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Feature: 'The Passion of Raphael Colantonio'

In today's Gamasutra feature, Raphael Colantonio of Arkane Studios (Dark Messiah of Might and Magic) talks about his start in the industry, the difference between working in Fr
In today's Gamasutra feature, Raphael Colantonio of Arkane Studios (Dark Messiah of Might and Magic) talks about his start in the industry, the difference between working in France and the US, and the passion that drives him and the company on. In this excerpt, Colantonio admits that the recent expansion of Arkane into Austin was partly born from the difficulties of being an independent developer in France, saying, "It is very difficult. I think it’s hard enough to do it here, but in France we’ve had a fairly bad record as a country for the past ten years, with few good games released by the French. So we’ve had a bad image, plus the economic context and the distance from the real activity in the videogames industry makes it very difficult, of course." But he also says, on choosing Austin as Arkane's US home, that it was somewhat influenced by the southern capital's long history: "A lot of the games that I loved in the past were created in Austin, from Origin with the Ultimas, Ion Storm did Deus Ex there, a game I really liked too, so when I went there for the first time I was really like, “wow.” I really thought the place was amazing, and that one day, if we needed to expand, it would be there. I didn’t even have a company when I was thinking that! When Arkane was ready to expand because there was a business reason behind it, the first place I thought of was Austin. There are other reasons of course. We want to explore online gaming, and Austin is strong for that. Cost of labor in Austin is slightly cheaper than it would be in say, California or Washington. So those are good reasons. But the overall reason for us to move to the US in general is because we want to, in terms of production, we want to utilise great talent from both sides of the ocean. There are really great things about Europe and really great things about the US. We don’t want to work on different games in each territory; we want to keep working on the same games leveraging the good aspects of each country. It also makes sense for purely business reasons; we’re closer to the real action, so we can pick up the phone and talk to EA or Activision or whoever and be in the same time zone or near it." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, with much more from Colantonio on working with a large company's IP as well as working with Valve, the lessons of Arx Fatalis, and America's intolerance of bugs (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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