|Don't Nod Entertainment SARL (2008–2018)|
|Traded as||Euronext: ALDNE|
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||28 June 2008|
|Oskar Guilbert (CEO)|
|Revenue||€9.7 million (2017)|
Number of employees
Don't Nod Entertainment SA (trade name: Dontnod Entertainment, stylised as DONTИOD)[nb 1] is a French video game developer based in Paris. Founded in June 2008, it started development on Remember Me (2013). Because of its poor return on investment, Dontnod resolved its financial situation with recourse to public funding to subsidise Life Is Strange (2015), whose successful release raised Dontnod's industry status. The developer followed it with Vampyr, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, and Life Is Strange 2 in 2018, and plans to release Twin Mirror in 2019.
2008–2018: Breakthrough and public trading
Dontnod Entertainment was founded by Hervé Bonin, Aleksi Briclot, Alain Damasio, Oskar Guilbert and Jean-Maxime Moris on 28 June 2008, alongside other ex-Criterion Games, Ubisoft and Electronic Arts staff. Originally based near Paris-Gare de Lyon, the studio moved into its current office in Quartier de La Chapelle to accommodate the company's growth. Unreal Engine is used in all of its releases.
The developer's debut title was Remember Me, which would at first be a PlayStation 3-exclusive role-playing game, but was dropped by publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2011 on account of cuts in funding. It was presented at Gamescom the same year to attract another publishing deal; the following year, Capcom acquired the rights and reimagined it as an action-adventure game, released on multiple platforms to mixed reviews and mediocre sales. In January 2014, French media outlets reported that Dontnod was filing for bankruptcy as a result of the poor sales of Remember Me; the bankruptcy proceeding was finalised in February 2018. Dontnod responded to these reports explaining that they were in the process of "judicial reorganisation". The company turned to public funding to finance a new intellectual property (IP) because of this. In June 2014, Dontnod announced that they were working with publisher Square Enix on a new game, which was later announced as Life Is Strange and released in 2015 over the course of five instalments. It was initially thought of as a full-length title that Dontnod would self-publish, but became episodic at Square Enix's behest. The game received generally favourable reviews, over 75 Game of the Year awards and listings, and as of May 2017 had sold in excess of three million copies. The critical and commercial success of Life Is Strange marked a change in how the studio was perceived in the industry; Dontnod started being solicited by publishers, whereas they previously had to pursue publishers themselves.
In April 2018, Dontnod registered with the French stock market regulator Autorité des marchés financiers to become a public company. This came after a turnover of €9.7 million in 2017, a 33-percent increase from the previous year. The subscription period opened on 3 May 2018, with the first day of trading on 23 May. Listed on Euronext PME, Dontnod raised the intended €20.1 million. Twenty-five percent of the funds were spent on partnering with another studio; according to CEO Oskar Guilbert, the rest would allow further project investment as well as improvement and optimisation of production pipelines, with an internal motion capture studio cited among possibilities. Around this time, the company employed 166 staff members.
Following Life Is Strange was Vampyr, an action role-playing game released on 5 June 2018. 70% of the studio's 120 employees (in 2016) were devoted to the development of Vampyr, many of whom had worked on Life Is Strange. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, set within the Life Is Strange universe, was announced at E3 2018 and released the same month. Dontnod started developing Life Is Strange 2 in early 2016, after its predecessor proved financially successful, and published its first episode on 27 September 2018.
Guilbert said in April 2016 that the studio had cast off the ambition of making triple A games and would only see themselves devoted to independent projects, in particular original, narrative-driven intellectual properties, which narrative director Stéphane Beauverger agreed was "part of Dontnod's DNA". The company's guiding principle is to reinvent itself with every game. For the sake of maintaining the motivation of players and publishers, the production cycle since releasing the five-year commitment Remember Me was reduced to two and a half or three years. In 2018, Guilbert said the company would pursue a co-production strategy with future publishers, as was done for Vampyr, limiting their part to forty percent. Each project begins with a designer, writer, and art director, with the occasional producer or engineer. "Dontnod Days" are maintained for unsupervised work related to ongoing projects where employees may design of their own volition.
|2015||Life Is Strange||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Square Enix|
|2018||Vampyr||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Focus Home Interactive|
|The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Square Enix|
|Life Is Strange 2||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|2019||Twin Mirror||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
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