Dontnod Entertainment shot to fame with breakout hit Life is Strange back in 2015, and the studio has only gone from strength to strength since then. And as is often the case with indie developers who make such last impressions on widespread audiences and enjoy both critical and commercial success, it seems they were an acquisition candidate for larger companies in the industry.
Speaking recently to IGN, Dontnod CEO Oskar Guilbert said that though Dontnod received several acquisition proposals, it turned them all down so it could remain independent. “To be honest, we refused several proposals,” he said. “There are a lot of people who are interested [in] the game industry and see the game industry as a new El Dorado for investing.”
The French developer recently sold a minority stake to Tencent in exchange for a multi-million euro investment, but Guilbert stated that the company will remain in control of the “historic shareholders” and retain its independence. “We raised 40 million euros in January,” he said. “But for us, it was really important that the historic shareholders still have the majority, and still can keep the company independent. That’s something really important for us.”
Guilbert went on to say that it is vital for Dontnod to remain independence so that it can retain its identity and keep making the sort of games it’s become known for making. “The values, the kind of games we want to do — it’s really important for us that we keep this identity of the company for the future,” he said. “I don’t want to be pretentious, but we’re one of the game companies which do these kinds of games — like Life is Strange, like Tell Me Why, and Vampyr also in a sense. We really want to continue doing this. And we are lucky because our current partners, our people who put a lot of money in our company still let us do what we want to do.
“Intuitively I think people know what it means, a game made by Dontnod. This is very important for us because we really want to continue to develop this brand, the Dontnod brand as something which is meaningful internally for us, and also externally for the players.”
Dontnod Entertainment recently opened up a new studio in Montreal, and given all that they have in the pipeline, an expansion definitely seems to be in order. The developer has six projects in the works, five of which it plans to self-publish between 2022 and 2025, and one that is being developed in partnership with Focus Home Interactive.