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 Remember Me  studio boss downplays bankruptcy reports
Remember Me studio boss downplays bankruptcy reports
January 31, 2014 | By Mike Rose

January 31, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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Multiple French media outlets are reporting this morning that Remember Me studio Dontnod has filed for "redressement judiciaire," the French equivalent of bankruptcy.

The Paris-based developer was founded by former Criterion head Oskar Guilbert, and saw its first title Remember Me published by Capcom last year.

Now several French news websites, including Factor News, are reporting that the company has filed for bankruptcy, although there doesn't appear to be many more details at this time.

Meanwhile legal and financial website Societe also states that Dontnod has filed for bankruptcy, and that legal representatives have been assigned to the case. We'll update you as confirmation comes.

[Update: Dontnod CEO Oskar Guilbert has told GI.biz, "There is no bankruptcy, Dontnod is not in bankruptcy... We are in something called in France 'judicial reorganisation' which allows us to re-adapt our production pipeline to the new situation."

He added, "We started new projects and those new projects need some investment and we decided to resize the company in order to match these new needs. That's why we needed judicial reorganisation."

However, "Judicial reorganisation" actually is one of several stages involved in bankruptcy in France. If a French company is unable to pay its debts, it must declare this to a court, at which point it can either utilize a judicial reorganisation in a bid to save the company, or go straight to liquidation proceedings.

Judicial reorganisation allows for the business to continue onwards while the bankruptcy procedures are ongoing, maintain its workforce, and start paying debts.]


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Comments


Andreas Ahlborn
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Really a shame. This game had all the right ingredients: fresh setting, likable heroine, some innovative game mechanics. The mix -granted- didn`t exactly pin out to be a masterpiece, but I found it interestingly enough to recommend it to friends.

According to vgchatz they only sold 330K+ units:
http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/?name=Remember+Me

I found it a lot more engaging/interesting than for example "Dishonored" which got 10x the sales and 20+on metacritic. (Another debut from a new Studio the same year)

evan c
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Yup. That's pretty much what everyone says about RM "finally a strong female lead in a male dominated industry." Unfortunately most of the people that praised it are also the ones that didn't buy it...

Adam Bishop
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I thought it was an OK game with some great art design, but what about the mechanics was innovative? It combined Arkham-style combat with Uncharted-style platforming. The whole thing basically felt like a pale imitation of other games I'd played before but in a cool new setting.

Ben Sly
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The mechanics had the memory remix scenes which I would consider to be innovative, though not particularly good mechanically (and were too infrequent to be considered an integral part of the mechanics). Beyond that, I can't think of anything innovative or of high quality about the mechanics.

The grand strokes of the setting, though, with memories becoming a shareable commodity had some interesting implications, as did the developers' claiming that the protagonist being female was an integral part of the game. It was unfortunate that it was grafted to an otherwise generic game.

Michael G
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It's worth noting that VGChartz doesn't have accurate information from digital distributors and it hasn't been updated in several months so the sales from the winter sales where RM topped both Steam and GMG charts while it was on sale aren't included in their estimate.

Leszek Szczepanski
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Crap... I loved the game. I was really hoping for more games in that setting and hopefully featuring Nilin.

Ben Sly
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Many of the game ideas were quite interesting, but they were stapled onto a generic AAA game. It felt like they were obligated to push in a combo system, action setpieces, generic enemy hordes to mass-slaughter, boss fights, a story with obvious heroes and villains, and other similar features of the standard action-adventure of the day; once those were in the game design there just wasn't any development time or effort left to work on what made the premise unique. I don't know what the politics there were, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that either a publisher or someone high-up had forced or convinced the team into a boilerplate feature checklist.

I'd be very interested to see a game with similar themes but much less adherence to the conventions of a genre that doesn't fit said themes. And if a few of the laid-off development team get bit by the indie bug, we might see that.

Regardless, I wish them the best.

Doctor Ludos
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It's sad to see that in today's industry it "normal" to see talented people who creates a nice game that doesn't sell enough copies are forced to close shop immediately...

I mean, is 330.000 sold copies such a bad result?

Christian Nutt
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I can only imagine that wouldn't even begin to cover production costs, so... yes?

Doctor Ludos
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Yes you're right, everything is relative, and if they spent 5 years developing the game, I can see why they should need to sell 1 or 2 millions copies to start making a profit.

It's just that this is one more example of the ever-growing costs of AAA videogames, and how it prevent mid-sized studios to compete in this field, because if they got only one game under-performing, they're out. And I think it's a problem for an industry if you can only allow very small or very big companies to survive. For example, how successful small companies are supposed to grow if there is a big gap in the middle? Or, if a big company made several mistakes, how can it recover from them?

