New Narrative Director Cross Media: a warm welcome to the team!
Hello everyone, and welcome back to “Insiders Info: Exclusive Insights into FunPlus & Our Games”.
In the dynamic world of gaming, it takes a visionary to craft stories that resonate, characters that captivate, and worlds that immerse. It takes someone who understands the pulse of the industry, the rhythm of narrative, and the heart of the gaming community. Today, we’re thrilled to introduce someone who fulfills all those criteria – Guillaume Colomb, the newest member of our FunPlus team.
As our new Narrative Director Cross Media, he will be working with Alexandre Amancio, our Senior Vice President & Head of World Building & IP Strategy (find out more about Alex Amancio in this interview!). Guillaume brings with him plenty of experience and a strong passion for gaming. His reputation precedes him, having carved a niche for himself in the industry as a master storyteller and world-builder.
In this interview, we dive deep into Guillaume’s journey, explore his approach to creating narratives, and find out what he has in store for his new role at FunPlus.
Q: HI THERE! CAN YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND TELL US WHERE YOU ARE FROM?
A: Hi, my name is Guillaume Colomb and I’m originally from the south of France.
Q: TELL US, WHAT WILL YOU DO IN YOUR JOB?
A: As the Narrative Director of Cross Media, my role will be to coordinate efforts around the development of FunPlus’ intellectual properties across different media platforms. Collaborating with internal teams and external partners to establish and maintain the vision, tone, and style for each IP, ensuring that all content aligns with the established creative direction.
Q: WHAT EXCITED YOU THE MOST ABOUT JOINING FUNPLUS AND CONTRIBUTING TO ITS FUTURE SUCCESS AS ONE OF THE LEADING DEVELOPERS AND PUBLISHERS IN THE INDUSTRY?
A: What really interested me in joining FunPlus was the incredible diversity in intellectual properties (IPs) and genres that FunPlus offers and the opportunities to expand those stories beyond their current medium.
I’m also motivated by FunPlus’ dynamic approach to content creation and its commitment to embracing new ways of thinking about entertainment. In a constantly evolving industry, this forward-thinking mindset aligns perfectly with my passion for innovation and pushing creative boundaries.
Joining FunPlus is a unique opportunity to not only contribute to the continued success of an international leading game developer and publisher but also to be part of a team that values creativity, diversity, and staying at the forefront of industry trends.
Q: LET’S TAKE YOUR JOURNEY BACK TO THE BEGINNING. WITH 20 YERAS OF EXPERIENCE IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY, WHAT ARE SOME KEY LEARNINGS YOU’VE GATHERED ABOUT STORYTELLING AND CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT?
A: What a ride it’s been! A real journey of learning and self-discovery! I still remember one of my earliest struggles when I was just 19 and directing a short film. I was totally stuck trying to figure out the story – the plot, all of it while time was running out… I had to put it all aside and started to focus on the main character. “Why is he doing this?”, “What does he want?”; and since like all student movies, this one was really about me, I was able to answer those questions, I put myself in the shoes of this character. It freed me. Even though the storyline of that short film was simple, it managed to touch people on an emotional level. It was one of those lightbulb moments about storytelling.
Later on, I realized why the audience reacted positively to this short film. We’re all on this crazy journey of life, and emotions are the driving force behind it all. Stories are like mirrors or sometimes even guides for people. Sharing a story is like talking about what it’s like to be human, helping others navigate their own life paths from start to finish. People are genuinely interested in how others feel. As a storyteller, it all starts with understanding your own emotions. In that short film, I had to use the only thing I had left: myself. That journey of self-discovery never really ends, but you know what they say – it’s the journey itself that counts, not just the destination.
Q: HOW DO YOU APPROACH CREATING IMMERSIVE WORLDS IN GAMES? WHAT ELEMENTS DO YOU FOCUS ON TO ENSURE PLAYERS FEEL FULLY ENGAGED?
A: I always begin my creative process by posing a fundamental question: ‘How do I want the player to feel?’ It’s the cornerstone of designing an immersive world because, if we intend for players to lose themselves in our world, we must ensure they feel not just welcomed but truly rewarded for investing their time in it. Every component that contributes to crafting this universe serves as a means to that ultimate end.
From the carefully curated art style to the harmonious symphony of sound and music, and the gameplay mechanics that grant players agency and challenge, down to the intricacies of player progression, and even the subtle haptic feedback that adds that extra layer of sensory immersion – each element plays a pivotal role in achieving this overarching vision.
It all starts with that initial question. It’s our North Star, guiding our decisions and infusing every aspect of game development with purpose and meaning. Only that way can you create worlds that players not only inhabit but cherish, making their journey within them an unforgettable adventure.
Q: WHAT DOES THE TERM ‘PLAYER-CENTRIC NARRATIVE’ MEAN TO YOU, and how do you ensure your work reflects this concept?
A: To me, approaching narrative in games is akin to orchestrating a dynamic dialogue between the game and the player. It’s a two-way discussion that mimics a social interaction; imagine meeting someone new at a gathering. If that person dominates the conversation, only talking about themselves, it’s unlikely to be a memorable encounter. The player-centric narrative operates on the same principle – it’s about cherishing the player’s presence, engaging with them, and ensuring they feel valued and included.
Just as in an engaging conversation, a player-centric narrative must be agile and adapt to the unique qualities of each individual. Every player’s journey through the game should feel qualitatively distinct. It’s about tailoring the narrative to resonate with each player, acknowledging their choices, and ensuring that their path through the story is a personal and meaningful one. In essence, it’s about turning each player into an active participant in the storytelling process, making them a co-author of their own gaming adventure.
