Veterans of CD Projekt Red (CDPR) are launching a new studio called Rebel Wolves, and they shared the first details about the new venture on Wednesday. Fans of CDPR’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt might be pleased to hear that Rebel Wolves’ first game sounds like it could be a spiritual successor to the hit title.
In an email to The Verge, co-founder Konrad Tomaszkiewicz described it as “a dark fantasy, story-focused open world AAA RPG,” and it’s based on a new franchise from Rebel Wolves co-founder and narrative director Jakub Szamałek, who also worked on The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. “Overall, the game will have a similar scope to the Blood and Wine expansion for The Witcher 3 but will be far more non-linear,” Tomaszkiewicz said. Rebel Wolves is planning to release it on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X / S.
Rebel Wolves is one of many recent studios that have recently been founded by longtime industry veterans — Jade Raymond’s Haven and former BioWare GM Casey Hudson’s Humanoid Studios are just two examples. However, Rebel Wolves is still in its early days — Tomaszkiewicz said the studio is targeting a 2025 release date for this first game — and the company said in a press release that it will be hiring to fill roles “in the coming months.” The goal is to “create a medium size studio with a cap of about 80 people,” Tomaszkiewicz said. He’s funding Rebel Wolves “by myself,” and the studio is “searching for business partners on this journey.”
Tomaszkiewicz, who was also Cyberpunk 2077’s head of production and its secondary game director, left CDPR in May, where he was accused of bullying colleagues, Bloomberg reported. CDPR had investigated allegations against Tomaszkiewicz, and in a message viewed by Bloomberg, he said that a commission found him not guilty. CDPR as a whole has come under significant scrutiny for its treatment of workers, especially after breaking a promise and requiring crunch on Cyberpunk 2077, which still wasn’t enough to prevent the game’s disastrous launch.
CDPR has since announced a restructuring to change the way it makes games and committed to improving working conditions, and Rebel Wolves is similarly promoting a healthier team environment. According to its press release, the studio is “unified by the mission of putting the team first — always.”
Tomaszkiewicz elaborated further in his email to The Verge. “We want to create a place where people support each other and help one another grow, where each voice matters,” he said. “In our studio, key decisions will be made transparently, and each and every developer will have a meaningful influence on the game, instead of merely executing the vision of some mythical manager they never even talked to.”
Tomaszkiewicz also addressed crunch, and while he doesn’t explicitly commit to never doing it, it sounds as if he wants to avoid it as much as possible. “I think that with the right planning and scope, you can make great games without [crunch],” he said. “[At] Rebel Wolves, the leadership will be working in the trenches, alongside other developers, and it’s in our collective interest to make sure that we maintain a proper work / life balance. Making games is challenging, but it also should be fun, not something that leaves you burned out.”
Source: The Verge