Joining what seems to be a persistent trend of developers burned out by the AAA game space, Yoan Fanise is the latest to depart, leaving Ubisoft after 14 years with the studio. Starting as a sound designer on 2003’s Beyond Good and Evil, Fanise went on to work on multiple games, including Assassin’s Creed III. What he is best known for however is for his role directing and co-writing last year’s emotional, critically praised Valiant Hearts.
Speaking with Gamasutra about his decision to leave, Fanise pointed to the great creative mood surrounding a small team, like what he experienced while working on Beyond Good and Evil. He went on to admit, “The more we grew, the more this mood diminished. 100, 250, 500 people…it was necessary due to the technical evolution and AAA requirements, but on the creative and human side something was missing.” It was actually his time with Assassin’s Creed III, a project where “your interactions [with other developers] are limited, and it is really difficult to have a global vision of the finished game,” that drove him to work on a game like Valiant Hearts in the first place.
Even with the small downloadable game’s success however, Fanise stated, “reality is sometimes harsh, and Valiant Hearts was like a gastronomic food truck on the parking [lot] of a giant restaurant… Business-wise, even if the game is a success, with over a million players and many awards, this is still small revenue compared to blockbusters.” Faced with the prospect of having to return to larger games, Fanise decided to take a different road.
After being labeled ‘fake indie’ during his two years of work on Valiant Hearts, Fanise joked, “Why not go real indie?”
We here at Gamespresso wish Fanise the best of luck in his future endeavors, whatever they might be. For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to check out Valiant Hearts yet, it’s currently free on PS4 for PS Plus members.
What do you think of developers leaving AAA to strike it out on their own? Let us know in the comments.