Alan Youngblood
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This is why we can't have good things. I'll admit the game is flawed, but in a lovable and forgivable way. I enjoyed Dishonored too, so I'm not going to critique it too much. I found jumping in with no expectations that Remember Me was a fantastic experience. It innovated and pushed the envelope as much as Dontnod could muster and still ship a good title. Capcom, who I like to criticize for their business practices of late (Killing Megaman games, kicking out Inafune-san, pumping out highly derivative DLC for fighting games to milk those fans' wallets), had actually done something right.

Although there may be a bigger underlying issue here. Remember Me remains mostly a masculine oriented game, albeit with a female lead. Being male, I personally enjoyed the combo system and battles, but that is not something that is traditionally part of the gender role for women. I understand that it's 2014 and the United States (As well as Dontnod's home France and many other developed nations) allow women in military service roles of all sorts. There are certainly places for female characters doing traditionally male-oriented things. But there are many types of people out there and while a theme or play-style does not always split along the lines of gender, it can. And I would argue at least in the US and perhaps most of Western culture, the expectation is that it should, or at least few consumers are willing to venture away from their established gender roles. "Guys" watch action movies with often womanizing macho main characters whereas women are expected to watch "chick-flicks" where they tend to care about the drama and interaction between many characters, but particularly are told to associate with the main woman that is involved in some form of romance. Games have a huge potential to break this stereotype especially with role-playing games. The best role playing games have had me rethink how I play when my character is female. The best examples I can give are Heavy Rain and The Walking Dead. Heavy Rain allows the player to experience the game from several characters' views. One is a woman, that depending on how things go can get caught in a situation where she has the ability to use her sexuality to gain information/control of a different situation. The player is presented with her choice of stripping to achieve a bigger goal in the narrative. Placing me there and making me think twice about the situation brought me out of having a Y chromosome for that time. In the Walking Dead the player plays as a black man. We can get into race later, though it is a notable issue anytime. The interaction that the player character Lee has with a young girl named Clem can only be described as a father-daughter relationship (at least the path I chose). I found less of the black male stereotype in Lee and then instead was thinking through decisions in terms of wanting to protect and bring joy to my "daughter" Clem. Both are cases where the player is forced to visually identify with a female character, both refrain from confusing the situation with something more masculine that is not necessary to the subject at hand.

Sam Stephens
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"Although there may be a bigger underlying issue here. Remember Me remains mostly a masculine oriented game, albeit with a female lead. Being male, I personally enjoyed the combo system and battles, but that is not something that is traditionally part of the gender role for women."

It is very difficult to speculate things like this. Did the game do poorly because it has a female lead or was it because it is part of a dying breed of games being produced between the AAA and indie spaces? I feel much more confident saying it's the latter theory.

Daniel Backteman
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They should have gone with a male protagonist and it all would have worked out. The publishers even warned them!

.end sarcasm.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/188775/You_cant_have_a_female_
character_in_games.php

I'm sad to see this happen, not that I can say that I did buy the game...I hope that their "bankruptcy" doesn't turn into an argument against female leads.

Katy Smith
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I will admit to not picking up the game right away because I was annoyed by the "sexy butt shot over shoulder glance" cover art. When I decided to look into possibly getting the game later, the Metacritic score of 70 didn't make me want to change my mind.

It's sad to see studios struggle, though. We need more mid-sized game companies making polished console games.

Adam Bishop
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The game doesn't really sexualise Nilin's character at all. She's treated very much like a standard male action hero. It's too bad that dumb marketing may have decided to act as though her possible allure was what made her character.

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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Eric Harris
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It got knocked for game play. With the IP and setting, more could have been done with the game. Combos are a combat system. Graphics and story are dramatic elements, but you still have to make the game fun to play. I hope they will re-size and not quit though. These guys are serious about games. Just look at the documentary they made about the game on their web site. I hope they make another game soon and focus on all the possibilities for game play. These guys did an awesome job with everything else.

Benjamin Quintero
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RM is a game that was sort of punching above it's weight class. It had some really promising ideas but it tried too many things on it's first go around. This is a perfect example of what happens when a studio tries to take a new idea into an established AAA space :(. Unfortunately RM was more of an indie idea wrapped into a AAA skin. With the production gap widening more each generation I don't know that a game like this had a place in the world...

Jonathan Murphy
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This is a very dark era for middleware devs. The big guys will dump you in your first or second outing, even if the game was ok. They expect slam dunks every play, which is insanity. It doesn't give devs any time to learn. The market is changing, I hope everyone in the industry is becoming more aware where job security isn't.


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