We want to share our learnings and motivations behind the making of our first multiple supports game as a new game development service provider.
A lot happened in the last 3 years…
Ocellus Services moved to France late 2018 and grew from 15 to a team of 70 amazing people in 4 years.
Since 2015, we are providing high quality art services for global hit brands like Clash of Clan, Clash Royale, Brawl Stars, Asterix, Smurfs, Talking Tom, and are developing new brands for top industry publishers.
We are creatives with a strong passion for art AND games
We have long term goals, and a strategy to acheive them. One of our goal is to be on the forefront of the industry creating the new generation of long lasting stylised game IPs. Providing full game development services to publishers allows us to learn about the process while polishing our own innovative production methods. We then share those learnings with our new studio Ocellus Games where we started developing our own games. Learnings are extremely valuable, Ocellus Services has been a remarquable strategic vehicle to learn about our industry.
FINDING A PARTNER
Another strategic advantage of providing Art Services is networking. We have worked numerous times in partnership with developers and publishers making all the art part of their games. Starting late 2017, we begun to do just that on several Asterix & Obelix and Smurfs licensed games for Osome Studio and publisher Microids. It was natural that during the summer 2019 we explained our plan and desire to Microids who ultimately entrusted us with our first full game development, with a famous European brand, The Marsupilami. We had not yet proven that we could actually develop a full cross platforms game, so we are very grateful to Microids for taking a chance with us. Microids is known for adapting licences like Asterix & Obelix, Garfield, Smurf, or blacksad to the gaming industry.
WORKING WITH A FAMOUS EUROPEAN BRAND
During the early stage of develoment we were working with the original Marsupilami character design and lore. To our surprise, we’ve learned from our partners that a new vision of the brand was being developed at their group level, a TV Show was being produced in paralelle. We were introduced to Punch, Twister and Hope, the three new Marsupilamis. Helping to breath fresh air inside a known brand is something that we are not affraid of, so we accepted the challenge hoping that a new generation of fans will emerge from this vision and modern approach. The brand owners gave feedbacks to Microids along the productions, making sure we respected the brand vision.
BUDGET & TIMELINE
As this was our first game, we had to work with a six figure budget. We cannot disclose the exact development cost but it represented a fraction of the price of cross platform games in the same vein. We have spent the whole budget into the game, not caring about making a profit. Instead we focused on developing the team culture, polishing our production methods and avoiding the too easely accepted “crunch time” at the end of the development process. We could afford to do that as our business is not focused on developement services only, this was a strategic decision made very early on. We had to choose very conservastively the scope of the game and where to attribute the budget. Working efficiantly with modularity in mind as well as developing clever features that extended the re-playability of the game.
SMALL INDEPENDENT TEAM
Something we believe strongly, and proven by our other partner Supercell, is that small independent teams are better, more agile and faster that a more top down team set up. The team owned their project. They could take risks making decisions and quickly moved around obstacles autonomously.
The core team was composed of 2 programmers, 3 game designers/level designers and 2 art directors. A small advisors council was available to the team, very much like Pixar’s “Brain trust”, described by Ed Catmull in his book Creativity Inc, fostering collective creativity.
A MULTI AWARDED GLOBAL RELEASE
Marsupilami was very well received by the press and the players around the world, winning several awards along the way for its music, animations, visuals and art direction ! Feedbacks are all very positive, with some adult players pointing out the duration of the game being too short for them. We anticipated and assumed our strategic choice very early on the pre production, we wanted to focus on quality and not quantity.
Check out the Q/A session on the Marsupilami development
Starring Thomas Freund (Lead level designer), Antonin Jury (Artistic director), Nicolas Duboc (Artistic director and Tech artist) and Rémi Boscher (Game developer). They answered a serie of questions our community asked on socials networks. About Art, how they managed to release the game on multi supports, what were the references to make the game (...). Check this out!
SO WHAT’S NEXT ?
Microids bet was a success, we are already working on a much more ambitious project with them!
We want to grow and develop new partnerships with key industry publishers that have a global presence and wants to be part of our journey, so don’t hesitate to reach out !
It’s time to give back, we will soon publish the secrets used to create the game ! In depth case studies, interviews, art and technical process...
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