Valiant Hearts brought an incredibly heart-felt World War I narrative, but the chances of Ubisoft replicating that same success in a sequel just took a major hit as Yoan Fanise elected to move on in his career.
Fanise worked as a Creative Director and Content Director at Ubisoft Montpellier with games like Beyond Good & Evil, Assassin’s Creed, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Rabbids, and the recently released WWI side-scroller.
Valiant Hearts offered a 2D style with no dialogue or intricate gameplay features, but Ubisoft showed they didn’t need any of that to create a fun and captivating story with Fanise leading the way.
It seems now the nature of the game and the labels that some gamers associated him with has caused a falling out that seems to have been a long-time coming according to an interview between him and Gamasutra.
Citing his previous work with Beyond Good & Evil, a 2003 action-adventure game, Fanise claims the mood that he and other developers felt as they worked on projects together has died as AAA business models impacted the direction of his games.
“I mean the industrial scale and organization of a giant project like Assassin’s Creed removes some direct connection between people from different job categories, for example. Your interactions are limited, and it is really difficult to have a global vision of the finished game. But at that scale, it would be very hard to make it different.” – Yoan Fanise (Gamasutra)
He makes a very valid point concerning a rapidly growing problem in the industry, and his work with Valiant Hearts exasperates the reality of it. Valiant Hearts was a tremendous success and was made in the same spirit as Beyond Good & Evil but even with its success the game is vastly overshadowed in comparison to the blockbuster games that so many publishers fight to create.
How Fanise will look to deter from the ever-prevalent AAA business model is still to be determined — but an indie approach is a definite possibility.
“There are a lot of really interesting opportunities, and I’m still taking time to find the one that is most exciting, Why not go real indie after have been called “fake indie” during my 2 years on Valiant Hearts?”