What is it with Japan that makes it the ideal setting for stealth and action games? It doesn't matter if it's Assassin's Creed or The Witcher, fans have always had this idea that the next installment in the aforementioned franchises would do great in, at the very least, a Japan-based setting.
It probably doesn't help quell fan interest when games like Nioh and Ghost of Tsushima showcased just how awesome using Japan as a setting for a video game can be. Unfortunately, save for rumors, we don't think that either Assassin's Creed or The Witcher will be set in Japan, modern or feudal, anytime soon. The good news is that some former CD Projekt RED developers are working to turn this into a reality.
Jakub Ben and Marcin Michalski founded Dark Passengers after working on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and as "outsource partners" on Cyberpunk 2077. Their studio's first project is a first-person perspective online multiplayer game built in Unreal Engine 5. The still-untitled upcoming game will support both PvP and co-op PvE and will be set in feudal Japan.
According to Dark Passenger's website, the studio wants "to create highly exciting [online] experiences that are focused both on cooperation and rivalry." Meanwhile, the project will use a "locomotion system" that will allow the kind of freedom of movement such as "running on arrows that were fired by other players, fast climbing on vertical surfaces with the use of shuko claws or using yari spear like a pole to jump over obstacles." Finally, the studio adds that the game's engaging close ranged combat" will demand both skill and co-operation.
But, while Dark Passenger is designing the game as an online multiplayer title, it clarified that it will not be an MMO. The studio describes it as a "match-based" game that will focus on "stealth-action" elements and feature "robust player progression."
Unfortunately, Dark Passenger also confirmed that the game will not have single-player elements except for the user-designed dojos. Don't worry though, as the studio did express interest in "expanding the universe."
At the end of the day, everything that Dark Passenger is saying all sounds like something you'd expect from a fledgling studio making its first game. For what it's worth, the studio alludes to fixing criticisms previously lodged against CD Projekt RED. The careers page says that it is dedicated to creating a "prejudice-free environment based on tolerance, support and understanding." The studio explains that it emphasizes "work-life balance" with the option for both "stationary and remote work."
Speaking of CD Projekt RED, the company's share price has been on a significant downward trend since the release of Cyberpunk 2077. Meanwhile, the Polish company has yet to respond to the detailed allegations suggesting that the QA company is to blame for most of Cyberpunk 2077's problems. Finally, The Witcher 4 is officially in development with the expansions for Cyberpunk 2077 also en route.