Jehanne Rousseau, the video game revolution

Imagine that Louis XVI crushed the Revolution in blood before the attack on the Bastille thanks to an army of robots. He imagines Necker, La Fayette and even Marie Antoinette immediately turning away from a monstrous king and the queen’s personal automaton, Aegis, is sent to Paris to investigate and put an end to this madness. Imagine that this droid you control gradually defeats the steel giants that terrorize the capital, as well as protect and converse with Robespierre, Abbé Grégoire, Mirabeau, Marat, Bailly and Lavoisier … How would all this be possible if not in a video game , baptized Steelrisingwhich has just been released?

This alternate story is the work of the Spiders teams, led by Jehanne Rousseau, one of the rare women to head a development studio in France. “I was lucky enough to fall into it when I was very young. From the early 80s I had a ColecoVision (one of the first home consoles – Ed) and Game and Watch (portable games – Ed) at home. And he never stopped. “ At the origin of this passion, a crazy godfather of technologies for which the video game represented the future. “And it is true that it was my future”, she laughs. And not only her, since video games are today the most successful cultural medium.

“We have researched a lot”

After several experiences, Jehanne Rousseau founded her own studio with colleagues in 2008. “We survived match after match. Until we were bought by Nacon at the beginning of 2019, while maintaining management.” And that’s where the adventure comes Steelrising part. “France may be too inclined in terms of creation to copy the American and Japanese games. There, the gameplay is inspired by souls-like (games with precise mechanics that reward learning – ed) from Japan. But the universe is clean and we have documented a lot about the Revolution to give it substance. “ Leafing through it, the player comes across sheets of notebooks of complaints flying around a martyred Paris and sees the States General of 1789 in flashbacks. “You must know that Louis XVI was passionate about watchmaking, and that at the time the court was interested in automata, in the possibility of an unalterable mechanical life. The philosophers of the Enlightenment asked themselves: to what extent can man imitate nature and the divine? There was a fascination for Vaucanson’s works, such as he os automatic ducka dulcimer player purchased by Marie Antoinette and still visible at the Musée des Arts et Métiers “, develops Jehanne Rousseau. The revolutionary and counter-revolutionary automata of Steelrising so they don’t quite come out of nowhere, and some observations made by the characters come from authentic speeches.

“I rediscovered those of Robespierre. I had in mind the image of a bloodthirsty wolf. I realized that he had been a great source of inspiration, a justice-loving idealist who fought against slavery and the death penalty. The Revolution is much more complex than we sometimes think, fascinating and enriching “continues the stylist, very attached to the figure of Julien Raimond. “He was a black man who fought against slavery, then teamed up with Toussaint Louverture to liberate Haiti. It was important to me that the missions of Steelrising be linked to the Society of the Friends of the Blacks at a time when the Napoleonic people talk a lot … “ Featuring a twilight atmosphere and fierce combat, the game doesn’t forget to talk about the world. “What has always fascinated me in video games is escape and interactivity. This what I prefer is to form universes, characters, make them believable and let the player make choices. “ One of the first of the game will be this: Should Necker’s savings be entrusted to Robespierre or La Fayette? Without knowing what the consequences will be …

Promoter of the JV Scholarship

Aside from that, note that Jehanne Rousseau now lives in Venice, “a childhood dream”, but without the temptation to live cut off from the world. The proof is that you have launched the JV Scholarship. “Most video game schools are private and very expensive. However, it is very important that young people from modest backgrounds can be trained. For the sake of equality and because if those who make the games all come from the same background, the same sex, the same origin, creation will inevitably suffer. “ Hence Jehanne Rousseau’s desire to open doors. To all, in an environment “Very manly, relatively misogynist, bordering on the boys’ club. Even if things are changing, we must continue to mobilize, and not give in: women have their place in this environment, they have everything to contribute and to change. We need them! “.

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