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Report: Everwild ‘restarted from scratch,’ Rare now aiming for 2024

Development now under new leadership

a deerlike creature, with golden mooselike antlers, sitting in a forest in Everwild Image: Rare/Xbox Game Studios
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Xbox fans wondering why Rare’s Everwild didn’t show up at Sunday’s E3 showcase now have an answer: The studio has “completely rebooted” the open-world adventure game under a new creative director, and its release is multiple years away, reports Video Games Chronicle.

Citing sources with knowledge of Everwild’s development, VGC reports that Rare has undertaken “a complete overhaul of the game’s design and direction” following the departure last fall of its previous creative director, Simon Woodroffe. Gregg Mayles — who has worked at Rare for more than three decades, and is the studio’s most senior employee on the creative side, according to VGC — has been tapped as creative director for the ongoing reboot, VGC reports. Everwild executive producer Louise O’Connor confirmed the appointment in a statement to VGC.

“Gregg Mayles joined us, late last year as Creative Director, and the team has never been stronger,” O’Connor said in the statement. “Since showing the world our Eternals trailer, we have been making progress on all aspects of Everwild.

“The team continues to work hard to realise our vision and to bring the magic of nature in Everwild to life for players around the world.”

Rare revealed Everwild in November 2019 during X019, and the “Eternals” trailer to which O’Connor referred was released in July 2020. So it’s been a while since we’ve seen anything of the game, which is in development on Windows PC and Xbox Series X. VGC’s sources told the publication that Rare has essentially “restarted from scratch,” and that the studio is now “optimistically” planning to release the game in 2024.

This tracks with comments from GamesBeat’s Jeff Grubb over the weekend on the GamesBeat Decides podcast, where Grubb reported that “when the creative director left, they restarted production on [Everwild] — they rebooted it.” Grubb said that the game is now “scheduled for 2023,” but noted that it could “easily” get pushed to 2024.

It’s worth looking back now on Polygon’s interview with Rare studio head Craig Duncan from July 2020, just prior to the debut of the most recent Everwild trailer. Duncan’s comments characterized the game as being in a nascent, embryonic stage of development. With the new context of these reports from VGC and GamesBeat, we have a sense of just how early things were back then — and are today, now that Rare has rebooted the project.

“Part of the reason we haven’t talked a lot about Everwild is because we’re still feeling a lot of these things out,” Duncan told Polygon. “We’re still playing around with gameplay ideas. We’ll have plenty to say in the future on that, but ... we have an idea we feel really passionate about, and we think there’s something special.”

Polygon has reached out to Microsoft for comment on VGC’s report, and we’ll update this article with any information we receive.