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A Cult-Classic Open-World Game Was A Single Vote Away From Getting Its Sequel

Another casualty of Embracer Group's many failures.

Red Faction: Guerilla, the cult-classic open-world game from the makers of Saints Row, was a single executive vote away from getting the sequel it long deserved. Alas, the project was canceled and the studio involved in the revival was shut down for good, a harrowing tale that has become common in the games industry.

Former developers at Hamburg-based studio Fishlabs had reportedly pitched the sequel several times to executives at parent company Plaion late last year, according to a Rock Paper Shotgun investigation. The suits apparently liked the idea. However, the project was then spiked by an unnamed group of executives from Plaion and Swedish holdings company Embracer Group last year. The demise of the Red Faction: Guerilla sequel is one of dozens of casualties resulting from a failed multibillion-dollar deal between the infamous Embracer Group and a Saudi investor.

In the original Red Faction: Guerilla, players assumed the role of Alec Mason, a mining engineer radicalized by the murder of his brother by the fascist corporate entity he worked for. The 2009 game was beloved for its destructible environments, buildings, and structures, which could be demolished using mines, vehicles, Mason’s signature sledgehammer, and more. The open-ended missions allowed players to wreak havoc however they’d like, giving them room to complete objectives in creative ways.

Red Faction: Guerilla is remembered for its unprecedented destructible world.


While Guerilla technically got a follow-up in 2011 with Red Faction: Armageddon, the follow-up abandoned much of what made the original special in favor of a more straightforward third-person shooter with some destructible levels and setpieces.

“We were trying to look at what did Guerrilla do right, what did Armageddon do wrong, and how can we marry the two and continue on with it,” an unnamed source told Rock Paper Shotgun about the canceled sequel.

The sequel would have taken place on Mars 100 years after the first. The game would have starred a new female lead, following her journey as the leader of the Red Faction rebellion, recruiting new initiates and factions and fighting oppressive forces like the first game.

For some at Fishlabs, the story of a ragtag group of fighters banding together to fight a corporate giant felt appropriate after seeing their parent company Embracer Group fire thousands of their colleagues throughout the year. Among those fired included everyone at Volition, the developers of the original Red Faction: Guerilla. Others at Fishlab were divided on taking up a sequel to Volition’s game, with at least one developer calling the move “ghoulish,” according to Rock Paper Shotgun.

Red Faction Guerilla set itself apart from many open-world games at the time because of its open-ended levels.


The developer followed through on the pitch despite some internal reservations. The most thorough of the pitches took place in mid-November to some executives at Plaion. The presentation saw Fishlabs employees assume the role of characters from the game. The developers also showed a mock trailer of what the game would look like using Unreal Engine 5. Plaion executives reported loved what they saw, telling the developer they were confident the game would get a greenlight as it was based on one of the many proven intellectual properties Embracer Group had acquired over the last decade.

On November 20, 2023 however, those plans were dashed. An internal vote by Fishlabs’ publishers was held. The vote was split down the middle, which meant the project was to be immediately canceled. To make matters worse, Fishlabs leadership was told to lay off around 50 people, accounting for anyone not working on a game project already in progress. Today, what’s left of the team assists in the development of other projects under Embracer’s purview.

It’s a crushing blow to players who have wanted to see a direct follow-up to Red Faction: Guerilla. The game was a technical marvel at the time that was also extremely fun to play. With even more power at their disposal thanks to today’s hardware, a follow-up could have elaborated greatly on the first game’s best elements.

Red Faction Guerilla’s sequel would have taken place 100 years after the first game.


The demise of the Red Faction: Guerilla sequel is the latest frustrating story to spiral out of Embracer Group’s colossal failure over the past year. The Swedish publisher had spent much of the late 2010s and early 2020’s acquiring valuable IP like the rights to the Lord Of The Rings franchise, as well as countless game developers including Eidos Montreal, Gearbox, and Volition.

However, the company hoarded much of the industry's best talent without securing the funds to support them. When Savvy Games Group, a Saudi-owned investment firm, backed out of a $2 billion investment deal, Embracer was forced to scale back their plans by shuttering studios and laying off more than 4500 employees before many of them could release a game. Embracer is still reeling from the failed business deal, and more recently shut down Pieces Interaction, the team behind 2024’s star-studded Alone In The Dark game.

If you’re mourning the loss of what could have been, I don’t blame you. On the plus side, the original Red Faction: Guerilla was re-released in 2019 and is definitely still worth checking out.

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