In the footsteps of “Dordogne”, bucolic and nostalgic French video game

“Here is the market square with a view of the church. Mimi buys rhubarb and tomato seeds there. In this corner, I added an alley where she goes to the hardware store. » We are in the streets of Sarlat, in the Dordogne. On this hot June morning, Cédric Babouche makes us discover the city to which he gave life in his first video game, Dordogne. Announced in April 2020, the work arrives on June 13 on PC, Switch, PlayStation and Xbox, after a rare media craze for a game produced by Un je ne sais quoi, a small Bordeaux studio created for the occasion. The player controls Mimi, a thirty-year-old who finds the house of her recently deceased grandmother, in which she spent her vacations during her childhood, which she has since forgotten. The narration alternates between the “present”, with an adult Mimi in 2002, and her childhood, twenty years earlier.

A past reminiscent of that of Cédric Babouche, a 47-year-old jack-of-all-trades artist who worked in comics and animated film. We pick him up at the station then leave the car to stroll through the streets where he talks about his link with this territory: “My great-grandmother lived in the Lot, very close to Sarlat, and I was there every vacation. I went a long time without going back. But when I left Paris for Bordeaux about six years ago, the first thing I did was go to the Dordogne. »

After trying professional misadventures, he rediscovers here the pleasure of drawing. He travels to Sarlat, La Roque-Gageac, or even Domme, where he paints watercolors of timeless streets, hilly landscapes or the Dordogne (the river, this time) winding through the trees.

Then came the idea of ​​a new professional challenge: making a video game. He already has a few ideas for his fledgling studio, including a time traveler story that evolves against a backdrop painted in watercolors. But the concept is too expensive, too strange: nobody wants to fund a studio that hasn’t released anything yet. He then turns to a story closer to him, that of a woman who will become Mimi. Obviously, the name of the game is that of the department. “It was a code name at first, but in the end, we kept it! Everyone knows the Dordogne, even abroad. Thanks to him, everyone remembers this bizarre game, which evokes the terroir to the French, and which is so difficult to pronounce for the Americans and the Japanese! »

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