10 Chambers, the studio founded by Payday and Payday 2 lead Ulf Andersson, is now working on a heist shooter of its own. After finding success with hit co-op horror shooter GTFO, the studio's going back to the roots of much of its staff with Den of Wolves, a cyberpunk heist shooter coming to PC and consoles.
Den of Wolves was unveiled as part of tonight's Game Awards live coverage, and 10 Chambers shared more about the game at an event attended by GamesRadar+. Now two years into pre-production and finally becoming playable internally – but still so unfinished it doesn't have a release date yet – Den of Wolves is billed as an "FPS co-op heist game in a techno-thriller setting."
That setting necessitated a lot of world-building, 10 Chambers said. The game picks up in 2097 after over-advanced AI brings the world's financial system to its knees. In a desperate bid to fend off AI-powered hacks, global powers give mega corporations their own private, regulation-free island – always a good idea – in exchange for the development of a peerless defensive AI based on the architecture of the human brain. The AI fends off the hackings, and Midway City – built on the Midway Atoll, a real island home to a real wildlife sanctuary here in 2023 – becomes a hotbed of cutting-edge tech and quickly spirals into a web of crime.
If this is starting to sound like some Night City-grade excess, you're in good company. I had the same thought, but 10 Chambers has a different vision for the cyberpunk near-future compared to CDPR's Cyberpunk 2077 and the TTRPG that it's based on.
"While we love games such as [Cyberpunk 2077,] a fantastic game, with that type of sci-fi, I would call it more like fantasy sci-fi, if you get what I mean. It is cool, but I don't believe that the world would look like that in 50 years," says communication director Robin Björkell. "I don't believe we will have a neon mohawk, a prosthetic arm just because it looks cool. Where innovation usually happens is where corporations can make money and in convenience, like a smartphone and stuff like that. We don't believe that it's in prosthetic arms and neon mohawks. We're trying to create a game world that we think would actually be possible to exist in the future."
Den of Wolves does have some strikingly lit skyscrapers and streets of its own –though it is not an open-world game – but 10 Chambers paints a different picture than Night City. The studio's apparently built out a whole world's worth of fictional brands and companies to furnish Midway City and make it more convincing, and Björkell says that this sci-fi theming also enables a variety of scenarios for heists. "You can only rob so many banks," as Andersson puts it.
Solo or with up to four players, you'll take on traditional robberies as well as espionage, kidnappings, or assassinations. Prep missions might be 20 minutes long and involve gathering resources for a bigger heist, while larger projects may take all the way up to two hours.
"We will try to make single-player missions available, but everything we do is designed for co-op," Björkell says. He also describes a "drama curve" of action and stealth, with heists fluctuating between the two depending on how you play, but rarely descending into a never-ending shootout like Payday or GTFO often do.
"GTFO is so hardcore, so comparing gameplay or difficulty, I would compare it more to Payday 2 than GTFO," Björkell adds. "But we're really hardcore on cooperation still. We don't want it to be like a heist where you jump in and someone is entering the bank through a window, someone goes into the main entrance, someone is in the parking lot looking for a way in, and it's just a chaotic heist with no planning at all. So, much like GTFO, you need to be really aligned on the objective, everyone has a clear role that's super important ... But as much as we hope for GTFO players to be excited about this game, in terms of difficulty, it's more Payday 2."
Meanwhile, the Dishonored devs announce an "immersive, third-person" Blade game, but it sounds like we won't be playing it for a while: "Sit back, let us cook."