If I say “French gaming studio”, many of you will answer “Ubisoft” because it is obviously the obvious, the French jewel of video games in France and abroad. But this week we wanted to talk about other French studios, those names may not tell you anything but those games were a great success.
Arkane Studio, the Frenchman behind the Dishonored saga
Located in Lyon, the studio founded in 1999 by Raphaël Colantonio has brought us some important games, which have since become essential in the video game landscape. As is often the case, independent studios launch themselves and make themselves known first by carrying out missions for other studios. This was the situation for Arkane when they were asked to assist 2K Marin in the level designing of Bioshock 2 ! They then created a second studio based in Austin, Texas, a strategic location in the country of Uncle Sam, which augurs well for it as it provides a certain visibility and proximity to the main players in the market.
Their work has enabled them to be noticed by Bethesda (The Elder Scrolls, Fallout), who as publisher will entrust them with the development of a new franchise, which will then become Arkane’s spearhead, namely Dishonored. The game is a blast since it has sold almost 2 million copies all around the world.
On the strength of this success, Bethesda bought the Arkane studio, and embarked on the development of Dishonored 2 and another game that would make the studio famous, Prey. Both games will create a sensation and allow Arkane to enter the court of the great video game development studios.
Asobo, Pixar’s favorite developer
If you have already played a game from a Pixar license, chances are it was developed by Asobo. This Bordeaux studio, founded in 2002, has taken over many of Pixar’s orders. The most significant example will certainly be Ratatouille, which will mark the beginning of a successful collaboration, with more than 2 million copies sold. They are also at the origin of the game Wall-E, Toy Story 3, Up there, Rush etc..
The studio is multiplying partnerships with other publishers such as Ubisoft and FOCUS in order to gain credibility on the scene.
More recently, the studio has distinguished itself from its usual production, by focusing on deeper, more adult games, with diverse and varied universes. You have certainly heard of Quantum Break, a game created to be published by Microsoft, whose striking feature is the hero’s ability to control time following a faulty manipulation of the Quantum. This game marks a real break with the usual content offered by the studio. But Asobo’s role in this game was limited since the studio had only been contacted to help develop animation, light and sound design. The studio had not yet had the chance to be fully invested in a major project.
This was true until FOCUS commissioned them to develop the historic game A Plague Tale: Innocence. This adventure takes place in a post-Renaissance Aquitaine, in a dark atmosphere where the player will face various threats, including the most frightening, colonies of rats hiding in the city’s sewers. The level of detail is definitely more important than that of a simple independent studio.
Finally, the studio seems to be making an original strategic development choice, since it focuses on the development of projects related to virtual reality and augmented reality. In partnership with Microsoft, the studio was one of the first to launch the development of games compatible with the Hololens virtual reality headset. The creation of HoloForge allows Asobo to devote a significant part of its activity to RV and to broaden its field of commercial activity. However, they started by creating Fragments. The Fragments game pushes you to be a detective looking for clues in a room that has been adapted to the size of the place where you play. With a critical success, the game allows Asobo to be a reference in terms of RV. This chosen direction promises to ensure the sustainability of Asobo as a major player in the RV market, which hides a great untapped potential.
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