Vanguard had been announced in December 2021 along with the news that Chinese publisher Tencent would be brought on to localize and distribute the game in China. It had originally been billed as “a free-to-play, co-operative PvE shooter that combines Remedy’s narrative expertise and action gameplay into an immersive multiplayer experience.”
However, this latest announcement said that such an idea wasn’t working out anymore. “Due to uncertainties in creating a successful game to the rapidly changing free-to-play market and associated risks, the parties have discussed a new direction for the game project, which will be given the new codename, ‘Kestrel,’” the announcement read.
Remedy’s shift to premium could be the bellwether that heralds the end — or at least slowing down — of the free-to-play trend that has the big publishers in a vice grip right now. It was already kind of odd that a developer known for its extremely sharp and atmospheric narrative games like Alan Wake, Max Payne, and Control was getting into the free-to-play business in the first place.