Le Royaume d’Istyald (The Kingdom of Istyald) by Florent Maurin and Anato Finnstark
Launched in January 2020, Le Royaume d’Istyald is the first video game developed and edited by the National Library of France. The game immerses us in a fantastic world populated by mysterious creatures. A gateway into the cultural and literary world of fantasy.
A game designer and illustrator
Le Royaume d’Istyald was developed by the National Library of France in collaboration with game designer Florent Maurin and illustrator Anato Finnstark. Florent Maurin is a graduate of the Lille Higher School of Journalism. After 10 years as Bayard's youth editor and editorial manager, he founded The Pixel Hunt, a video game studio specialising in reality games. Notably, he produced the interactive story Enterre-moi mon amour (Bury Me, My Love).
Anato Finnstark is a self-taught illustrator and concept artist specialising in the world of fantasy. He has worked for 3D animation studio Unit Image and US games publisher Wizard of the Coast.
Saving the Tree of Knowledge
Running for 40 minutes, Le Royaume d’Istyald is a narrative and immersive adventure video game. The player meets a mysterious witch at the start of the game who accompanies them throughout the adventure and guides them in this fantasy world.
In this non-linear adventure game, the player must solve a number of puzzles, collect objects and meet mysterious creatures to help the Kingdom of Istyald save the Tree of Knowledge, the source of all knowledge and wisdom and the guarantor of the balance of this world.
« How does fantasy express current tensions and social movements ? » : Le Royaume d’Istyald is the culmination of discussions conducted from February 2019 between Yannis Koikas, Head of Multimedia Publishing at the National Library of France, Florent Maurin, Anato Finnstark and Anne Besson, Lecturerin General and Comparative Literature at the University of Artois.
Their ambition ? To offer an accessible video game that lets you discover the codes of fantasy, compelling you to continue exploring it through the Fantasy retour aux sources (Fantasy, Return to Sources) site.
The game is accompanied by themed dossiers and educational pathways aimed at the simply curious as well as teaching staff.
Popular in the Anglo-Saxon world
An introduction to fantasy, Le Royaume d’Istyald includes the main figures of the genre, dwarves, elves and magicians, popularised worldwide through Tolkien's works as well as the World of Warcraft video game, which Anato Finnstartk's illustrations echo. The game is also inspired by visual novels where exploration is more important than solving puzzles,as well as by current walking simulators such as Gone Home and Firewatch.
The game also adopts the main codes of Tolkien’s work through three major social themes : representation of the status of women, the relationship with ecology and religion.
Acclaimed by the French public, the video game and the site have found popularity in the Anglo-Saxon world and are both the subject of an English translation that is expected to be published in summer 2020.
Le Royaume d’Istyald (The Kingdom of Istyald) by Florent Maurin and Anato Finnstark, will be presented on the Institut français platform dedicated to independent video games culturegamer.fr, available at the beginning of 2020.