What you need to know
- IO Interactive recently started building a new team for a new IP.
- We've received evidence that this game could be in partnership with Xbox.
- The codename right now is "Project Dragon," and is in the early stages of development.
Recently, IO Interactive of Hitman fame spoke to GameIndustry.biz about spinning up a third team to support a new IP that was something "different" for the studio. And we may know a bit more about what it is.
A few months ago, I received information that Microsoft and IO Interactive were in talks for a new fantasy RPG, dubbed Project Dragon. While it's too early to share any sort of gameplay details — the final product may look wildly different than the initial pitch — what's on paper thus far sounds incredibly ambitious, and represents a completely new direction for IO.
On IO Interactive's website, various job listings are live for multiplayer positions in IO's Swedish studio. And indeed, we've heard that this Dragon project is a connected-world RPG, set in an entirely new universe. One of the job listing PDFs on IO's website specifically refers to the team being "Dragon," adding credence to the information we've recieved.
Previously we discussed how Microsoft is working with several third-party partners as part of its Xbox Global Publishing effort, with the aim of bringing more exclusive high-quality games to Xbox consoles, and indeed, Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft's Q3 2021 quarterly earnings report detailed record revenue for their gaming efforts, specifically citing hardware sales and Xbox Game Pass subscriptions as key growth drivers.
If Microsoft is indeed the publisher of IO Interactive's upcoming game, it joins a growing number of reasons to be excited about future games heading to Xbox. IO Interactive recently released Hitman 3 to widespread praise, and is also working on a video game based on the James Bond universe, dubbed 007.
As with all rumors, take it with a pinch of salt until we get official word from either IO Interactive or Microsoft. And of course, anything can happen between now and launch. This game in particular sounds like it could be years away, as it's still in the very early stages of development. One thing is for sure, though — if IO is able to hit anywhere near what I believe has been pitched, I for one am very excited indeed.