EXCLUSIVE: Bandai Namco partners with Life is Strange studio Dontnod on new narrative adventure IP

Bandai Namco has announced a new strategic partnership with Life is Strange developer Dontnod Entertainment, MCV can exclusively reveal. The new partnership will see the creation of a brand-new IP based on a new narrative adventure experience.

More details about the game, including platforms, a release date and whether it will be boxed or digital, will be announced in 2018, but Bandai Namco has told us it will take place in a fictional city in the US and include "a fair dose of investigation." It’s also been in production since 2016.

The story of the game is still being finalised, but its development won’t affect work on Dontnod’s other major title, Life is Strange 2, as this new title is being developed by a separate team of senior devs "from various horizons," we’re told.

"We want [new IPs] to make up 50 per cent of our business, and we’re achieving this by developing long-term partnerships with a few studios," Hervé Hoerdt, VP of marketing and digital told MCV.

"The first visible part of this was Little Nightmares, and we’ve been extremely happy [with it], but this is only the start of something. We also recently released Get Even, and now we’re very happy to partner with Dontnod.

"Dontnod was a kind of rough diamond – very much a rising star, I would say – and with the success of Life is Strange, it’s the first big player in terms of quality business model, vision, and we think that’s a good strategy that fits. It was the right moment, so we decided to partner [with them]."

Hoerdt also said the game’s location will be key to attracting as broad an audience as possible around the globe: "It will be located in a fictional place in the US because we think that today, to establish a new brand with a western audience, it helps to win with the US market, so part of the choice [in setting] is having this global worldwide audience in mind.

"Obviously, the UK benefits from this, which also helps in [broadening the audience, so this is very important. It’s a completely new story, new characters and everything.

"Obviously, with a studio like Dontnod, you can expect triple-A quality; you can expect a very emotional experience, and this is what we were looking for, like with some kind of investigation and going deep into the psychology of the characters, and giving emotion to the player. This is what we’re aiming for with this partnership."

Our full interview with Hoerdt will be published on MCV this Thursday, so make sure you check back then for more info on its new partnership with Dontnod, as well as its long-term strategy for its western-developed titles.

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