In these difficult times when many publishers and developers are struggling with the economy, a new comer makes an entrance. Christelle Chandavoine and David Costarigot are pleased to announce the birth of a new company focusing on publishing and producing video games:“Zallag”.
Based in Montbrison (42) and in Lyon (69), this young and innovative company will be dedicated to the conception of titles to be sold online. It is at the dawn of digital distribution on game consoles and it is a great opportunity for a new comer on this market. Indeed, Zallag is, for now, the only production company 100% dedicated to downloadable games on consoles. Zallag hopes to pioneer this path and that others will follow.
Zallag is the results of a long thinking process of two professional from this industry. They worked for companies such as Wanadoo Publishing (France Telecom/Orange) or Micromania (GameStop) and have already demonstrated their know-how in digital distribution as they worked on titles such as“Dark Age of Camelot” or more recently“Trine” (elected best downloadable game at E3 2009).
Several projects are already in production for the main consoles of the market. Zallag’s goal is to offer original and fun games and to make a change from the typical remakes or puzzle-games. Four passionate people form Zallag; this small team is working closely with a very talented French studio.
“We hope that you’ll appreciate our first projects and that you’ll enjoy playing with our games. Until you learn more about them, please don’t hesitate to contact us for interviews and/or for further information!”
QUESTIONS&ANSWERS WITH THE FOUNDERS
Christelle Chandavoine and David Costarigot, could you introduce yourselves in a few words ?
Christelle : I’ve been working in the video game and interactive entertainment sector for 12 years, in companies such as Emme (aka Avanquest), Wanadoo Publishing and Nobilis. I brought to the market Dark Age of Camelot PC (the 1st MMORPG localized for the European market, long before WoW), Project Zero XBOX/PS2, Moto Racer DS, King’s Bounty PC and many more!
On the personal side, I am not the“gamer” of the team, although I was a bit addicted to Diablo (the first one of course!). I now cherish the memory of the long hours playing with my“rogue”…
David : I’ve been working in this industry for 6 years now for companies like Micromania and Nobilis. These last 4 years I was in charge of finding games to publish and distribute. It allowed me to work on titles like Criminology DS (White Birds), Detective Conan WII (Marvelous), King’s Bounty PC (1C), Fantasy Wars PC (1C) and more recently Trine PSN (Frozenbyte). This last one has a special place in my heart, I went all the way to Finland to bring it to the players around the world. The studio behind Trine was unfortunately unrecognized at the time.
On a personal note, I’m the“geek” of the two founders. I have an entire collection of games and goodies, about twenty consoles and around 800 games (originals!). To be able to work in this industry is a dream come true, but it’s important to acknowledge that everything is not as easy as it looks when you’re in front of the TV.
Where does the idea of Zallag come from?
David : Both Christelle and I have been wanting to launch our own company in new technologies for a few years. We’ve also witnessed a complete change in the market towards digital sales these last few months.
Trine can be considered as the last trigger of the Zallag project. We were working for 3 years for the same publisher when Trine appeared. This game helped us understand that it is possible to create great quality games without it being a too costly project (compared to other NextGen games). As we went deeper into the production process it all made more and more sense to us.
All things came into shapes a few weeks back when we left our employer. The trends of the market have accelerated lately, thus confirming that founding Zallag was the right call.
Exactly how does digital distribution change the way a game is made ?
Christelle : It changes almost everything ! The¾ of the price of a game (excluding taxes) goes into manufacture, transportation, resellers’ margins, trade-marketing, advertisement… All in all, there isn’t much left to finance the development of the game itself. With these imperatives in mind it is essential to sell a lot of games and/or to spend as little as possible in the development in order to make a profit. With the digital distribution business model, we can now focus on financing development rather than all‘accessory’ costs.
Isn’t it difficult to start a company in this economy ?
Christelle : Starting a company is always difficult. The fact that we’re aiming at a burgeoning economic model and considering the economy, well… it hasn’t been easy. We spent a tremendous amount of time explaining how this industry works and how digital distribution changes it regarding the retail distribution system. Many people told us that it was a promising idea; that they wanted to help us but…they preferred to wait for the company to generate sales beforehand. As usual, the“Zero Risk” this typical French way of thinking gave us a bit of a struggle.
Why did you choose this name ?
Christelle : It took us about a month to come up with« Zallag». We wanted something original, that people would remember but without it being an English word. Therefore we did some research in many“exotic” languages such as the Old Norse, Finnish, Icelandic…
Eventually we went for Sumerian, the most ancient of languages (this language is also present in the universe of Conan). Zallag means“the first light of day before the sun appears and the last ray after the sun disappears in the horizon”. It’s like the beginning and the end of all things. It reflects our will to be at the dawn of digital distribution on consoles.
What type of games do you wish to produce ?
David : We haven’t really set boundaries on different types of games. Ideally we want to offer games which bring a feature that can change the gaming experience of an entire genre. We’re not interested in adding more and more content; we’re not trying to do“more” than the existing games. Let the players have fun with our games; if they want to talk about them to their friends then our goal will be achieved.
It’s quite rare to have a woman running a company in the video game sector. Is it something you realize? Can it change the way Zallag is directed?
Women are unfortunately under-represented in the video game industry in general. In fact, there are no women Chief Executive Officers that I know of in Europe, whether it is among publishers or developers. This lack of representation could be partly explained in the past but now that video game has become the number one entertainment this last years, it cannot be explained anymore.
Full name: Zallag
Activitie(s): Publishing and producing video games
Implantation : Head Office– Montbrison (France)
Office– Lyon (France)
Founders: Christelle Chandavoine et David Costarigot
Executives: CEO - Christelle Chandavoine
Managing Director - David Costarigot
Date of creation: November 24th 2009
Website: Under construction
Social networks: Present on Facebook and on Twitter
Press contact: David Costarigot