Almost a year ago Eidos Montreal’s general manager Stephane D’Astous quit the studio, retiring from AAA design after working on Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Thief, and heading off to pursue a career in smaller development.
At the time D’Astous explained how rifts with publisher Square Enix caused him to make his decision, noting the company’s “lack of courage”. Now, he’s explained that his departure was due to seeking happiness in other sectors of game design; namely mobile.
Talking to GamesIndustry.biz, D’Astous said: “I am really proud of what was built in Montreal. People think there was some bad blood [but] it was really blown out of proportion… it is all good, it is business, and we are all colleagues at the end of the day. It is a small industry… Since late summer, I took some time off because I never had the occasion to take some really unplugged time.”
Whilst at Eidos Montreal, D’Astous found that the studios core aim of producing big budget blockbusters prevented him from steering the ship in a new direction. “In the last 14 years in the gaming industry I like to consider myself working in a Ferrari garage. We were doing Ferraris, very proud of the high quality product, and you get embedded in that type of thinking. Once you are not exactly in that position you have the freedom to look at what is happening more than what you are doing.
“There are a lot of trends, and everybody knows the video game industry is like no other. There are fast paced trends and mega trends. I was trying to look at the mega trends and obviously mobile is having great traction…”
As he mentioned on his departure from Eidos Montreal, D’Astous once again noted that AAA production - especially in console land - is exceptionally risk averse, lacking the courage to invest in projects that stray from the norm.
“Sometimes you do not have the choice, you need to do it. That is why when I said to myself, ‘Where do I see myself in five years? I want to be in a place where there are more possibilities, more growth in all senses, in creativity and innovation and business, and… I would rather be in mobile now and see myself [happy] in five years than be in console and wish that I would [have been in mobile].
“I have a better chance to be happy in a healthy industry sub-sector in five years if I choose mobile.”
D'Astous is now following his mobile dreams as chief operator at casual games developer Hibernum.