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Don't hold your breath for Lords of the Fallen 2

"We have a very small team working on the Lords of the Fallen sequel."

A big question mark hangs over the second game in the Souls-like action role-playing series Lords of the Fallen.

Last week creator CI Games announced it would no longer seek to compete at a blockbuster level following the "big mistake" of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3.

Then at the weekend Tomasz Gop, the driving force behind the Lords of the Fallen series, announced CI Games had let him go.

Speaking to me, Gop said: "I was let go because of a reduction in team, in scope, in budget, in business approach.

"Almost two years I've been working on the sequel and I have not seen it leave the concept/vision stage. I was working on something I was really 100 per cent into and we were not producing the game.

"There came a time when Sniper [Ghost Warrior 3] was the most important thing for CI, the next big hit. It also might have been the reason why Lords was not progressing as fast. Of course it's not uncommon knowledge that [SGW3] didn't go exactly according to plan, especially if it goes for sales. And here we are."

Clearly Lords of the Fallen 2 is not the 2017 game CI Games boss Marek Tyminski once told me it would be. But are the problems more severe than a delay? Has Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 derailed Lords of the Fallen 2 for good?

Speaking to me, Marek Tyminski clarified: "What we said about departing from triple-A: it means that we can really focus on the quality of our products, not thinking we have to match the scale of the major releases. From our standpoint it doesn't mean anything negative.

"It goes for the Lords of the Fallen sequel as well. It doesn't mean that we are not continuing with Lords of the Fallen - we definitely have that game in our plans and we definitely want to make this a great game. We're very serious about Lords of the Fallen the sequel. It's nothing like going halfway: this is definitely the quality way."

What CI Games meant by not chasing blockbuster scale was not getting carried away by open-worlds and the bottomless pit of work that goes into to filling and testing them - issues Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 fell well foul of.

"We have really high ambitions for our games in the future but it doesn't mean that they have to be the scale of the current blockbusters," added Tyminski.

"The market is really changing, because you see some major releases, the real blockbusters, doing great numbers, but then you have games that are called triple-A but in fact they're not triple-A by today's standards - maybe they were by three year's ago standards - and they are suffering by not really selling as many units as anyone projected.

"Definitely Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is one of them but there are several examples, even lately - without me telling you which games I'm talking about there are definitely several examples. So the market is changing, it's consolidating among the largest releases.

"Considering that," he went on, "I don't see CI Games being able to, in the near future, raise even more the production budget and marketing budget and really being able to compete at that blockbuster level. But definitely the studio's ambitions, and the people who are working for CI, we definitely want to make great games."

Lords of the Fallen 2 is still on the cards but it sounds like there's a lot to do and not a lot of people to do it. "We have a very small team working on Lords of the Fallen sequel," Tyminski said.

CI Games is currently looking for partners like Deck 13, the German studio that co-developed Lords of the Fallen 1 - and more recently released The Surge - to get production up and running.

Nonetheless, Tyminski was optimistic the game could arrive within two years.

"I wouldn't say it's a couple of years away," he said. "We've been working quite a lot on Lords of the Fallen 2, we really did a lot. It's really finding the best teams who can work on that game together, and when we have that setting, we pretty much know what we want to do."

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Part of CI Games' recent announcement (the fuller, Polish contents of which Eurogamer Poland verified to me) was a pledge to try and release a new game each year. Tyminski explained this didn't mean one-year development cycles but rather multiple teams working in parallel to ensure a steady flow of releases. There will be no release this year, he said, but there will next year.

"We will have a game next year but we don't want to say anything about what the game will be," he said.

What happens to the Sniper Ghost Warrior series beyond ongoing support for SGW3, Tyminski wouldn't say. "I can't tell you anything about Sniper Ghost Warrior in terms of the franchise at this point," he said.

Whether or not the new tactical shooter CI Games announced during all of this will be related to the Sniper Ghost Warrior series also remains to be seen. All we know is CI Games intends to do a more paired down tactical shooter "without all of the trappings of a large open-world setting", according to the recent press release.

Said Tyminski to me: "We don't want to comment anything about the tactical shooter in terms of what the game's about - it's definitely too early to say anything."

Tomasz Gop, meanwhile, has a new job working for controversial studio Destructive Creations - creator of provocative but sloppy twin-stick shooter Hatred.

He's well aware of the stigma attached to the studio but believes things are changing there. "I'm pretty sure the team has moved on since then," he told me.

Gop will work on the studio's new game Ancestors - nothing to do with Patrice Desilets' Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey - a European medieval real-time strategy game concerned with historical realism. We'll see more around Gamescom and Ancestors will be released at some point next year.

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