Activision Blizzard veterans form new publisher and developer New Tales

Co-founder and CEO Cédric Maréchal talks to GameDaily about the company's values and how it plans to approach today's market.

Last week, a handful of industry veterans pulled back the curtain on New Tales, a new publisher and developer headquartered in Paris, France. The studio is led by CEO Cédric Maréchal, who boasts nearly 30 years of experience across Vivendi Games, Sega, Cryo, and, most notably, Activision Blizzard, where he served as international senior vice president.

Maréchal is joined by other Activision Blizzard alumni, including another former international vice president in Benoit Dufour, who will serve as New Tales’ COO. Meanwhile, former senior director EMEA at Blizzard Delphne Le Corre will take on the chief growth officer role, and Emmanuel Obert, former Blizzard EMEA director is New Tales’ chief content officer. Filling out the roster are Kim Gresko, Ray Gresko, and Julia Humphreys.

“At New Tales, we have formed a very experienced team (22 years in the industry on average for each team member), and we think we can bring values to developers to maximize success, certainly on helping polishing content, but more importantly on the publishing side,” Maréchal told GameDaily. “We understand game DNA and have a deep international knowledge that allows us to deploy the optimum publishing strategies”

Cedric Marechal, CEO, New Tales
Cedric Marechal, CEO, New Tales

New Tales is driven by four core values: hearts of gamers; always on the move; we are one; and gaming for good. Maréchal explained that these values came about as the team discussed its experiences in the games industry. They represent a distillation of the collective expertise of New Tales, and will drive how the company will conduct its business.

“We have worked within 16 different gaming companies and experienced many different company cultures,” Maréchal said. “We think [the values] will simply be kind of everywhere. It certainly starts with each of us, really owning them and deciding/acting in total coherence with those.”

New Tales is made up of many industry veterans, but opening a new studio is always fraught with hurdles to overcome. Maréchal said that chief among these is actually getting started.

“There are tons of things to do with a clear focus on creating movement,” he noted. “What we mean by that is that it’s kind of a snowball effect that you need to create yourself. At the beginning, you have motivation, a vision, an idea, a project, whatever, and it starts fundamentally by forming the right team. Then comes the energy of these people to create and pursue opportunities, knowing that not all of them will necessarily go through. It’s kind of a roller coaster and you have to be resilient.”

Of course, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presents its own host of problems, but Maréchal said that New Tales has been able to leverage its collective network within the global games industry. And while it hasn’t been an ideal situation, connecting with colleagues via video calls has been a workable substitute to in-person collaboration.

Many upstart studios tend to seek outside investment upon founding, and while New Tales has not yet done so, Maréchal said that it plans to at some point in the future.

“Gaming is definitely a very competitive industry and requires investments, especially when you are ambitious, either in terms of content creation or publishing opportunities,” he said. So long story short, we are indeed planning to seek funding at some stage, associating ourselves with partners that understand what we are willing to achieve, share the same values and could bring us additional opportunities or support.”

Overall, Maréchal is optimistic that New Tales can cut out a space for itself in the highly-competitive games industry by leveraging the team’s collective experience and the medium’s popularity.

“Our ambition is simply to work on great games that we would love to play. There is tons of creativity and innovation at the moment in our industry, especially among indie studios, and this is super exciting.”

The growth of the industry over the last several years has been substantial, however, resulting in a deluge of new titles into an already-exploding market. This discoverability problem is a concept Maréchal is well aware of.

“The frequency of new game releases is increasing much faster than the market growth trend, which means that, sadly, a growing percentage of games will struggle, and on several occasions, great games do not have the success level they would naturally deserve.”

Maréchal is hoping that his team’s knowhow is enough to navigate such a chaotic market, but he also acknowledges the challenge involved. The hope is to provide a smooth and lucrative opportunity for prospective developers who sign with New Tales.

“When we partner with developers, we start from their needs, [and] we fully adapt our support in a fair manner,” he explained. “Driven by the same willingness to succeed, we work as one single team with developers, sharing common values and passion. You can take the image of a rugby pack, all pushing towards the same direction, as one united entity.”

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Editor-in-Chief

Sam, the Editor-in-Chief of GameDaily.biz, is a former freelance game reporter. He's been seen at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, Unwinnable, and many more. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at  sdesatoff@rektglobal.com or follow him on Twitter.