Raphael Colantonio founded Arkane Studios in 1999, with the aim of making complex, layered first-person games. That studio is still going to this day, bolstered by incredible games such as Dishonored 2 and Prey, and helped along by the support of publishers Bethesda.
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Colantonio is now leaving the studio to spend time with family while he decides what to do in the future. He announced the news in a post on Bethesda’s site.
“The last 18 years have been an amazing adventure – from starting Arkane in 1999, to making our first game, Arx Fatalis, to joining ZeniMax Media in 2010 and releasing the Dishonored series and Prey to critical acclaim – it is time for me to step out to spend some time with my son and reflect on what is important to me and my future,” he says.
The veteran developer and studio president seems to look back on his time at Arkane fondly, saying he feels “extremely lucky to have been part of this journey with everyone at Arkane.”
He also fully acknowledges that the position the studio is in today is partly down to having a big publisher, Bethesda parent company ZeniMax, who believes in what they do. Single-player games are a hard sell to publishers these days, never mind immersive sims that are hard to quantify with a series of box quotes.
“I’ve lived many magical moments. I’ve also been through the hard times,” he explains. “But, I can say that joining ZeniMax took things to the next level and gave Arkane the opportunity to emerge as a world-class studio. ZeniMax enabled us to make the best games that we’ve ever made. And I know there is even more to come. ZeniMax strongly believes in Arkane’s ability to make great games, and is committed to supporting the studio.”
Recently, Dishonored 2 lead Harvey Smith moved from the Lyon studio to their Austin one – this departure is likely the reason for that move.
“My long-time friend and colleague, Harvey Smith, will oversee the team in Austin and I will be around for as long as necessary to ensure a smooth transition to the new management team in Lyon,” Colantonio explains. “I wish the best to everyone at Arkane, Bethesda, and ZeniMax. Without a doubt I will miss everyone.
“As I close, I’d like to thank the Arkane fans for their passion and support. I proudly join them as Arkane Studios’ biggest champion, and I look forward to playing the extraordinary new games the studio is working on.”