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New studio founded to make Lords of the Fallen 2 for PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X

Tough times.

A new studio has been founded to make Lords of the Fallen 2 for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Publisher CI Games announced Hexworks, a new studio based in Barcelona and Bucharest that's building the fantasy action-RPG sequel.

It's led by executive producer Saul Gascon and creative director Cezar Virtosu. Gascon was global development director at Overkill studio Starbreeze (and executive producer on Overkill's ill-fated The Walking Dead game) before a short stint at Smilegate Barcelona. Virtosu was previously as Paris-based support studio Virtuos, and before that Ubisoft Bucharest.

Lords of the Fallen 2 has had a troubled development. In May 2019 we reported CI had brought development in-house not long after charging New York studio Defiant with making the game.

The break didn't sound amicable, either. Here's how CI Games announced it in a Polish press release:

"The termination of the agreement was submitted due to inadequate execution by Defiant [of] a key work stage (milestone no. 11), a so-called vertical slice. The quality of the work was lower than expected by the company, as precisely described in the agreement, despite three calls to improve the quality of this stage of work."

Defiant didn't agree, and was less than thrilled by the portrayal.

"We categorically disagree with the portrayal of Defiant Studios made by CI Games," founder and managing director David Grijns told Eurogamer.

"The team that was working on CI Games' project was comprised of exceedingly talented developers whose work we fully stand behind. Our team knows how to build quality games as is evident by their key roles in Just Cause 3, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Far Cry 5, Devil May Cry (DmC) and many other top tier projects."

However, he added: "As we intend to abide by our contractual confidentiality obligations, at this time we cannot expand further on this matter."

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Fast forward to September 2020, and CI Games has now revealed its plan for the game.

"It's been a long time since we started talking about Lords of the Fallen 2 and trying different ideas," CI Games boss Marek Tyminski said.

"I am very excited for us to be able to announce the new studio that has been already at work for the last half of the year and made significant progress.

"Initially we decided to keep that quiet as we didn't want to bring that to public eyes before we would build the core team and before we would all agree on the details of the first project and move forward with our vision. So, this is the time to officially say we are here and we're here to stay."

The Lords of the Fallen 2 development team is around 25 people, CI said. According to the note to press, the studio "is embracing a bit more of an indie approach to development as opposed to larger studios".

Lords of the Fallen 2 is described as "a shift from the original's power fantasy to a dark fantasy", and it will be more challenging than its predecessor.

"The sequel will also be much more loyal to the challenging combat experience that the Soulsborne and Souls-like communities enjoy," CI said.

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