Former Thief, Deus Ex boss trades AAA for mobile/social

Eidos Montreal general manager Stephane D'Astous joins Hibernum Creations Inc. as its chief operating officer.

Former Eidos Montreal general manager Stephane D'Astous, who resigned from his post at the Deus Ex and Thief studio last summer, has made a dramatic career change. Mobile and social game studio Hibernum Creations Inc. has hired D'Astous to become its chief operating officer, the company announced this week.

At Hibernum--which has done design work for big-name franchises like Assassin's Creed and Disney Infinity--D'Astous will help the company "define the future vision and strategy" while overseeing all operational and support departments, the company said in a statement.

"I'm super excited to join the dynamic team at Hibernum. I've been thinking moving onto the mobile side of our industry for a while now and I couldn't refuse the opportunity to join an up-and-coming studio with a great potential like Hibernum," D'Astous said in a statement.

Upon his exit from Eidos Montreal last year, D'Astous was critical of the way the studio was handled by its owner Square Enix. "The lack of leadership, lack of courage, and the lack of communication were so evident, that I wasn't able to conduct my job correctly. I realized that our differences were irreconcilable, and that the best decision was unfortunately to part ways," he said at the time.

Eidos Montreal recently shipped Thief to a middling critical reception. The studio cut 27 jobs just a week after the game's launch.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
66 comments
Unetteh
Unetteh

Good for him on leaving because of Square Enix, but he could've found a better place to end up.

FULGOREY2K
FULGOREY2K

seems another one is going to the shit road

hadlee73
hadlee73

Switching to mobile? It seems he is still inspired by Thief, then.

pyro1245
pyro1245

What a damn moron. I mean... look at him. Anyway glad he's out of the industry. Good riddance.

ziproy
ziproy

Thought this was gonna be Warren Spector and I was like "nooooooo why would you do that". Thankfully I could give a crap about a single mind at Eidos.

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

For the sake of the studio, I hope he was the one to blame for the awful layouts of the hub areas in Thief and Human Revolution. 

deathstream
deathstream

Oh, not Thief and Deus Ex but those crappy modern games calling themselves Thief and Deus Ex.  I was confused at first.

GamerYnoX
GamerYnoX

Couldn't handle the AAA challenge huh

mattcake
mattcake

Not the first to see FlappyBird and CandyCrapSaga making a fortune and scurrying away. Nice to know who cares about games and who doesn't though, let's hope we all remember that when they come crawling back :)

mikz_nyc
mikz_nyc

Don't worry people,Console gaming isn't going anywhere anytime soon,mobile gaming can't replace the gaming consoles due to lack of raw horse power,games on mobile are way too short in gameplay,while they might expand but it won't make an impact on gaming consoles

BeefoTheBold
BeefoTheBold

Every time I see a prominent executive from a big publisher like Microsoft (Mattrick) or SE (D'Astous) leave their company to join one of these mobile app based companies I feel the same reaction: Happiness.


By all means, it's better than you being in a position to drive the current companies in this direction. If you believe mobile is the way of the future then godspeed.


Once all of you are gone maybe you'll be replaced by folks who believe differently at the companies you've left.

aegis_kleais
aegis_kleais

Sounds like he's just sour on how things went down. That's fine and all, but it's not indicative of AAA being faulty. If development philosophy keeps taking shortcuts, it'll just end up undercutting itself and shooting itself in the foot rather than optimizing itself for the needs of the gaming community.


$3 mobile game vs $50-$60 AAA. You'll have to cater to 18x the players, but development times and costs (and game quality) will be significantly lower.

RC-Sev
RC-Sev

I was recently thinking that games for mobile devices should be improved. Most of them are really boring. I hope this guy can bring something good to us.

mr_nee
mr_nee

"The studio cut 27 jobs just a week after the game's launch." Thats a common practice in building industry. A lot of people get hired just for one project, then they get laid off and hired again for another project if they are needed

mr_nee
mr_nee

Consoles might die not because consumers switch to phones/tables, but because devs do in search of easier money. It would take them 2h to make flappy bird and it took few years for thief. 


