Creator of Another World: Digital Distribution Has Brought Creativity Back

Eric Chahi was the creator of the all-time classic Another World. He's also working on the rather spiffing From Dust. Speaking to CVG, he went into detail on how the new boom in console digital distribution helped aid the development process of his new game, bringing creativity back to the games industry.

"Today we have more creativity than some years ago," claimed Chahi. "2000 to 2003/4 was really a time where there was no independent scene, there were few risks - it was very rare.

"But digital distribution, which started on PC then later on the console, was a really, really major step that saw originality coming back."

According to Chahi, the dearth of ideas in the industry, and the nature of big budget titles, led to him taking his time on his latest project. Now that digital distribution is easily accessible on consoles, he feels like this is the perfect time to release a game like From Dust.

"We think that around 2000 there was no place for small games," he said, "there were big games with big prices - a lot of cost and a lot of cost means we want a level of profitability, it was difficult...

"So during these two years I saw the industry, like I said before, and didn't feel any opportunity but I had some ideas and in 2004 the industry was changing slightly."

From Dust will be released this winter on Xbox LIVE, PSN and Steam.

From Dust: 'PSN and Xbox Live have allowed us to do something creative' [CVG]


    Northern Hemisphere winter, or Southern?

      Southern hemisphere winter. If we're referring to northern hemisphere seasons, we'll specify it.

        Yeah, I just trust that if there is an Australian flag at the top then we are talking southern seasons, otherwise northern ones.

        Just checking - a Christmas wait would be pretty soul-crushing

    I find it a bit hard to take his comments about originality when his latest game looks like a total rip off of Populous 3. But I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt since I haven't played the game yet obviously.

      I agree. Although I'll still buy this. I loved Populous 3!

        Except that this has procedurely generated 3D animation and great physics! From Dust sort of reminds me of the cancelled Lionhead game B.C, allthough in a totally different time/place. Absolutely loved Another World & Flashback, have yet to play the sequal Heart of the Alien yet. Fade to Black on PS1 was a let down, as it was really a bit of a mess. Great to see the developer return. Also completely agree with the digital age bring back the creativity and also all the retro stuff (which works great on a good phone or modded portable!). Allowing games such as Shadow Complex, Limbo & Super Meat Boy to come about. Only thing that sux is that XBLA/PSN seem to have forgotten about all the great retro games instead happy to produce garbage such as avatar games and half rate titles being passed of as amazing and 100% original!

      I find that, apart from some uniquely wacky approaches to hybrid designs (such as Nimbus, Atom Zombie Smasher, Steamland, etc.; some of which work, some of which don't, and plenty of which almost make it but don't get much recognition), much of the non-puzzle-game innovation I see is in how a classic genre is stripped back and rebuilt to either a completely different tune, or in such a way as to drag the entire genre forwards with a game-changing approach to interface design or interactivity (and in several cases leading into the subgenres mentioned below). Examples of big games doing this are Total Annihilation, Rollcage and Tyrian. Indie examples include the likes of Cave Story, Guardian of Paradise, Spelunky and Super Meat Boy.

      Certain established but under-served hybrid or sub-genres which require a more deft approach and a greater understanding of game mechanics than your typical platformer or racing game include convoluted sims like theme park builders (consider that the Rollercoaster Tycoon series actually gave you things like G-force outputs for coaster designs to determine likelihood of fear or nausea among patrons), squad skirmishers [hero-based or otherwise](Pikmin, Overlord, The Outfit, and to an extent Cannon Fodder), and self-aware god-sims (Populous, Black & White, Afterlife). There is a reason why we get so few 'rip-offs' [and even fewer successful ones] of Settlers or Syndicate compared to Age of Empires and Medal of Honour (going back a fair way here, not referring to the new one).

      Considering what the man did for narrative-driven cinematic platformers I would certainly give him benefit of the doubt when realising something akin to Populous 3 with the advances made in computing technology since.
      ...not to mention there is always a certain special something about the distinctly matured European designs of French game developers (in addition to Chahi, consider the likes of Frederick Raynal and Michel Ancel)

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