Welcome to Digitally Downloaded’s regular catch-up news feature. With each issue we will bring you the best news that you may have missed. Grab the biggest mug you’ve got, fill it with your favourite brew, and catch up with us (and our favourite news anchor, Dee Dee)!
Tencent acquires minority stake in Dontnod Entertainment
Tencent, a Chinese tech company with hands in just about every industry you can imagine, has acquired a minority stake in Dontnod Entertainment. It has paid €30 million for its new shares in the French video game developer/publisher. Tencent is now able to propose the appointment of a representative to the Dontnod Entertainment Board of Directors. The money will go towards new self-published intellectual properties for PC, consoles, and mobile devices.
If you’re not entirely familiar with Tencent (and, really, who is? There is way too much under its umbrella!), here’s the lowdown. Founded in 1998, it is the world’s largest video game vendor. In 2018, it began investing in non-Chinese developers and publishers, with its acquisitions being anywhere from a minority stake to full control. Basically, its hands are in several well-known video game companies companies, including 20% ownership of Marvelous, 15% ownership of Glu Mobile, 5% ownership of Paradox Interactive, and 5% ownership in France’s Ubisoft; companies under its full control include Riot Games and Funcom.
Dontnod Entertainment began as a developer, with its first title being Remember Me (2013). Its biggest hit is arguably Life Is Strange (2015, pictured above), but it has also developed Vampyr, Life Is Strange 2, and Tell Me Why. Its first foray into self-publishing was with last year’s Twin Mirror; prior to that, its titles had been published by outside companies including Square Enix and Capcom. Oskar Guilbert, chairman/CEO of Dontnod, gave his opinion on the acquisition via a press release last week, stating, “We are delighted to welcome Tencent as a Dontdnod investor. This is a real expression of trust from a key online game leader … Through this partnership, Dontnod is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the various growth drivers in the video game industry, in particular in China and on mobile platforms, in cooperation with an industry leader.”
Root Film’s Western release date is set
The sequel to a DDnet favourite, Root Letter, Root Film is set to launch in the West. Developer Kadokawa Games and publisher PQube have announced that the mystery visual novel will be released for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in the West on March 19. It originally launched in Japan last July. Here’s a new gameplay trailer:
Root Film is set in the Shimane prefecture and revolves around a mysteriously cancelled TV series, Shimane Mystery Drama Project. Rintaro Yagumo is excited for a casting opportunity… that is, until a murder interrupts the show’s location scouting process. An Intuition mechanic allows the player to gather keywords during conversations, and after collecting enough, Max Mode allows the player to confront suspects in a face-off. If there is missing evidence, the correct options won’t even be available. There is also a “zapping” mechanic that reveals the perspective of two players simultaneously, an essential tool if anyone is interested in the truth behind the show.
If you’re interested in learning more about Root Letter, check out Matt S.’ review here. For some first-hand information on Root Film, read an interview with Kadokawa Games’ president Yasuda Yoshimi about why the company is further exploring its Root Letter world.
The Dark Side of the Moon is imminent
Unlike last week, this catch-up will not be three-quarters FMV games, I promise. That being said, some really big news has come out about Tayanna Studios’s The Dark Side of the Moon, and I absolutely have to share it. The release date has been announced! It is set to drop on March 12 for PC via Steam. Following an Instagram Live conversation/announcement from developer/actor Darren Hall and actor Anarosa De Eizaguirre Butler, a new release trailer popped up:
Follow Dean Hamilton as he searches for his two children who vanished from their beds in the middle of the night. Of course, it can’t simply be a normal kidnapping, if there even is such a thing. Instead, the source of their disappearance is downright out of this world. Hall is new to the world of FMV acting, while other faces will be familar: Butler and fellow FMV veteran Rupert Booth have both starred in Contradiction and The Shapeshifting Detective.
The Dark Side of the Moon is an FMV/interactive film hybrid that combines live-action video with point-and-click elements. There are branching narratives, with five possible outcomes.
Haven is coming to more consoles
Originally launched for PC via Steam/GOG, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, and Xbox One last December, Haven is set to makes it debut on two more consoles. The game will launch for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on February 4, in addition to being made available for PC yet again, this time via the Epic Games Store. I am absolutely thrilled to see it on Nintendo Switch, and hope it does especially well there. PlayStation users, take note: if you purchase the title for PlayStation 4 you will receive the PlayStation 5 version for free, and vice-versa.
In Haven, lovers Yu and Kay have escaped their world and ended up on a forgotten planet, leaving everything familiar behind. They settle into their new world, exploring the planet and collecting materials to turn their ship into a cozy home. Life still remains somewhat normal for them as they do daily tasks such as cooking meals, finding enjoyment in the mundane. Of course, it can’t be that simple, and some are trying to tear them apart. Yu and Kay fight against them as a team, synchronizing actions in combat to find the perfect timing in the real-time battles.
Players will control both Yu and Kay simultaneously while exploring, fighting, and interacting. Instead of walking, the paur glides above the land as they seek to meet friends, avoid foes, and gather resources. Haven can be played alone, but it is simple for a second player to drop in or out via local co-op.