DONTNOD Entertainment (stylised as DONTИOD) are the developers of Life is Strange. They are an independent French video game development studio based in Paris. The studio was founded by former Criterion Games head Oskar Guilbert on June 2, 2008, together with co-founders Hervé Bonin, Aleksi Briclot, Alain Damasio and Jean-Maxime Moris along with other former Criterion Games, Ubisoft and Electronic Arts staff.
Their first game and AAA release was the third-person action brawler titled Remember Me. The game was published by Capcom in June 2013, and is an action-adventure sci-fi game based around a member of a resistance group looking to recover her lost memories.
In January, 2014, it was reported that the studio had filed for bankruptcy. CEO Oskar Guilbert dismissed reports that the studio was bankrupt and stated that earlier financial issues were no longer a problem for the company as they started to work on "new projects" which required judicial reorganization and new investments.
Life is Strange is their second game, published by Square Enix. It is an episodic game and its first episode was released in January 2015; all five episodes were released by October 2015. Development on this game actually began in April 2013 with a small team of 15 people. This increased to a staff of 40 after a year when Square Enix stepped in to support production.
Their third game, Vampyr, released on June 5th, 2018. Vampyr is a role-playing game set in 1918, London. About Dr. Jonathan Reid, a pioneer in blood transfusion methods recently returned from the front at the end of WWI and turned into a vampire. The game follows Jonathan as he investigates the Spanish flu epidemic (or what looks like it) and searches for who turned him and why; all the while he struggles between his thirst for blood and his Hippocratic Oath to cure people.
On July 27, 2016, the formation of Dontnod Eleven (formerly HeSaw) as a sister studio to Dontnod was announced, and that Dontnod helped them developing the side-scrolling shooter Battlecrew: Space Pirates. "The goal of our collaboration is to help those talented independent developers and benefit from their know-how", CEO Oskar Guilbert said.
Michel Koch said in an interview in July 2016 that they have two teams at Dontnod, one working on Vampyr and one working on an exciting unannounced game, which later turned out to be Life is Strange 2 which was revealed on May 18, 2017. It was also revealed that the new season has been in development since the release of the Limited Edition in January 2016.
On August 22, 2017, it was revealed a new partnership with Bandai Namco for the creation of a brand-new IP on a new narrative adventure experience that has been in development since 2016. Further details about the game, platforms and a release date will be announced in 2018. The story was said to to take place in a fictional city in the US and will include a "fair dose of investigation". This new title is developed by a new team of senior devs. Hervé Hoerdt, VP of marketing and digital at Bandai Namco, said that they are aiming for triple-A quality, an emotional experience with Investigation and psychologically deep characters with their partnership with Dontnod. On June 8, the name was reveled to be Twin Mirror.
In June, 2017, it was announced that a prequel to Dontnod's Life is Strange was being developed by Denver based studio Deck Nine Games partnered with publisher Square Enix. Reportedly Dontnod was not involved in the game's production. From the beginning until the launch, Deck Nine were the only ones behind the game with some help from Square Enix, including some of the developers that worked on the original game. However, they were given access to Dontnod's game assets and original files that contain character arcs and backgrounds. They communicated with Dontnod and flew to Paris to let them test out the gameplay. Dontnod however received special thanks in the credits of the first episode of Before the Storm, saying, "A very special thank you to all of the amazing developers at DONTNOD. We've been honored to continue the amazing work you started in Arcadia Bay."
During the development of Life is Strange, several people from Square Enix joined the development team at Dontnod:
- Alejandro Arque (Game Designer at Square Enix)
- Scott Blows (Community Manager at Square Enix, until December 2015)
- Toby Palm (Community Manager at Square Enix, since 2015)
- The word "dontnod" is a palindrome, meaning it is spelled the same backwards as it is forwards.
- The word "dontnod" is in block letters.
- The laterally or vertically inverted letter "N" in DONTNOD Entertainment's company logo appears in the Cyrillic alphabet and is equivalent to the letter "I" in the English/Latin alphabet.
- On January 27, 2015, they had a Reddit AMA for Life is Strange.
- The Weatherman, a character in Life is Strange, is based off of and modeled by CEO Guilbert Oskar, as confirmed on Life is Strange's official Twitter.
- There is graffiti on a shack near the lighthouse in Life is Strange of a symbol that represents the characters in a French novel by Alain Damasio, one of the co-founders of Dontnod Entertainment, named La Horde du Contrevent. Wind is a recurring theme in the novel, and upon looking at the graffiti, Max says, "Weird, those glyphs remind me of... the wind."
- There are several references to the lead environment artist Amaury Balandier hidden in Life is Strange. A member of the 2013 Yearbook Committee at Blackwell Academy is called Amaury; the soda cans in Chloe's room are a brand called "Pr. Amaury"; Victoria's tablet is fabricated by the brand "Amaury"; and one of Jefferson's photographs that is displayed on the Blackwell campus shows the name "Amaury" in the background.
Dontnod Office Edit
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- ↑ Report: Remember Me studio Dontnod filing for bankruptcy (January 31, 2014)
- ↑ (reference needed)
- ↑ Dontnod deepens collaboration with Hesaw (July 28, 2016)
- ↑ Dontnod Eleven isn't catering to Life is Strange fans, and that’s the point (August 19, 2016)
- ↑ Life Is Strange interview – live action web series and sequel talk (Metro.co.uk) (July 27, 2016)
- ↑ EXCLUSIVE: Bandai Namco partners with Life is Strange studio Dontnod on new narrative adventure IP (August 22, 2017)
- ↑ Bandai Namco press release
- ↑ Public statement by the Life is Strange Community Manager.
- ↑ ‘Life is Strange: Before the Storm’ developers reveal reason for prequel choice (October 4, 2017)
- ↑ Reddit post by /u/Maczime
- ↑ dontnod-bourse.com
- ↑ Euronext
- ↑ Twitter post
- ↑ IGN Japan (June 19, 2018)
- ↑ Life is Strange BAFTA Showcase (July 10, 2015)