Arkane Studios founder Raphael Colantonio left the game company in 2017, saying that he wanted to spend time with his family and "reflect on what is important." Now, he is re-entering the game industry two years later, partnering with Arkane Studios veteran Julien Roby to create a new game company called WolfEye Studios.
Colantonio and Roby founded WolfEye Studios after some deep introspection about how the game industry functions. Roby says that the goal of the new studio was to get back to the "core ideas" of game design. To them, this means focusing on games that respond to player actions and immerse players in the world. Colantonio says that he is tired of "playing the same game" every year.
WolfEye is working on a new game that will hopefully break this cycle and will be announcing more details about the project at The Game Awards this December. Colantonio and Roby say not to expect another Dishonored game, but that fans of Arkane's previous titles will like what WolfEye has in store.
WolfEye represents a shift from the standard game industry performance, which puts an emphasis on huge, juggernaut games that focus on graphics over all else. Instead, Colantonio is looking to work with small teams, unique art design, and streamlined games over big ones. He wants to "make big games that focus on the right areas" rather than ones with teams of hundreds that never talk to one another.
He also criticizes the industry's over-reliance on graphics, saying that an obsession with visual fidelity hamstrings other aspects of game performance. Even with our current technological advancements, Colantonio believes that games without clear art direction produce forgettable visuals. He describes such titles as "big Hollywood blockbusters" and claims that they lack substance.
It's not hard to see where Colantonio is coming from. Zenimax Media, Arkane Studios' parent company, is one of those "big Hollywood blockbuster" studios he is talking about. Zenimax's subsidiary, Bethesda Softworks, has published plenty of big-budget games with huge open worlds and varying degrees of criticism from fans. To many, the company's output has become too similar in recent times.
Hopefully, WolfEye will provide a refreshing break from the standard practices of the game industry. It's definitely worth keeping an eye on this December at The Game Awards.