Every now and then, a title shows up on the video game market that has all the passion, drive, and talent of the “AAA gaming” scene, but without the budget, the bankroll, or the marketing machine of a Warner Bros. or an Activision in its corner. Despite this, some of these “mid-tier” releases go on to find critical and/or financial success. Titles such as Ninja Theory’s award-winning Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice are an obvious example.
Publisher Focus Home Interactive seems to be sold on the idea that you can release great, profitable games without bankrupting the stock market, ruining your workforce, relying on annual sequels, or launching with a two-year DLC plan. In the summer of 2018, Focus released Dontnod’s gothic adventure Vampyr, which managed to turn a profit shortly after one month, before going on to eventually shift well over a million copies.
Focus is now hoping for similar success with this latest unknown entity, A Plague Tale: Innocence. Developed by French outfit Asobo Studios, mainly known for video game adaptations of Disney movies, A Plague Tale is a somber story of courage, loss, and political oppression, set against one of history’s most horrifying periods. It’s also one of the best games I’ve played this year.