When Arkane co-founder Raphael Colantonio recently announced his departure from the studio after 18 years, it sparked some speculation about the move. Many thought him stepping down had something to do with Dishonored 2‘s lukewarm sales and Prey‘s mixed reception, considering the timing of his resignation. However, Colantonio has a different story to share.
Speaking at this week’s Spanish conference Gamelab, he explained that stepping down was a tough decision given his love for Arkane and Bethesda, but that he “really” needed a “true vacation” after spending almost two decades heading a company in an industry that seems to be at odds with time off.
“Leaving this is actually a hard, hard choice, but at the same time I’ve been doing this for 18 years,” he said. “I feel like I’ve never ever sat down, for even a minute.” Colantonio says he feels relieved. He explained that due to his position at Arkane, he had to work non-stop even when he was on holiday. “I need to spend time with my son, I need to create music, I need to eat healthy,” he continued.
Discussing the challenges of AAA development, Colantonio said that creativity can sometimes suffer as a result of growth. With reference to Dishonored, he recalled:
Harvey [Smith] would probably say the same, but there was a moment when we were working on Dishonored that we became so big – and I’m not talking about 600 people team big, but it was big enough for us – there’s a moment where, as an artist, you’re not sure what you control and what you don’t control any more.
Colantonio also talked about Arkane joining Bethesda after going through several rough patches, which put the studio on the brink of bankruptcy.
Don’t expect Colantonio to leave the games industry entirely, though. He says he loves games too much to leave for good.
Prior to setting up Arkane in 1999 in Lyon, France, Colantonio worked for Electronic Arts and the now-defunct Alone in the Dark developer Infogrames.
You can find a detailed write-up of Colantonio’s speech via the source links below.