It’s that time of year again. With Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner, we caught up with Jehanne Rousseau, CEO at French indie studio Spiders, to reflect on what 2019 meant for the company and its latest hit GreedFall.
Jehanne Rousseau, Spiders founder and CEO, Lead Writer on GreedFall
How was 2019 for Spiders?
It was a very busy year, we had to work a lot to finish GreedFall in the hope of reaching our expectations on that beloved game. Some moments have been hard, as we really want this project to be our best game, to bring some freshness to the genre, and to have a great story, and it’s not something easy to achieve. We had our moment of doubts, but we also met some incredible people that brought a lot to our game, and we received a lot of encouragement from our community which was very helpful to keep our head at the end of the development. And seeing GreedFall become a success was really reassuring and inspiring for the future.
It was also a year of transition, as we wanted to continue to grow, and needed partners for that. So we also went on a business tour and talked to different publishers. Then we met BigBen who bought our company in September. It is a major change, but for the best, as we have the same philosophy concerning games that need to be designed by passion and for passionates gamers.
What events or developments in the global gaming industry do you consider the most important in 2019?
As ridiculous as it may seem, considering the absence of success for now on their platform, I think the arrival of Google Stadia is really important. For years there had only been Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and different PC platforms like Steam. The arrival of completely new actors, even if not completely successful, is always interesting. And the fact that we’re talking about cloud gaming more than ever is also something that could really change the gaming habits. Other big platforms and actors will join soon, but Stadia was a first step toward something different. And I’m really curious to see how it will change the industry in the future.
What are the main market trends today?
The market is bigger than ever but it is very segmented. Some players are only interested in the AAA games, some others prefer indies or AA games and will mostly search for new experiences. There is also a wide audience that plays without even considering themselves as players, because they mostly play mobile games. The result of this segmented market is that you really need to invest a lot in marketing if you want to reach a wider audience than the one that would normally be interested in your game.
However, in the end, I tend to think that it’s better to make games for your intended players, games that you are passionate about, than to try to seduce everyone, as you risk to please no one.
Which game releases would you say were the most important in 2019? And what games did you personally, as a gamer, spend the most time playing in 2019?
I would say Death Stranding. I haven’t played it yet, but it’s obvious to me that a game as strange and as dividing as this one is, is bringing something new to the industry: a AAA auteur game. Something that didn’t really exist before, and that allow us to hope that more strange and dividing auteur games will be able to have important budget.
Of course, I had to play GreedFall a lot just to check our work, and by checking on my GOG and Steam account, I can see it’s Crusader Kings II that took most of my time. I really like this type of games, even if I do regret the Paradox policy of selling their games in multiple pieces.