Hitman developer IO Interactive is taking a big step outside its comfort zone with its next project – a currently unnamed online fantasy RPG. The studio, which is primarily known for the Hitman series’s strategic assassinations and creative combat, announced its plans for “Project Fantasy” at the IO website. All we have to go off of now are the details shared here, but the concept art shared (above) does give us a first look at a magical world we’ve never seen before.
The studio explained that its fantasy RPG is both familiar and new, with a “world and a game built form the core to entertain players and expand for many years to come.” It continued to offer the following:
For many, this journey is also a deeply personal one that began long before we started making games for a living – and it started with the fantasy genre. From the “Fighting Fantasy” books compelling you to choose your path, alone, against wizards, lizards, and thief kings. To the togetherness, camaraderie, agony, and delight found around the tabletop. For some it meant taking the role of a game master: Part storyteller, part AI opponent, part guide, part villain. For everyone around that table it meant creativity, imagination, building a world together, and a shared goal in creating a great game experience.
IO sounds like it will hearken back to classic magical experiences for Project Fantasy. Though today’s announcement only shares top-level details, it does line up with a 2021 report on the subject. At the time, Windows Central claimed that an IO fantasy game was working under the title “Project Dragon” with plans to ship exclusively on Xbox platforms.
To shed more light on IO’s online fantasy project, the studio put together a handful of videos from the team leading the charge. The videos include interviews with members of the design, art, animation, programming, and production teams. In addition to the promise of combat of some sort, the clips tease a whole new world built from the ground up by IO.
IO fans will remember that the studio is also hard at work on a James Bond game, “Project 007.” We still know disappointingly little about it, but with the Hitman developer at the helm, it’ll likely be a worthwhile entry in the legendary secret agent’s story. Stay tuned for more on that Project 007 and Project Fantasy.