Most of you will probably recognise Arkane Studios for the work they have undertaken since they became a part of the Bethesda stable.
They’re the masterminds behind the Dishonored franchise, the critically successful Prey reboot and more recently their work on Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Cyberpilot, which they helped co-develop alongside MachineGames.
What most gamers wouldn’t know is that before their time at Bethesda, they were quite a way into the development of a new Half-Life episode called ‘Return to Ravenholm’ (which was subsequently cancelled) as well as a revolutionary shooter called ‘The Crossing’ that merged single-player and multiplayer which was also for Valve (but subsequently cancelled).
They were also developing the hugely anticipated ‘LMNO’ for Electronic Arts in collaboration with Steven Spielberg, but this game was also cancelled. Not all was lost though, as by looking at gameplay from all three of these games (which you can watch here in the recent NoClip documentary), it’s evident that all of these games have had a huge impact creatively and gone on to inspire elements of games such as Dishonored and Prey.
“But the thing is we strive not only for originality but for quality”
In celebration of this amazing studio’s 20th anniversary, we got to speak to Studio Leads Dinga Bakaba (Co-Creative Director and Game Director) and Sebastien Mitton (Co-Creative Director and Art Director). We touched on everything from all of the wonderful projects that the studio got to work on pre-Bethesda, the franchises that they’ve gone on to built in recent years and also the future of the studio involving the upcoming Deathloop, which is set to be Arkane’s next game.
It was a hugely fascinating chat which you can listen to in full below:
The best thing about Arkane Studios is that they’re not afraid to take risks, which has been evident in all of their games. This was summed up brilliantly by Dinga Bakaba:
“I remember Raf [Colantonio] saying something like, “if this game with everything we’ve poured into it in terms of passion.. if the industry and players reject it, we might as well go into a bakery” or something else.”
“Which is interesting, because when you play the game (Dishonored) it looks very confident in what it’s doing. But it’s those moments of doubt for the team that, for a moment, it was such a strange beast at the time. And we’ve gone through that again even in the sequel. The guys in Austin went through the same thing, “what is this game (Prey)? What is this game? What is it even?”
“And Deathloop is an adventure [laughs] in terms of ‘what the hell is this?'”
“But the thing is we strive not only for originality but for quality. It’s something we really care about. We care about being genuine with our players, you know, and respecting them with propositions like this that are interesting, and a little bit unique.”