Life is Strange developer Dontnod has seen quite a bit of change in the last year. Now, it will start publishing third-party titles, beginning with a game for developer PortaPlay.
Dontnod's flagship series looks to now be in the hands of Deck Nine, a studio made of Dontnod veterans, at least for its upcoming installment Life is Strange: True Colors. Additionally, Square and Dontnod will no longer create games together after Tencent purchased a minority stake in Dontnod, allowing the company to continue self-publishing titles, but one of Square Enix's subsidiaries will still be publishing True Colors.
However, going forward the studio will publish the works of other developers as well. The first one looks to be from PortaPlay, an indie developer geared toward making games focused on accessibility, atmosphere, and storytelling. The title of this upcoming game has yet to be announced.
But it looks like this PortaPlay game will be in line with Dontnod's usual narratives. The head of development at PortaPlay, Hans von Knut Skovfoged, said the studio was called to "work on games with meaning" by creating characters that will tackle moral dilemmas. A statement on the announcement describes PortaPlay as a studio that addresses war created by inner conflicts, a big theme with Dontnod games such as Life is Strange 2 and Tell Me Why.
This isn't the end to internal development at Dontnod, but rather bringing on studios such as PortaPlay helps compliment in-house games, allowing the studio to "remain true to our DNA," according to Dontnod. This move is part of Dontnod's push to become completely independent, and it'll be interesting to see what the minds behind PortaPlay and Dontnod come up with in the future.
Now that Life is Strange: True Colors has been officially unveiled, there's one big question still surrounding the game. Why isn't Dontnod Entertainment the one working on it? Publisher Square Enix is still involved in the latest installment of the Life is Strange series, but the game has got a "new" developer. This time around, Deck Nine will be developing the game, though this company isn't really new to the series, but Dontnod is still the company most think of when talking about Life is Strange. No official explanation, but it does seem Dontnod is moving on to new projects.
After rumors started about Life is Strange: True Colors, there were whispers about Dontnod backing away from the franchise. Indeed, this doesn't appear to be a situation where Square Enix forced the developer out or anything like that. It just seems to be what it is: moving on.
The signs that Life is Strange: True Colors might be getting a new developer started in earnest last year. The Paris-based company announced it was splitting into two, with a separate studio starting up in Montreal. A few months after the separation, news came out that the Montreal team was working on a new game, but it was also a brand new IP. While the company also issued a statement saying it wasn't ruling out returning to the Life is Strange world, it was focusing on "exciting new projects" for the near term.
One of those new projects ended up being Tell Me Why. That release showed that Dontnod was serious about trying something else, but that game also showed it could pull it off. The title didn't get the same kind of critical acclaim that Life is Strange earned, but it really showed off Dontnod's chops.
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