A day ago, French studio Dontnod Entertainment announced a business cooperation agreement with Tencent, whereby the Chinese conglomerate will invest in the studio and acquire a minority stake. According to a post by Twitter tipster Emily Rogers, Life Is Strange publisher Square Enix and developer Dontnod parted ways “a long, long time ago,” and that any future games in the series will be developed by Before the Storm studio, Deck Nine.
Eurogamer contacted Square Enix for a statement but was declined a comment. However, as the website has noted, recent developments seem to add some weight to the rumor.
Last year, Dontnod set up a new studio in Montreal, which is comprised of key figures in Life Is Strange‘s development team. The studio confirmed that its Montreal branch is not working on Life Is Strange because it has “new exciting ideas we want to explore.” In addition to this, Dontnod has joined a growing number of developers who want to self-publish in order to retain IP ownership and creative freedom. The press release announcing its deal with Tencent confirmed as much, and as Eurogamer pointed out, Dontnod’s publishing deal with Bandai Namco Entertainment for Twin Mirror didn’t pan out, resulting in the developer publishing the title itself.
Previously, Dontnod teamed up with Focus Home Interactive to release Vampyr and with Microsoft to release Xbox-exclusive Tell Me Why.
As with all rumors, take the report surrounding Dontnod and Square Enix parting ways with a grain of salt. However, it seems plausible and hardly surprising.