Previews

Den of Wolves — the next heist game from the GTFO crew

10 Chambers, the developers behind GTFO (which stealth-released Rundown 8.0 entitled “Duality” today!), have also revealed a brand new game. To cut to the chase and use the parlance that was plastered all over the team’s shirts – “We’re back on that heist shit!”. We got to talk with the team about their new heist, game, Den of Wolves, during a recent visit, and let me tell you – we are in for a wild ride.

If you need a catch-up, 10 Chambers is the team behind the original Payday: The Heist and Payday 2 titles, so they know the heist game. This game is more than that, though, giving the team the opportunity to reset with the freedom to build a completely new, no hand-holding, hardcore, co-op FPS that would emphasize the best parts of what they’d built in the past, while pushing the envelope both visually and in terms of gameplay. While GTFO may have been what they called a “rehab” project, where they just set out to have fun making something completely new and unexpected, Den of Wolves is the game they wanted to make from the start. If you’ve ever played GTFO, it’s every bit of those things. With the team bolstered to roughly 125 people, the Stockholm, Sweden-based team is ready for what comes next.

We sat down with Narrative Director Simon Viklund of 10 Chambers to talk about the new game. While we are still light on story details, Den of Wolves takes place in the middle of the 21st century. Deep Learning AI has expanded at a lightning pace, impacting every aspect of our lives. While they do work to make things easier, they’ve also been repurposed into devastating tools in the hands of hackers, terrorists, thieves, and worse. The massive corporations offered to step in and help with fresh innovations in cyber security, but in exchange they wanted something in return – a completely unregulated zone where they’d no longer be bound by laws or ethical standards.

Heavily inspired by Hong Kong, Manhattan, and other large cities, this new location, dubbed Midway City, is what is coined an “unregulated innovation zone”. Here, the best scientists employed by the massive concentration of high-powered corporations, can build without the constraints of morality, or even the law. Their innovations were indeed massive, but many also equally dangerous.

When you have a massive glut of unregulated tech, rival corporations become very interested in obtaining it for themselves. This gives rise to underground black markets, runners who will happily bust open another company via bullets or via stealth, willing to take those innovations by force. You are a part of this caste of professional criminals, offering services like extraction, industrial espionage, sabotage, assassination, or other “unauthorized errands”. Yeah – it’s that heist shit we talked about.

The team wanted to revisit some of the decisions that they’d made with their previous heist titles. First, they wanted to offer more player agency not normally found in other similar titles. Typically you’d hear some sort of boss in your ear, telling you precisely what to do – not so in Den of Wolves. These are your crew, and you’ll need to be the voice in their ear. They also want to provide a lot more choice, as well as mission flexibility not even found in their own games.

If you’ve played previous or even the most current Payday games, then you know that once things go loud, there’s no way to pull back to stealth. All of your decisions are removed, and slinging lead is your only choice. In GTFO we already see some of this “reset” goal as spooking the creatures will cause you to have to go loud, but the compartmentalization of the rooms allows you to cool things down, reset, and try to go back to stealth if you are so inclined. While we don’t know what form this will take quite yet, Simon was clear that they’d be looking for a number of ways for players to adjust their approach mid-mission.

The other objective 10 Chambers set out was easily their most ambitious. All they had to do was “redefine what a heist can be”. Easy, right? To help that happen, they want to inject some real-world touches that give their games a bit of realism. For example, Midway City is set in a real west coast area of the Pacific Northwest in the United States. They’d also be using real court cases when possible, as well as integrating the real-world consequences of late stage capitalism. They also want the game to be molded by your decisions. You might help a company affect or even take over a particular market, but that might cause ripple effects on other companies, forcing more violent contracts by their rivals, an increase in crime, and more.

The game is a blend of full-out bullet hell action, silent kills and slow movement stealth, and everything in between. Cooperative for up to four players (or you can bring bots along for the fight), you’ll face humans, augmented trans-humans, elite mercs, robots, and far worse. You may decide your approach before you set out to start the mission, but you might need to make adjustments mid-mission based on the circumstances that emerge as the game aims to be unpredictable and challenging. To help you succeed, you’ll have access to a wide variety of weapons, high-tech gadgetry, and various hacking skills.

Here’s a little bit of what 10 Chambers Founder and Creative Director Ulf Andersson had to say about Den of Wolves:

“Having worked on heist games in the past which channeled classic bank robbery themes, we wanted to take Den of Wolves in an exciting new direction that allows us to elevate what a heist can be. You can only rob so many banks. Den of Wolves’ sci-fi themes and gameplay elements gave us the freedom to offer more variety in heists — incorporating corporate espionage, sabotage, and assassinations.”

Simon Viklund went on to say:

“We value the art of worldbuilding enormously, so even though Den of Wolves isn’t an open-world game, the history and narrative we’ve built around Midway City is considerable. We want Midway to feel like a believable city of the near future where late-stage capitalism has gone rampant, and corporations set the rules. As a player, you reside in Midway City’s underground domains without any real identity or documentation, building your allegiances to become a criminal entrepreneur through its black market of gig jobs.”

The last tentpole that 10 Chambers wanted to reinforce was that they wanted this to be a fully-baked product. No pay-to-win, no gambling, no microtransactions and “no math-fuckery”, meaning that it would be expanded with proper DLC like we used to have. What you see is what you get, and frankly I love that.

While we don’t have a release window yet, the trailer already has the game looking gorgeous. The game will start as Early Access, just like GTFO did, only this time they will be looking closely at potential console releases as well as PC. Based on my time with their previous works, as well as the unbridled enthusiasm the team displayed while talking about this game, they are excited to share this next game with us. Based on what I’ve seen so far, they have every right to be.

Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief | [email protected]

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.

Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.

Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 27 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).

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