Former veterans at Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Vivendi, and Lucas Arts have come together to lead New Tales as a new game studio which offers “state of the art publishing services with a fresh twist and global scope.”
Speaking with SegmentNext in a recent interview, New Tales confirmed that it is already holding “active discussions with many studios across the world” for its publishing services, but will likely be “selective” when it comes to choosing the games it wants to publish.
New Tales is also working on its first intellectual property which has been in development for around a couple of years now. New Tales is currently “polishing its lore and exploring different gameplay ideas” and will be sharing more details about its debut game later in the year.
The rest of the interview can be read below.
SN: How many projects are currently on the drawing table of New Tales?
NT: NEW TALES has a two pronged approach, building a publisher and a developer at the same time. As you may have seen on our website, our approach is Content is King / Publishing is Queen!
On the publishing side, we are in active discussions with many studios across the world and are seeking to associate ourselves with people that share our values and passions. In short, on this front, we have many projects in the pipeline, but this will probably end up being scaled down slightly as we want to remain selective and several stars have to align to move forward.
On the development side, it’s a bit too early to share a lot of details, but we have equally high ambition on this front, probably more with a mid-long-term time scale. One thing we can mention is that our first IP universe has been in development for about two years already… We are currently polishing its lore and exploring different gameplay ideas. We will be sharing more this year as our ambition is to start scaling our game production capabilities up in 2022.
SN: What kind of an IP is New Tales looking to make its debut with? Any specific genre or player-base which will be targeted?
NT: Here at NEW TALES, we are made up of passionate gamers looking to debut with games that we would like to play ourselves, and developed by studios we feel a strong connection to with similar values. This does not mean focusing on a specific genre per say, however, our legacy is more in certain categories where we feel we can add value to our partnered studios.
We want our approach to publishing to keep game DNA and player communities as the central focus, so we will prioritise games that allow the development of mid-long-term relationships with players, as well as partnering with studios where we feel we can bring concrete support to their project.
With all that said, our key values guide our day-to-day decisions and we want first and foremost work with cool people, have fun while remaining ambitious and try to maximize the international success of a game.
SN: Looking at the years of experience New Tales has under its roof, spanning across multiple franchises, what is that one major lesson which you will be carrying forward into your games?
NT: One of the key lessons is that success is difficult to predict, especially for a new game, IP or genre. You must put yourself in the best position to succeed (in terms of content but also publishing), but you also have to remain humble and resilient.
Things move super-fast in our industry, it’s very dynamic and that’s where it becomes interesting for new companies like NEW TALES. We are aiming to be agile & creative. When you look back, many successful games (or even companies) were created by a handful of passionate gamers.
The last thing we would mention is that the frequency of new releases keeps increasing faster than the market growth and one thing we have learned is Content is King / Publishing is Queen. You need great content to succeed, but it’s not always sufficient and having the right publishing strategy and tactics will definitely contribute to success in such an intense environment. For us, in the same manner that developing a great game is an art, mastering publishing also requires experience and is a form of art too.
SN: There is a growing trend of live service games. Is that something New Tales has on its radar?
NT: If you check our past experiences, we have been among the teams that have been living live service games in the most intense way. All of us met at Blizzard and we are among the first employees to build the EMEA structure for World of Warcraft release, starting it with less than ten people and growing it to more than a thousand team members.
Talking about treating a live game, we pushed it pretty far during our past experiences, structuring many different competences towards serving players (all in seven languages at the same time). This did include synchronizing the effort of multicultural internal teams such as customer service, Loc & QA, Network/IT, Community Management, Web etc.
Now, we are starting a brand-new adventure with NEW TALES and we keep this notion of service close to our heart with the ambition to win player’s respect every day. Building communities and delivering games as a service, while easy to say, is hard to master. The way we like to look at it is like a piano keyboard, where you have tons of options and possibilities. Whilst anyone can press a key and make noise, playing truly harmonious music, specific to each game and market, is a much more challenging thing to achieve.
SN: What’s your view on the recent interest publishers have shown in blockchain games? Will New Tales delve into NFTs down the road?
NT: Generally speaking, the number of technological evolutions currently happening is very stimulating and, as geeks, we really like to imagine where this could bring us, especially with VR and AR.
When it comes down to NFTs, the most important thing for us is that it should be used only if it serves gameplay and done in the best interests of players.
There has always been personalization or loot in gaming, the cool notion here is the fact that blockchain makes it unique, which is intrinsically cool. The question is much more about the way new technologies like this are used and in the case of NFTs, they are easily used in a speculative manner rather than truly adding value to the game experience.
Additionally, we also have a concern about the impact on climate change and its carbon footprint, not only for NFTs by the way, but about technology and the gaming industry in general. NFTs are currently polarizing the attention for this topic, but we think that more should be done – generally speaking – to minimize impacts generated by the gaming industry.
