Jehanne Rousseau, the video game revolution

Imagine Louis XVI. bloodily crushed the revolution before the storming of the Bastille thanks to an army of robots. Imagine Necker, La Fayette and even Marie Antoinette instantly turning their backs on a monstrous king and the queen’s personal automaton, Aegis, and sent to Paris to investigate and end this madness. Imagine this droid you control gradually defeating the steel colossuses terrorizing the capital, protecting and conversing with Robespierre, Abbé Grégoire, Mirabeau, Marat, Bailly and Lavoisier… How would all this be possible if not in a video? game, baptized steel cratesthat just came out?

This alternate history is the work of the Spiders teams led by Jehanne Rousseau, one of the rare women to head a development studio in France. “I was lucky enough to fall for it at a young age. From the early 1980’s I had a ColecoVision (one of the first home consoles – Ed) at home and Game and Watch (portable games – Ed). And it never stopped. » At the origin of this passion, a mad godfather of technologies for whom video games were the future. “And it’s true that it was my future”, She laughs. And not just his own, because video games are the most successful culture medium today.

“We have documented a lot”

After several experiences, Jehanne Rousseau founded her own studio with colleagues in 2008. “We survived game after game until we were bought by Nacon in early 2019 while retaining management. » And there lies the adventure steel crates started. “In terms of creation, France may be too inclined to copy American and Japanese games. The gameplay there is inspired by Souls-like (games with precise mechanics that reward learning – editor’s note) from Japan. But the universe is clean, and we documented a lot about the revolution to give it substance. » As you browse, the player comes across sheets of complaints notebooks flying around a martyred Paris and, in a flashback, sees the States-General of 1789. “You should know that Louis XVI. had a passion for watchmaking and that the court at the time was interested in automata, in the possibility of an unchanging mechanical life. Enlightenment philosophers asked themselves: How far can man imitate nature and the divine? There was a fascination with Vaucanson’s works, such as his automatic duck or sa dulcimer player bought by Marie-Antoinette and can still be seen today in the Musée des Arts et Métiers”, developed by Jeanne Rousseau. The revolutionary and counter-revolutionary automata of steel crates therefore do not come entirely out of thin air, and certain remarks made by the characters come from authentic speeches.

“I rediscovered Robespierre’s. I had the image of a bloodthirsty wolf in my mind. I realized that he had been a very great inspiration, a justice-loving idealist who fought against slavery and the death penalty. The revolution is much more complex than we sometimes think, fascinating and enriching.”continues the designer, very attached to the character of Julien Raimond. “He was a black man who fought against slavery and then joined Toussaint Louverture to liberate Haiti. It was important to me that missions from steel crates Association with the Society of Friends of Blacks at a time when the Napoleonic people are talking much…” With a seedy atmosphere and fierce battles, the game doesn’t forget to talk about the world. “What has always fascinated me about video games is escape and interactivity. This What I prefer is creating universes and characters, making them believable and letting the player make choices. » One of the first of the game will be: should Necker’s savings be entrusted to Robespierre or La Fayette? Without knowing what the consequences will be…

Initiator of JV Scholarship

Also note that Jehanne Rousseau now lives in Venice, “a childhood dream”, but without the temptation to live cut off from the world. The proof is that she created the JV scholarship. “Most schools for video game work are private and very expensive. However, it is very important that young people from humble backgrounds can be trained. For reasons of equality and because when those making the games are all from the same background, same gender, same origin, creation inevitably suffers. » Hence Jehanne Rousseau’s desire to open the doors. To all, in one environment “Very masculine, relatively misogynist, bordering on boys club. Even if things change, we must continue to mobilize and not give up: women have their place in this environment, they can contribute and change everything. We need them! “.

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