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Remedy's multiplayer Control spinoff won't be free to play: expect a 'lower initial price' followed by live service updates

 Project Condor concept art - four characters from Control all looking very tired.
Project Condor concept art - four characters from Control all looking very tired.

Remedy's latest annual report contains, among a great many other things, a very brief new look at Condor, the codename for the multiplayer spinoff game based on Control.

Condor was announced in 2021 as a four-player PvE game set in the very strange world of Control. At the time, it was being developed in partnership with publisher 505 Games, but that situation changed earlier this year when Remedy reacquired control of Control from 505 in a deal worth €17 million.

We haven't heard much about it since, except that work is continuing, but the new financial report (via RPS) sheds a bit more light on what players can look forward to.

"After the Hiss Invasion, the Oldest House is under lockdown: a boiling pot of volatile and dangerous supernatural forces. Trapped within is the last vestige of the Federal Bureau of Control who will need to take a stand and push back to regain control. Desperate times require desperate measures. And everyone’s needed."

While Remedy's past games have focused on single characters and small but memorable supporting casts, Condor looks set to take a different approach. In lieu of Control boss Jesse Faden's supernatural powers, players in Condor will presumably take on more anonymous, rank-and-file roles, and will rely "on their gear and each other" in order to clean up the Oldest House—the HQ of Control—and avoid being turned into interdimensional pulp.

Codename Condor page from Remedy's 2024 annual report
Codename Condor page from Remedy's 2024 annual report

Remedy also said that Condor will be a "service-based fixed price" game, a category it described as "premium games that may have a lower initial price point but a long tail of revenue through updates, game expansions and potentially microtransactions."

"For these games, a key differentiator is the post-launch live operations phase meant to keep players engaged for years," Remedy said. "This model will be used for example in codename Condor, a multiplayer spin-off game of Control."

That may not go over well with gamers tired of the live service model, but Remedy said it could become "an increasingly important commercial model" in the future. And properly implemented, it can work without being disruptive: Helldivers 2 is proof of that.

I think the bigger question, though, is how this seemingly very different sort of game will go over with Remedy fans. I quite enjoyed the combat in Control, but generally speaking I don't play Remedy games because they're good shooters, I play them because they're weird and creepy shooters with cool characters. Am I going to get that same vibe in pickup games with random strangers? It's possible—Helldivers 2 is also proof of that—but I do have to wonder if some aspect of the magic will be lost in the move to a multiplayer focus.

One thing the financial report does not deliver is any kind of release target. It says Condor was "in the production readiness stage" at the end of 2023, which means Remedy has finished "designing and implementing the production pipelines to fully understand the requirements for scaling up the project into full production." Remedy is now "looking forward to moving on with full production in 2024," CEO Tero Virtala said. In other words, we're going to be waiting a good while yet.