Q: HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE CHALLENGE OF WEAVING COMPELLING NARRATIVES THAT ENGAGE AUDIENCES ACROSS DIVERSE MEDIA PLATFORMS?
A: At times, crafting a cross-media narrative can feel like an intricate game of 3D chess. The primary challenge lies in providing multiple entry points for different types of audiences. It’s a delicate balance because you can’t always predict exactly what the audience knows. Did they play the game? Did they already know that character? Do they know their backstory, etc… Thus, it’s imperative to maintain a constant focus on story clarity while simultaneously weaving connections to other narratives.
One of the remarkable facets of human cognition is our ability to discover connections between seemingly disparate elements. Our brains are wired to bridge new information with past experiences, and when these connections are unearthed, they bring immense joy. This is the true essence of cross-media storytelling – creating narratives that stand strong on their own, yet offer enhanced value when you’ve immersed yourself in other stories across different platforms.
In essence, it’s about crafting a storytelling tapestry where each thread, representing a standalone story, is not only compelling in its own right but also part of a larger, interwoven narrative fabric that enriches the overall experience for those who venture across its diverse pathways.
Q: THE GAMING INDUSTRY IS KNOWN FOR ITS RAPID EVOLUTION. HOW HAVE YOU ADAPTED YOUR NARRATIVE STRATEGIES TO KEEP PACE WITH THE CHANGES?
A: Back in the early days of my career, the digital revolution hit the film industry. Suddenly, I could afford a small camera and shoot a movie on my own. I could do countless takes without burning a hole in my pocket, and I could edit everything right on my computer. These were great tools, I could DO things more easily, and quicker, but it only made it more clear that what was important was not the HOW but the WHY. Stories have been around since the dawn of time and have been told through a large array of media. Games, just like films, are another medium to tell stories, but it is critical to not lose focus on why we want to tell stories.
Over the past few decades, like all of us, I’ve watched with excitement as the gaming world has evolved quickly. We’ve got more tools to play with, and more ways to tug at players’ heartstrings. I like to keep a finger on the pulse of the new tech trends and see what the trailblazers are doing with them.
In the next few years, the real innovation in terms of narrative will be in cross-platform experiences. The technology now allows the audience to consume content anywhere, at any time, like never before. This will transform the way we think about storytelling, and I’m very excited to be part of this pivotal moment at FunPlus.
Q: YOU’VE MENTIONED EMBRACING AI AND DATA ANALYTICS IN YOUR WORK. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT HOW YOU UTILIZE THESE TOOLS TO ENHANCE YOUR NARRATIVES?
A: Of course!
Data analytics is like a continuation of the dialogue I mentioned earlier, albeit in a somewhat spaced-out manner. When we aim for each player’s journey to be qualitatively distinct, data analytics becomes our means of comprehending what resonates with players and what doesn’t quite capture their interest. It’s tangible data, far more reliable than the comments you might find from players online.
Now, this doesn’t imply that we hand over the reins to the audience, allowing them to dictate the next chapter of our story. Instead, it empowers us to capitalize on the elements that genuinely engage our audience. It’s about leveraging real data to fine-tune and enhance the narrative, ensuring that it aligns with the preferences and expectations of our players. In essence, data analytics is another tool, guiding us to craft a more compelling and player-centric storytelling experience.
When it comes to AI, we’re on the brink of a truly exhilarating era in technology. Personally, I find it to be an incredibly impressive tool—one that I frequently turn to for research, as a sounding board to bounce around ideas, and to even challenge my own thinking. But, let’s be real, we can’t dive into the world of AI without acknowledging the numerous ethical concerns it brings along.
Every time a game-changing technology disrupts the status quo, you’re bound to see some misuse and the urgent need for new regulations to ensure fair and ethical use. Safeguarding the interests of creators is absolutely vital for maintaining a healthy industry ecosystem. Nevertheless, it’s here to stay, I have no doubt that it will play a pivotal role in the future of game development.
AMAZING. THIS IS SO INTERESTING! WELL, IT IS TIME TO START WRAPPING UP! THE LAST TWO QUESTIONS, PROMISED! 😀
Q: LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE, WHAT TRENDS OR ADVANCEMENTS IN NARRATIVE DIRECTION OR WORLD-BUILDING IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
A: The gaming industry today looks nothing like it did when I started two decades ago. What really inspires me for the future is how much this medium has grown and expanded its reach to all sorts of audiences. At the same time, game developers now come from all walks of life. That means we’re in for some seriously fresh, new, and pleasantly surprising stories down the road.
Video games have a major impact on younger folks like no other form of media. I can’t wait to see how they keep breaking down barriers and bringing people together. It’s all about building connections and shared experiences that cross all sorts of boundaries. The gaming world’s evolution is proof that it’s not just about fun and games; it’s about bringing people closer and inspiring minds. I can’t wait to see what the future’s got in store!
Q: AND LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST… FUN TO YOU MEANS?
A: Well, if you asked my friends, they’d probably describe me as the ‘chief of stoicism’! But behind this French facade, I promise you, I am smiling! For me, fun is all about enjoying a delicious meal with a handful of great friends, accompanied by some exquisite wine and exciting conversations. I know, it sounds très French, doesn’t it?” 😄🍷🇫🇷
And that’s a wrap on our chat with Guillaume! A huge thanks to him for taking the time to give us a glimpse into his world. We can’t wait to see the magic he’ll bring to our games at FunPlus, and prepare to be captivated by the power of storytelling!
For all you gamers out there, keep an eye on this space. We can’t wait to share the amazing narratives Guillaume will bring to life. To stay updated on these exciting developments and more, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn.
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