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Red Faction: Guerrilla sequel was another Embracer casualty, say former Fishlab devs

"You could see that both the company chiefs had been crying a lot."

A mech explores rocky terrain in Red Faction: Guerilla
Image credit: Volition

Embracer reportedly killed a Red Faction: Guerrilla sequel.

That's according to Rock Paper Shotgun, which reported this week that several former Fishlabs developers have confirmed that when Embracer killed off dozens of studios and projects after an investment deal collapsed, it also killed off a Red Faction sequel, too.

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Described as a "safe sequel" "with a familiar emphasis on wrecking buildings", the development team was keen to develop original creator Volition's blueprint with "open-ended play experience" more in keeping with immersive sims, such as Arkane Austin's Dishonored. It's thought the game would have been set a century after the events of Guerrilla, featuring new and reimagined locations. As the female protagonist, players would have led an underground revolution, forging alliances and factions along the way.

RPS reports that whilst Fishlabs had pitched the Red Faction game several times to parent company Plaion, "the most elaborate pitch came in mid-November [2023], and involved an element of cosplay".

"In addition to screening the 'fake trailer', team members posed as characters from the game, with the Red Faction resistance group 'hacking' a presentation given by a sinister corporate agent. Plaion's immediate feedback was positive, and sources say there was wide confidence that the game would be greenlit. But it wasn't to last," RPS news editor and long-time Eurogamer contributor Edwin Evans-Thirlwell reported.

By the time executives were asked to vote on the project's future in November, however, the 50-50 split saw the game unceremoniously cancelled.

"You could see that both the company chiefs had been crying a lot, and there was a representative from Plaion there as well," an anonymous source from Fishlabs told RPS, recounting the all-hands meeting in which staff were informed of the cancellation. Subsequent cuts were then made across almost all departments, with 50 people laid off from level design, narrative, game design, programming, audio, art, and animation.

Today, most Fishlab devs work "as a cross-dev team" supporting other Embracer endeavours.

Yesterday, we reported that Embracer Group – which has reduced its headcount by 4532 employees in the past financial year – wants to harness AI to "empower" its staff, saying artificial intelligence "has the capability to massively enhance game development by increasing resource efficiency".

In its latest annual report, Embracer privacy and AI governance head Tomas Hedman stressed it would be a risk if the company didn't use AI, as it would put the firm at a "competitive disadvantage [with] other industry players".

"Certainly, one of the major risks for a company is not to use AI, as this would mean a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis other industry players," Hedman said. "Most companies will move forward on AI integration in different ways. For us, it is the way that we do this that is the most critical element.

"We do not want to replace people with AI, we want to empower them," Hedman added. "This is the core of our human-centric approach to leveraging the potential with AI."

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