We are planning to act aware of those world challenges, following and compensating for our carbon footprint as well as giving back a percentage of our future profit to climate change associations. Even if we are just emerging and still relatively small as a company, this is something deeply rooted in our values.
SN: Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft have been facing damning allegations of workplace misconduct. Have any safeguards been placed in order to not only protect New Tales but also attract new talent?
NT: The first thing we did when we created NEW TALES was to write our values. We have four and one of them is called “Gaming for Good”. This value is one of the foundation pillars of NEW TALES. It speaks about diversity and inclusion, respect, awareness of the challenges of the world and climate change.
To answer your question, it starts by truly living our values, being honest towards them and deciding things in total relationship with them.
As we are still small, we are taking extra care of our recruitment process, making sure that the people that will join us will only help growing our values.
We are aware that with scale comes complexity and we have the ambition to remain always sensible to details and really to keep our values at the center of NEW TALES. Generally speaking, we are very transparent and honest to each other, always listening and growing to be better, or at least doing our best to achieve that. Anyone can have blind spots, it’s essential however to realize them, in order to improve and fix them.
We think that this deeply rooted culture of openness, trust and transparency will always help us maintain a truly healthy work environment. At the end of the day, it’s a question of willingness and a question of avoiding to compromise on: this is something we all share very strongly.
SN: What will be the stance of New Tales when it comes to microtransactions?
NT: It’s difficult to give a “black and white” answer here. We think it’s mostly a question of where you decide to put the monetization cursor.
Developing a game is a risky business, especially for small companies. You pay everything up front, you take a high level of risk and then you release the game with the best possible publishing support. You believe in the project and fight for it to win… but you never know and recouping your costs is also a need if you want to be able to produce other games.
At the same time, you want to find something fair for players, not “over” monetizing them either. If it is a Free2Play game, you certainly need MTX to generate revenue for the developer and the publisher but our approach is not naturally in favor of pay to win, but finding the right balance to be fair for all players.
This balance can differ depending on the game or business model. This is something we are planning to approach with care and with full transparency to players… but always keeping our passion, values and player interests driving our final decisions.
SN: Any problems you can identify in the current indie publishing scene? And how do you plan to fix those?
NT: Gaming is now the dominant form of entertainment globally, having doubled in size in just a few years! So overall, we think there is room for a wider range of companies and projects and that’s cool!
However, one important thing to note is that the frequency of new game releases is increasing much faster than the market growth trend, which means that, sadly, a growing percentage of games will struggle and on several occasions great games do not have the success level they would deserve naturally and this will become an increasing challenge for Indie games as they compete with less budget.
We really love the indie scene, it’s super dynamic and very creative and we are enjoying all the exchanges we have with indie studios. Historically, many gameplay innovations, genres or even companies have emerged from small groups of passionate people!
While Content always remains in the center, great publishing will become increasingly important and we think that it’s great that new independent publishers are being created to help studios maximize their game’s reach. This way, studios have more options and can partner with those that are the most adapted to their needs.
At NEW TALES, we have formed a very experienced team with 22 years in the industry on average for each team member, having worked in 16 different gaming companies. In the past, we have worked on building some of the most famous global gaming IPs and developing dynamic communities. We believe that this expertise, our international network, our passion and core values are certainly some of the key elements that will allow us to stand out.
With our background, we are aiming to bring values to developers to maximize success, certainly on helping them polish content if they want, but more importantly on the international publishing side. Our approach is tailor made and we work with studios as one team, in full transparency and with fair business terms.
What this means in a more concrete fashion is that we start with the needs of the studio and are adapting ourselves, remaining flexible to what makes most sense. This translates often in a simple excel file where we work jointly with the studio, finding the best spot for both parties, including elements like co-production, publishing, support for polishing content, financial support etc. This genuine approach should also contribute to strengthening the ties between us as a publisher and the studios.
SN: Microsoft is doing wonders with its game pass service for gamers. A lot of indie games get listed on it to get more exposure. As an indie publisher/developer, what are your thoughts about the service? Can more services like game pass be beneficial for indie developers and publishers?
NT: Game Pass is a great offer for players, allowing them to certainly try games that they would not have bought otherwise. So generally speaking, we really like offers that allow the ability to maximize opportunities and to discover new things.
More services like this would only allow more competition and reward content creators in the best possible manner. Whatever the evolution is, our industry needs to make sure that the value chain is well distributed and that content creators that are taking significant risks and putting a lot of time and passion developing their game, get rewarded fairly.
We think that such services would remain beneficial for indie developers and publishers as long as the discovery and content curation of the platform will be done with enough diversity and the value chain will keep a balanced approach.