fear VR and Blair Witch VR.
Therefore, it is clear that they are a seasoned studio that has more than proven capable of creating quality of ports of non-VR video games.
In the job listing, it is mentioned that People Can Fly are a majority shareholder of Incuvo Studios. As a result, it is confirmed that Incuvo Studios will be the ones creating the port for the VR title mentioned in the other job listings for People Can Fly’s other projects. A
lso, while the other projects in the job listings have industry giants as their publishers, it seems that the VR title will be a first party development published entirely by People Can Fly studios.
It is still not confirmed as to which game will be receiving the VR remake. However, when we look at the catalog of games under People Can Fly’s belt, the most likely option seems to be Bulletstorm.
Bulletstorm is an action First Person Shooter video game first released in 2011. It released a remastered version in 2017, and the game was ported for the Nintendo Switch in 2019. From this, we can gather that People Can Fly has had a continued interest in the IP, going so far as to port it for the Nintendo Switch.
No other game by People Can Fly has received nearly the same treatment or attention, so this game is the most probable IP for a VR port.
Moreover, the game’s mechanics are very suitable for a VR port. There is a lot of emphasis on kicking enemies as well as using a pseudo-grappling hook to pull enemies towards oneself, which will translate very well to a VR experience. As well as the gameplay being suitable for playability in VR, Bulletstorm lies in the perfect timeframe for a virtual reality remake.
It is not as old as Painkiller, where that game would be a poor seller due to its outdated mechanics and graphics. Conversely, Bulletstorm is not nearly as recent as Outriders, where focusing on developing a VR port would divert resources for minimal marginal increase in revenue.
The New Titles
Earlier today, we came across new job listings for People Can Fly. This includes positions for Senior Graphics Programmer, Senior Asset Artist – Vegetation, Technical Architect and Engine/Physics Programmer. There are several important things to note; firstly, that 3 different projects have been mentioned thus far. These projects are:
- Project: Gemini
- Project: Dagger
- Project: Undisclosed IP
The number of different projects currently being worked on is indicative of the success that Outriders has provide the studio. The game has sold between 2 and 3 million units worldwide, and the player-count continues to skyrocket.
The success of Outriders will have no doubt encouraged investors and publishers, greatly increasing the funding available to People Can Fly. As a result, the studio now has resources to work on several projects at once.
Moreover, as shown above, the job listing for Technical Architect specifically mentions the development of the “next generation of Online shooter game” with regards to the Undisclosed IP.
As such, it is extremely likely that People Can Fly will be following Outriders with a brand new multiplayer focused IP. People Can Fly has almost always focused on single-player experiences, and it seems that the success of Outriders has encouraged them to further engage with multiplayer projects.
Further, the job listings also mention very clearly and by name, the publishers that will be heading the release of the games; Square Enix for Project Gemini, and Take-Two (2k) Interactive for Project Dagger.
These publisher are well-known, well-regarded and very well resourced companies that have a history of highly successful AAA launches. Let’s take a closer look at what both these projects could be, and what their release could spell for the future of both People Can Fly and the gaming ecosystem as a whole.
Details are extremely scarce as to what Project Gemini could be. Both People Can Fly’s and Square Enix’s Twitter accounts contain no mention of any new IPs in development, let alone by name. However, Square Enix is known for publishing several different genres of video games, and also has ties with People Can Fly as a result of Outriders.
Square Enix is best known for the Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and Dragon Quest franchises, which are action adventure RPGs. These games are very different from the genre of games that People Can Fly is known for, which are much darker in tone and themes.
However, the release of Outriders is evidence that Square Enix is dipping their toes into Western Shoot-em-ups, and with that in mind, Project Gemini will no doubt be a first person shooter at its core.
After the vehement failure of Babylon’s Fall, Square Enix is more than likely distancing themselves from hack-and-slash Japan-centric experiences, opting for more Western flavoured first person shooters. Like Outriders, Project Gemini will most likely contain some RPG/Loot-Em-Up elements, as these are fundamental characteristics of the publisher. Moreover, the game will also likely be a multiplayer experience, riding the wave of Outriders’ success.
Similar to Project Gemini, details are non-existent on any of their websites or their Twitter accounts. However, it is extremely important to note that Take-Two is a huge company. They own both Rockstar Games and 2K Games, both of which are industry giants.
Rockstar has published some of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed video games in history, with their defining franchises being Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. Similarly, 2K Games is one of the most recognizable brands in the sports video game genre, with hallmarks such as NBA 2K and WWE 2K.
2K is an extremely interesting publisher whose video games more than fit the bill and characteristics of People Can Fly.
They made their mark with legendary single player titles such as BioShock, X-Com, Borderlands and Civilization. As such, they are more than experienced when it comes to crafting tightly woven narratives with engaging gameplay.
It is extremely likely that Project Dagger will be a single player first person shooter with a heavy emphasis on story and narrative.
The reasoning for this is two-fold; firstly, that the studio is already developing a multiplayer experience, and thus it would make sense to branch out and release a new single player video game (People Can Fly’s last single player game was released in 2013, with Gears of War: Judgement.
As a result, they are long overdue in making an industry-defining entry in the single-player market. Elden Ring proved without a shred of doubt that the market for single player experiences still exists and is still supremely profitable.
Secondly, People Can Fly’s decision to work with 2K greatly implies the development of a single-player experience, as 2K is has very few multiplayer publications. It would not make sense to choose 2K as the publisher of a multiplayer game, since they do not have the experience or the history with the medium.
As for what the game will look like, there are two possibilities. Either it will be a fast-paced shoot-em-up, loot-em-up, a’la Borderlands, or it will be a slow-burn, narratively driven experience akin to BioShock. The odds for either are equal, the arguments for each equivalent.
On the one hand, it can be argued that People Can Fly has no history of developing narrative games, and thus would not take the risk. The counter-argument for that case is two-fold; firstly, that before Outriders, People Can Fly had negligible experience with multiplayer game development, and despite that, took the risk.
This provides precedent. Secondly, the fact that Outriders was an overwhelming success more than likely encourages People Can Fly to take further risks, which might include developing a single player story-driven experience.Conclusion
Thus we can conclude that, without a doubt, at least 3 new titles and a VR port of an existing game are in the works at People Can Fly studios. Details and concrete assessments about the nature of the game are scarce; but no matter what, the games will be shooters of some kind.
Moreover, the involvement of big-name publishers like 2K and Square Enix will ensure that no matter what the game will be like, it will be an excellent and enjoyable experience.
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