Theif bacame a flop, while flappy made $50k a day. They could make 3 flappy bird class games a week and not care if 90% of them failed. With no AAA, who needs a console better than Ouya???

iampenguin
iampenguin

Soon we'll lose AAA devs. to go make pixel art and do clipboard manipulations.

Fursnake
Fursnake

So essentially he's taking a huge step...down.

Saidrex
Saidrex

Mobile gaming - cheap way to earn big money on morons.

Hop103
Hop103

Stop this now, this is the same shift is what's killing the Eastern gaming industry today.  There are better alternatives than going mobile, like relying on artstyle and less on cinema style graphics, mobile has no place in gaming.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@GamerYnoX

He supervised the development of Deus Ex. Afterward some conflicts occurred and he left. Thief is the result and has very little to do with him.

deathstream
deathstream

@mattcake  


PS4's library is mainly ports of mobile games or ports of games that could be on mobile, so he'll end up working on consoles again.

91210user
91210user

@mikz_nyc agreed... notice how LA Noire and GTA5 are still running the show. Proof that console games are still making consoles worth while. This is Eidos anyways.

hystavito
hystavito

@mikz_nyc  They don't have to compete on power, all they have to do is suck enough resources/money away to hurt it.  All these people tapping away on their phones and tablets don't care about anything you just mentioned :).  Short gameplay?  They love that, it's one of the the most appealing features of mobile games :).

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@BeefoTheBold

It just so happen that he thought Square Enix lacked vision, leadership and courage toward new projects like Thief. Anyone can be judge of the result.

deathstream
deathstream

@BeefoTheBold  


Mattrick left for a truckload of money and the chance to turn around a dying company, opening the doors to pretty much any job he wants, or get rich and not get blamed when the sinking company goes under.


Some people just get tired of the corporate grind.

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

@Xx_DemonSoul_xX You forgot "on the way out." Otherwise he might still be in the building, hitting his ass on doors. 

Poison-tooth
Poison-tooth

@RC-Sev  He is a manager. He will be working as their chief financial officer. His only concerns are probably efficiency and financial results. In short, he will find new and innovative ways to milk the mobile gaming market. If you want better games for mobiles you need better creators.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@mr_nee

Those jobs are highly subsidized by the government. Doesn't cost much keeping the employees since over 50% of their salaries are paid by the state (which could use public money on better things, btw). It's just poor management and the obsession with profits in the short term.

What chances any of those have of wanting to return there, or anyone else for that matter?

19James89
19James89

@mr_nee That sounds highly unsustainable and would go a little way to explaining the dreadful standards of a lot of AAA games nowadays.

GOGOHeadray
GOGOHeadray

@mr_nee I think you make a great point and one that more gamers need to realize. WE can sit here are talk about the need to stuff 3 GTX 1,000's in our systems or having specs that are supercomputer esque ( basically things that PC fanboys brag on). But with that comes a huge cost; Every time we advance a gen sure games get better but the cost of making said games also rise Its one of the reasons why the 5 years console cycle is at a end and for one I am glad.

user_pt
user_pt

@mr_nee There is still enough demand to keep at least some devs interested in making real games, so I don't think we need to worry for now.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@kitmeep

And the millions of zombies walking on the streets with a smartphone glued in one hand.

qtmew
qtmew

@kitmeep  Heeeeeeheeeeeee!! You genuinely made me laugh!

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@Saidrex

Most of those morons have jobs and cant spend their days playing fancy games.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@user_pt well Thief isn't selling that well despite the demand

Hop103
Hop103

@qtmew @Hop103It's killing both but I use the Eastern gaming industry as a point to stop this.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@user_pt and that is my point. It's not a demand that puts the investment under a risk, but difficulty of meeting a AAA game expectations.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@qtmew @Hop103  the only way to reboot is to kill it and wait till it raises from the ashes like a phoenix from the flames

qtmew
qtmew

@Hop103 @qtmew  This industry needs to be rebooted, cleansed, stripped, and sanitized.

Hop103
Hop103

@qtmew @Hop103I hate on disc DLC and absurd amounts of microtransactions, those plague both sides of the planet and buggy and incomplete games is still more common with the Western gaming industry.  Also, glorified demos that cost $40.

qtmew
qtmew

@Hop103  I agree. Not only this though. Locked-DLC and Microtransactions. Buggy and in-complete games.