Behind A Plague Tale, the French studio Asobo, which has become a world reference in video games

Thanks to A Plague Tale and flight simulator, the French video game developer is now one of the pillars of French gaming. A reputation that allows them to work with the biggest companies, like Microsoft.

A twentieth anniversary is something to celebrate. And to celebrate 20 years since their creation, the Asobo studio has decided to return triumphantly, with the release of their new game, A Plague Tale: Requiem. A sequel to the first opus “Innocence” which caused a stir when it was released in 2019. Since then, Asobo (“let’s have fun” in Japanese) continues to increase its numbers, its notoriety and its talents. With the aim of keeping its status as the flagship of French video games, and perhaps soon worldwide.

Trust granted by the giants of animation

Created in October 2002, the Asobo studio was born from the minds of 12 co-founders and friends, former colleagues at Kalisto (former video game development studio). The adventure then begins with SuperFarm, grouping together several mini-games on the theme of the farm, and bought back from Kalisto during its liquidation. Several action and adventure game releases followed until 2007, when Asobo caught the eye of the animated film giant Pixar.

The American juggernaut then decides to start a long-term collaboration with the French studio. Their partnership begins with the development of the game Ratatouille, derived from the eponymous film. The game will be released on most consoles at the time and will sell over 2.5 million copies. This adaptation will even win the prize for best animated video game at the 35th Annie Awards ceremony (American ceremony dedicated to animated films). Asobo is again chosen by the American company, and this on several occasions, to adapt the films WALL-E, up there and Toy Story 3 in video games.

The biggest companies in the entertainment industry are now part of Asobo Studio’s customer catalog. Other than Pixar, Disney, Universal, Fox and Hasbro have also granted their licenses to the French studio. Their objective is the same as with Pixar: to adapt creations known to all on video game consoles.

Microsoft as a preferred partner

By claiming to be the leading independent video game studio in France, Asobo Studio has also attracted other world-famous companies. Microsoft has collaborated with the studio in particular for several years. From motion detection with the Kinect camera to augmented reality with the pair of HoloLens glasses, Asobo has supported Microsoft in all of its technological innovations.

The French studio, for example, has developed Holotour, a tourist guide that works with augmented reality. The developer also worked on two games planned for HoloLens: Fragments, an investigation game in which players take on the role of a police inspector; and Young Conker, a platform game that adapts to the player’s environment. Aboso thus became the first independent studio to deliver games compatible with Microsoft’s virtual reality headset.

More recently, Microsoft also wanted to dust off its simulation game flight simulator. To do this, the American company logically appealed to French developers. A boon for the studio, which has once again increased its notoriety thanks to this new success. More than two million players have discovered or rediscovered the famous flight simulator, this time enhanced by artificial intelligence, satellite data and the cloud.

Rewards that drop one after the other

Asobo Studio’s latest releases have, in addition to becoming commercial successes, become critical successes. first with A Plague Tale: Innocence, a game created from A to Z, which was a surprise success when it was released in 2019. The adventure game featured a kingdom of France ravaged by the plague and waves of rats. The medieval epic has subsequently been rewarded on numerous occasions, in particular during the Pégase 2020 ceremony. Nominated in seven categories, A Plague Tale walked away with six awards, including best video game of the year.

And Asobo did not stop here since in 2021, the statuette for best game of the year was won by Microsoft Flight Simulator. The aviation simulation game then also won the prize for the best visual experience and the best operating service.

The future now looks bright for Asobo. The studio now has more than 220 employees in its Bordeaux premises and recorded a turnover of 18 million euros in 2020. Since its creation, the French company has developed 25 video games which have sold 13 million copies in total.

And the newcomer A Plague Tale: Requiem, released on October 18, is likely to perpetuate the success of the studio. Asobo even continues to explore new technologies with the creation of Holoforge, a sort of spin-off from Asobo Studio with already around twenty employees, entirely devoted to mixed reality and augmented reality.

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Behind A Plague Tale, the French studio Asobo, which has become a world reference in video games

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