A group of ex-staffers from Funcom, Bohemia, and other studios have banded together to form a brand new outfit. Red Rover Interactive is based in Oslo and Newcastle and is already building its first game, which CEO Fred Richardson believes will take the hardcore survival genre in a "genuinely new direction".
Alongside Richardson, other leaders at Red Rover include Joe Stevens, formerly of Lockwood Publishing and Ubisoft Reflections, as well as ex-Funcom peeps Marek Zilavy and Daniel Ratzer. They're joined by Sebastian Zimmermann, an art director who's worked with Jagex and Crytek.
Between them, these devs have worked on games like Conan Exiles, which is still regularly being updated, as well as non-survival games like Ryse: Son of Rome and Avakin Life. Red Rover's stated mission is to "catapult the survival genre in a new direction", emphasizing "player agency and drama" rather than guided or crafted experiences.
Richardson says that his studio believes "multiplayer interactions are fundamentally more powerful than PvE ones". He says that most persistent online games "don't leverage" the power of multiplayer experiences and are instead "single-player experiences that support many players". Red Rover's aim is to move the genre away from what Richardson perceives to be its current status quo, instead creating a world in which player interaction is front and center.
This isn't a particularly new idea, it should be pointed out. Bossa Studios' Worlds Adrift springs to mind; that was a hardcore PvP-focused MMO that shut its doors in 2019 owing to a lack of profitability. It's also worth remembering the launch debacle of Amazon's New World, which has since stabilized and moved to a seasonal model, but which was rife with economic and mechanical problems when it first arrived in 2021.
Right now, Red Rover isn't sharing any specific info on its first project, but it has managed to raise $5 million from various investment sources in order to make its dream into a reality. Whether or not Red Rover can tap into the hardcore PvP-focused MMO market remains to be seen, but the studio certainly doesn't lack for ambition. Stay tuned for more info on this.