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Pitch & Produce | PROJECT W: Sandfall Interactive studios develops ambitious RPG game with Real-time tools

Guillaume Broche – CEO / Creative Director

Guillaume Broche – CEO / Creative Director

Founded in 2020 in France, Sandfall Interactive is an independent video game studio focusing on PC and next gen console development of high quality premium games. With a focus on single player experiences, they are looking to deliver incredible stories with fascinating characters in gorgeous worlds for all players to immerse into.

Their first game currently in development – Project W is an RPG experience aimed at next gen consoles and PCs. Set to release on Unreal Engine 5, the game will immerse the player in a beautiful post apocalyptic fantasy world through an epic single-player narrative-driven adventure.

Guillaume worked in game production at Ubisoft for 4 years before founding Sandfall Interactive. They won support from Reallusion’s Pitch & Produce program, where they received the help of real-time creative tools like Character Creator, SkinGen plugin for Character Creator (CC), iClone, the Rokoko Smartsuit profile for iClone, and AAA mocap motions from the ActorCore online platform, to be used in the Unreal Engine.

“The promise to get realistic characters, fully customizable, automatically rigged to the UE4 skeleton, and with blendshapes seemed too good to be true — but Character Creator actually delivers in all these areas.”

Guillaume Broche – CEO / Creative Director

Q: Bonjour Guillame, and welcome to the Reallusion Feature Stories. Kindly introduce yourself, Sandfall Interactive and Project W.

Bonjour everyone! My name is Guillaume Broche and I am the CEO and Creative Director of Sandfall Interactive – a new video game studio based in Montpellier, a sunny city in the south of France. I have worked at Ubisoft for over 4 years and recently decided to start my own studio together with another Ubisoft dev, and we are now a team of 8 planning to grow up to 15 people.

Our first game currently in development is Project W, which is a fascinating and ambitious RPG experience aimed at next gen consoles and PCs. Set to release on Unreal Engine 5, the game will immerse the player in a beautiful post-apocalyptic fantasy world through an epic, single-player, narrative-driven adventure.

Q: You applied to the Pitch & Produce program where you used Character Creator and the SkinGen plugin to create your characters. What are the typical challenges that game developers face when making characters? And what originally caught your attention when using Character Creator and SkinGen?

When creating 3D characters, especially in a realistic style, there are a lot of things to worry about: do they look good? are they well optimized? How am I going to do the facial animation? How am I going to rig them? How can I make my textures realistic enough? All these questions and many more make creating high-quality characters expensive and time-consuming, especially when you want to create many.

As a small team we have to find ways to optimize that, which is why Character Creator and the SkinGen plugin for Character Creator, caught our attention. Character Creator has great tools to setup cloths and paint weights.

Not only that, but we are using it to rig all the creatures in our game.

Q: For your game animations you utilized a combination of mocap from the Rokoko Smartsuit, key-framed animations and Reallusion’s ActorCore mocap library. As a game developer, what kind of motions do you need to mocap yourself, versus using pre-made animations from a collection?

Pre-made animations are a fantastic way to gain time. We always modify them a bit to make them more unique, but having access to a polished library of mocap animation, like the Reallusion ActorCore platform, is awesome.

Though of course it doesn’t fit all our needs, especially when we have complex cutscenes and such. In which case we turn to the Rokoko Smartsuit Pro to get exactly the animations we need.

Finally for the character’s skills, we use a combination of mocap and keyframes to make them more dynamic.

Q: Yourself and some of your team members have previously worked in big AAA studios like Ubisoft. What would you say are the biggest hurdles in coming from a large studio, to an indie studio?

Time and people of course! When switching to an indie studio you lose the comfort of having ultra-specialized people in every field, so you have to learn a ton of stuff that wasn’t originally your specialty, including character art. So far, I was the one making the character, but we are hiring a character artist to push they quality ever further with custom hair, beards and skin textures. We also need quite a few monsters to kill!

The indie adventure is fascinating, you learn a ton every day, you meet so many incredible people along the way, you face so many technical and creative challenges… but overcoming them feels so incredible. We are also able to go much faster than big teams on many points, as we are much more agile and communication goes a lot faster when the team is human-sized.

Q: Project W is currently in development; when is the game to be completed and what can the community look forward to from Sandfall Interactive?

Project W should release in about 3 years. It is quite an ambitious project so we want to take our time to deliver something incredible and unique. Note: that this is an estimate that is totally subject to change don’t take it as a hard date.

The community can expect us to always deliver games that we are proud of. We love single player narrative games with well written characters, an engaging story, a unique Art Direction and deep yet fun gameplay. We really hope that our first project will be loved and played by as many gamers as possible, because we are really pouring all our hear into it. Stay tuned for more news!

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