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Former DICE head’s new studio, Embark, teases first game

First peek at Swedish studio’s ‘cooperative free-to-play action game’

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Patrick Söderlund, previously the head of Battlefield developer DICE and chief design officer at Electronic Arts, left EA last summer, but he wasn’t out of the spotlight long before announcing his next venture, Embark Studios. Now we have an early idea of what Söderlund and the team at Embark are working on, thanks to a sneak peek at some early gameplay concepts.

In a post on Medium, Söderlund announced that Embark is working on a “cooperative free-to-play action game set in a distant future, about overcoming seemingly impossible odds by working together.”

A single piece of concept art shows a pair of explorers, wearing brightly colored containment suits under classic bomber jackets, seemingly setting up camps or scavenging for resources in wide-open natural environments. In one concept piece, a giant mechanical monster looms in a cloud of fog.

Concept art for Embark Studios’ co-op action game Embark Studios

Embark’s first game will seemingly take place on a large landmass, based on tests the studio is working on using Unreal Engine. Söderlund said the developer is trying to “push visual fidelity on a large scale (256 square kilometers), with completely dynamic weather & lighting, and without having to be a huge team.”

You can see the results of that test in the video embedded above.

It sounds like Embark is eager to get its game out the door quickly and in the hands of players, then expand on its ideas with player feedback.

Söderlund said Embark is “focused on getting something out there quite fast that we can build upon — a really fun game that, if popular, can expand with design and functionality that take us closer to our long-term vision.”

Embark hasn’t said when its first game is coming or what platforms it plans to target.