Today, French-born video game developer and founder of current president of Arkane Studios, Ralphael Colantonio has announced that he is leaving the company.
Previously working at EA and Infogrames, Colantonio founded Arkane Studios back in 1999, via funding support from his uncle. Based in Lyon, France the studio started off as four people, including Colantonio.
Working on a variety of projects, such as Arx Fatalis and helping on titles like BioShock 2, Arkane Studios had to wait all the way until 2012 (two years after it joined the ZeniMax and Bethesda family) to make a name for itself: with the release of Dishonored, a game widely considered one of the best of its year. This momentum continued in 2016 with the release of Dishonored 2, one of the highest rated games on Metacritic for the year, and then with Prey earlier this year. While it started off small, Arkane Studios now consists of two teams, one still located in Lyon, and another in Austin, Texas.
Colantonio writes the following — via a blogpost — about his departure:
The last 18 years have been an amazing adventure – from starting Arkane in 1999, to making our first game, Arx Fatalis, to joining ZeniMax Media in 2010 and releasing the Dishonored series and Prey to critical acclaim – it is time for me to step out to spend some time with my son and reflect on what is important to me and my future.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest people in the industry, and I feel extremely lucky to have been part of this journey with everyone at Arkane.
I’ve lived many magical moments. I’ve also been through the hard times. But, I can say that joining ZeniMax took things to the next level and gave Arkane the opportunity to emerge as a world-class studio. ZenIMax enabled us to make the best games that we’ve ever made. And I know there is even more to come.
Colantonio adds that ZeniMax “strongly believes in Arkane’s ability to make great games,” and remains committed to supporting the studio(s). Colantonio’s long-time friend and colleague Harvey Smith, will oversee the team in Austin, while Colantonio himself will stay as long as necessary to ensure a smooth transition to the new management team in Lyon.
Colantonio concludes the blogpost with the following:
I wish the best to everyone at Arkane, Bethesda, and ZeniMax. Without a doubt I will miss everyone.
As I close, I’d like to thank the Arkane fans for their passion and support. I proudly join them as Arkane Studios’ biggest champion, and I look forward to playing the extraordinary new games the studio is working on.
I personally would like to thank Colantonio for his service in the industry and for giving me one of my favorite series (Dishonored). His vision and talents will surely be missed.