Couldn’t find a better title T_T

16 years have passed since I founded CCCP with my mates Christophe & Frédéric. Gosh. Our little toddler has grown into a full fledged teenager, full of energy (which he vampirizes directly from ours…) but still young and naive. Or maybe for companies we count in dog years? Hmm…

Focus Matt, you’re losing the purpose of this little introductory chat, which was meant to be short.

So yeah, 16 years… 16 years of struggle, of pain, of doubts… but also 16 years of laughters, of friendships, of beautiful projects and beautiful people met along the way.

After all this time, I only now understand what drove us all these years through the hardships. It’s the people. From the beginning, without it being said consciously, we wanted to created our little cozy space where we could meet nice people and work with them. We didn’t want to be the most successful company. We wanted to create the place where we would love coming to work every day for the next 20, 30 years or so.

Along the way, we may have lost ourselves. We wanted to be “like all the others” at some point. I personnally lost completely the will to come to work, I was feeling unaccepted in my own company. And that was a situation I entirely put myself in! I heard about the loneliness of CEOs, but that was not “just” that. I lost my way, I lost my focus.

That’s around that time that I wrote the concept of Dead In Bermuda. I was clearly depressed, and it MAY show a little in the game, I reckon >_< But it was the start of a new spark.

Dead In Bermuda & Dead In Vinland. Games about managing a group of people… How strange.

It was a small project for the company – I didn’t want to jeopardize the jobs of a dozen people just on a whim – but for me it was my final fantasy, it had to be the beginning of something, or it would have been the end of the journey for me.

I recall the utter terror before pressing the fateful “release” button on Steam, my mind was completely blank, I never had so little certitudes about if the game was “fun” or even “working” as a mean of entertainment in my life.

I recall the joy of seeing the first reviews and messages from players on Steam. Real players, not our close friends, real people that we didn’t knew and were – omg – enjoying their time @_@ The surge of adrenaline at that time, the afflux of energy you get is… you can’t put words on it. It was not a hit, we didn’t have millions of players but we didn’t care, the game had flaws but it was just that: a game, like others, which gave pleasure to people, and sometimes even made them feel for the characters and story we created.

A sigh of relief, and the spark lit my fire again. We worked on patching the game, and soon after that we worked like crazies to make happen a second game, but now with some confidence, some certitudes. Not much, but enough to drive us farther, longer.

We expanded the team, we expanded the budget, we expanded at our own pace, carefully, but with confidence. Dead In Vinland was another big step for us, the realization of the little spark we ignited. I recall the launch party we had, and the smile on the faces of the new people who joined us on the team.

It was there. I found again why I was making all of this. It was to live these moments. It was to work on these games.

Creatively, I am doing everything that I ever wanted. But more than that, I do it with people that I like. Oh sure the work is hard, the games we make are insanely complex, the day-to-day challenges I have to overcome are exhausting, but… That’s what I want to do, for a billion years!

So to conclude this short introduction to Ishtar Games, it’s been 16 years but for me it’s just the start of the journey. We will soon be releasing our 3rd game, The Last Spell, and we are working on other new surprises… In 5 years, we went from 3 people working on a small ~100k€ budget indie game, on nearly 15 people working a ~1M€ budget game. It’s our pace, slow but steady. And I’m already SO excited about the next things we will be able to do… I fear that a lifetime won’t be enough for me to make all the games I want to make, but… I’ll do my best.



CEO / Creative Director