Following two years of preproduction, game developer 10 Chambers finally announced its new heist game—Den of Wolves—Thursday during the 2023 Game Awards. Set in 2097 in a highly corrupt city located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it is, according to narrative director Simon Viklund, the kind of game “where you’re supposed to feel like a badass.” For Viklund, who also serves as the game’s composer (he did the compositions for PayDay: The Heist and PayDay 2, too), that means “the music needs to, like, [grunt noise].”
True to its name, Den of Wolves’ fictional city is a place where basically anything is legal as long as it is done in the pursuit of supercharged innovation and groundbreaking technology. Imagine PayDay meets Cyberpunk 2077 set in a metropolis that’s a mixture of Venice and Hong Kong. The concept is quite different from 10 Chambers’ previous work with horror game GTFO, but it structurally plays to the studio’s core strength: four person co-op games.
A lot is on the line as the studio works on its second release. 10 Chambers received an investment from Chinese tech and entertainment conglomerate Tencent to build this game and expand from a small staff of around 10 people to nearly 100. Viklund emphasizes that the game will have a highly detailed environment but that gamers should not expect an open-world experience. The overall vibe, Viklund adds, pulls from a litany of sci-fi and thriller movies, like Heat and Judge Dredd (the Stallone one, not the 2012 reboot).
While he enjoyed working on horror game music for GTFO, Viklund is excited to move away from that genre and back to a PayDay-esque heist experience. “My wheelhouse is this power fantasy type of music,” he says. Never played that franchise before? Give “Razormind” from PayDay 2 a listen any morning you forget your coffee at home and need a quick jolt of adrenaline.
So, what can players expect from the music in Den of Wolves? “So, there’s going to be elements, of course, that are similar to PayDay,” says Viklund. “But I’m keen on taking it somewhere else in terms of tempo. Making it heavier, slower paced.” He also looks forward to incorporating different elements of percussion inspired by the Pacific Ocean setting.
Since the game is still in early development and won’t be released for a while, WIRED did not see any actual game footage during a recent preview event 10 Chambers held for the title. Similar to the launch of GTFO, the company plans to release the game at first to players through Steam early access. Den of Wolves doesn’t have a release date yet, but PC gamers can anticipate receiving it before their console counterparts.
Fans of GTFO may be disappointed that their game’s content updates are ending, but Viklund points to 10 Chambers’ first game as critical for building the company’s confidence around design. “It was very freeing to be able to have a project where we could have that ‘fuck it—we’ll just do it’ sort of attitude,” he says. This type of confidence is a driving force behind 10 Chambers’ decision to develop something fresh for players rather than relying on a franchise concept that already exists.