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Why Thief developer Stephane D'astous was tired of building Ferraris

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Former Thief and Deus Ex: Human Revolution developer Stephane D'astous now explains why he left Eidos Montreal to pursue a career outside of AAA games.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, D'Astous says he initially left the company to "take some really unplugged time." D'Astous left the developer earlier this year and is currently employed at mobile games developer Hibernum.

"People think there was some bad blood [but] it was really blown out of proportion... it is all good, it is business, and we are all colleagues at the end of the day. It is a small industry... Since late summer, I took some time off because I never had the occasion to take some really unplugged time."

According to the developer, the AAA size of Eidos meant the studio could not take risks by looking at growing trends like mobile.

"In the last 14 years in the gaming industry I like to consider myself working in a Ferrari garage," he went on. "We were doing Ferraris, very proud of the high quality product, and you get embedded in that type of thinking. Once you are not exactly in that position you have the freedom to look at what is happening more than what you are doing.

"There are a lot of trends, and everybody knows the video game industry is like no other. There are fast paced trends and mega trends. I was trying to look at the mega trends and obviously mobile is having great traction..."
"Sometimes you do not have the choice, you need to do it. That is why when I said to myself, ‘Where do I see myself in five years? I want to be in a place where there are more possibilities, more growth in all senses, in creativity and innovation and business, and... I would rather be in mobile now and see myself [happy] in five years than be in console and wish that I would [have been in mobile].

"I have a better chance to be happy in a healthy industry sub-sector in five years if I choose mobile."

Montreal-based contract and casual house Hibernum Creations hired the former Ubisoft and Eidos exec as chief operating officer this year.

In the last ten years, D'Astous worked as director of operations at Ubisoft Montreal and general manager of Eidos Montreal, where he helped steer the likes of Deus Ex Human Revolution and the new Thief. Following his departure from Eidos last year, he was highly critical of the company's performance. "The lack of leadership, lack of courage and the lack of communication were so evident, that I wasn't able to conduct my job correctly," he said at the time. "I realized that our differences were irreconcilable, and that the best decision was unfortunately to part ways."

Hibernum is best known for working on mobile projects such as Calling All Mixels for Cartoon Network, Jewel Quest for iWin and Pearl's Peril for Wooga.