Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Where are they now? - Computer's Dream

Back of the English box for B.A.T.

Back in 1990, a DOS port of a sci-fi adventure game/RPG was released by a little known French company called Computer's Dream. The game was called B.A.T. which stands for "Bureau of Astral Troubleshooters" (I never knew what the acronym stood for until now). The game was probably one of my earliest experiences with cyberpunk or at least a dystopian sci-fi setting and despite the dull colours (which I guess you'd expect with a cyberpunk title) the graphics were pretty good and had an appealing comic book style. The game was also a mix between point 'n' click adventure and RPG since every so often you'd be required to fight and if you weren't very good at it (which I wasn't) you'd often end up dead. Since I was so good at dying I never finished the game. If only I could play it again now - apparently Ubisoft, which was known as "Ubi Soft" in the 80s, published the game so maybe there's a chance of GOG grabbing a license to sell it, but before I go completely on a tangent, what happened to the developers? What happened to Computer's Dream?

Computer's Dream was apparently a French development studio founded in the 1980s and developed games such as Fer et flamme (Iron and Flame) which was released in 1986 on the Amstrad CPC, B.A.T. in 1989 (but 1990 for the DOS port) and B.A.T. II - The Koshan Conspiracy in 1992. Prominent developers on the titles were Olivier Cordoleani and Hervé Lange.

In 1993, the development studio expanded in size and was renamed to Haiku Studios. Haiku Studios developed the adventure game Down in the Dumps which was released in 1996 as well as a couple of other games that don't even rate a mention at MobyGames. The studio quickly went bankrupt and only after 4 years Haiku Studios was no more.

But what of Olivier Cordoleani and Hervé Lange? Do they still make games?

OIivier seems to have worked for a few software development companies since Haiku Studios and while his earlier projects involved 3D animation his more recent work seems to be with web design and "mobile services".

Hervé on the other hand kept on developing games for a few years after. He was director for the sailing simulation game Virtual Skipper which was released in 2000 and was also a director for the 2005 Nintendo DS game Scooby-Doo!: Unmasked. After that, I'm not quite sure what he got up to but I know at the very least that he's now working as a "Senior Interactive Software Architect" at Autodesk who are most famous for their AutoCAD design software. So I guess he's not making computer games anymore either.

It seems to be a commonly recurring theme with a lot of game developers back in the 80s; once they've reached their peak in the 80s or 90s, it seems to be difficult to remain relevant in the industry. Either that or they're just getting old and developing computer games is a young man(or woman)'s game. Or perhaps with some of them, they're just disgruntled at the direction the games industry has headed, at least until the indie games boom of the last few years. Maybe they're just bored?

Whatever the case, we thank Olivier Cordoleani and Hervé Lange for the awesome games they've developed for us in the past and wish them all the best in their future endeavours!

LINKS:
[ MobyGames: B.A.T. ]
[ MobyGames: Olivier Cordoleani ]
[ MobyGames: Hervé Lange ]
[ Wikipedia: Computer's Dream ]
[ Wikipedia: Haiku Studios ]





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