Eric Viennot died of cancer on Wednesday, July 27, in Marseille, his family said in a press release sent to relatives and later broadcast on Linkedin on Friday. He was 62 years old.
Born on March 10, 1960 in Lyon, Eric Viennot was one of the most recognized French video game creators in the profession. He was thus the author of a protean work, both educational games for children and less personal products for the general public, but also very experimental titles whose originality has been praised periodically. to the point of selling “more than 8 million” copies according to his website and to be made, in 2007, Caballero de las Artes y las Letras.
Initially a professor of visual arts at the Sorbonne, in 1990 he co-founded the Lexis Numérique studio, specializing first in computer-generated imagery, then in video game development. Between 1998 and 2004 he produced the series The Adventures of Uncle Ernest. In these games influenced by Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne, young gamers were offered the chance to flip through virtual logbooks, written and illustrated by a jocular guy, who imagines himself going on adventures in the four corners of the world and even in space. .
The obsession with “transmedia” video games
Since the publication of the first episode in 1998, The world count with one “an adventure that mixes action and reflection” a “amazing universe”, “halfway between the past and the future”in which you have to finish an unfinished photo album “using insects, as well as various tools and objects, such as the camera or the metal detector”. Intended for a young audience, The Adventures of Uncle Ernest already have fun mixing video games, notebooks and small movies, which mark the adventure.
This obsession with what he called video games “transmedia”Eric Viennot will turn it into the engine of what is perhaps his most famous work, the series In Memorywhose first episode premiered in 2003. On this occasion, it narrates a very adult adventure, in the key of a thriller, trying to blur the border between the media, but also between fiction and reality.
In fact, the protagonists of this investigation told on video do not hesitate to contact the player by email and SMS, even to leave messages (prerecorded) on the answering machine of his mobile phone. Other clues are also hidden on fake websites created for the occasion, and even on the site of Releasewhich, as a partner of the event, published four “fake” articles that take place in the game’s fiction for the occasion.
The search for “total fiction”
In 2012, Eric Viennot and the Lexis Numérique studio will promote the promise ofIn Memory with his spiritual successor, alternative minds. Players no longer have to leave the game to look for clues on the Internet (or, this time, in the World, companion of this new title): they will have to work together to get them outside, in real life, going, for example, to the dressing room of a train station in Belgrade, or even physically meeting certain characters. The adventure also takes place in real time, over a period of eight weeks: every night, the players are invited to discuss together to take stock of their investigation and their conclusions.
As noted at the time The worldthe goal is then “attempt convergence between videogames, Internet network, mobile telephony and cinema to finally reach the Holy Grail [d’Eric Viennot]what he calls “total fiction”.
If the judicial liquidation of Lexis Numérique was pronounced in 2017, Eric Viennot has never stopped working on the issue of transmedia storytelling. In January 2021, he promised to publish, in the form of a newsletter, a serialized investigation.
At the rate of two episodes per week, Eric Viennot tells how he tried “distinguish between fact and fiction” after reading a story, presented as true, in the book The Atlas of the Abandoned Islands (published by Arthaud in 2010). The author, the German Judith Schalansky, tells the story of Marc Liblin, a Frenchman who dreams from his earliest childhood in “a language that is totally unknown to him”and who discovers at 33 that it is an old Polynesian idiom.
Stopped in July 2021, the bulletin would live a second season in 2022, which will not see the light. However, in June 2022, Eric Viennot explained on Twitter to bring the “finishing touches” to a book dedicated to the subject, evoking a future film in the process.
Final touches to the book The man who dreamed in an unknown language. Upcoming movie info. (Stay tuned… https://t.co/vmFToxV4uq
Eric Viennot on some dates
March 10, 1960 Birth in Lyons
1990 Co-founded the Lexis Numérique studio
1998-2004 understood the Adventures Of Uncle Ernest, series of five puzzle-adventure video games
2003 First episode of the series In Memory
2007 Knight of Arts and Letters
July 27, 2022 Death in Marseille
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