Den of Wolves is a 'mind-f***' heist game from the Payday designer set in a sci-fi city 'where late-stage capitalism has gone rampant'
The Den of Wolves trailer at The Game Awards first announces that we're looking at a new game from from the creator of Payday: The Heist and Payday 2, but then goes on to show something that has very little resemblance to a bank robbery: a pair of men growling at each other in a sci-fi dungeon that could've appeared in Cyberpunk 2077. So, what the heck is this game? As implied by the Payday connection, Den of Wolves is a four-player co-op game from 10 Chambers, the Stockholm-based studio co-founded by Payday 1 and 2 designer Ulf Andersson. But it's Andersson's vision for, like, Payday 5. Rather than present-day burglaries, Den of Wolves takes place in 2097 in a city run by unregulated corporations who've secured their global stock exchange against AI-powered hackers by somehow using biological encryption—that is, living human brains. It's a heist game inspired by Inception, The Matrix, Ghost in the Shell, and Blade Runner—in short, «mindfuck sci-fi,» as Den of Wolves narrative director Simon Viklund (also a Payday alum) put it to me when we met last week. The twist in The Game Awards trailer gives us a glimpse of what he's talking about, as the corpo's interrogation of some punk's subconscious is revealed to actually be the opposite. Clearly we're going to invade some mind palaces in this thing. I didn't get to see any Den of Wolves gameplay beyond the snippets of shooting everyone can see in the trailer, but Viklund spoke at length about the studio's vision during a presentation and interview.