While we’ve seen a whole lot of industry consolidation over the past couple years, there are still occasionally stories of established studios forging ahead on their own. Quantic Dream, maker of Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain, is one of those studios, and it’s about to take on a new role on top of going independent: that of a publisher. Dustborn, a new title from Red Thread Games, will now be co-funded and published by Quantic Dream.
Red Thread, creators of the episodic Dreamfall Chapters series, revealed Dustborn at the Future Games Show earlier this year. Centered on a diverse crew of couriers trying to smuggle a mysterious package out of the fascistic Divided States of America, Dustborn looks to embrace a distinctive visual style that’s miles away from the realism that Quantic Dream has been chasing since Heavy Rain. Still, Quantic’s co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière says the studio shares Red Thread’s passion for “great narratives and interactive storytelling” and will lend technical and editorial resources to the project.
We’ve not seen much of Dustborn since its reveal, so it’s hard to say whether it’ll play much like the Dreamfall games or perhaps like a Quantic Dream title. Still, the first trailer gives a great primer on its setting and comic book-inspired visuals.
Quantic Dream announced its move to go independent and intent to self-publish its own games back in February. According to de Fondaumière and co-CEO David Cage, the decision was enabled in large part thanks to the deal the studio struck with Epic last year to port its most recent games to PC. Cage and de Fondaumière did not talk about ambitions to publish the work of other developers then, but the latter says Quantic Dream can be expected to pursue “different genres” in its future work.
The French studio’s independence announcement came not long after it agreed to compensate one former employee €7,000 for failing to prevent and respond to harassment against the individual in the form of crude Photoshopped images. Reports from 2018 alleged that Quantic Dream’s leadership fostered such behavior at its offices.
Dustborn was originally announced with a release planned for 2021 and is in development for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S/X.