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The French development studio Kalisto and its 2 canceled projects "Totem" and "ALPHA", 2 games planned on Dreamcast.

Kalisto's story

It began in 1996. Baptized Kalisto after the star of the Big Dipper in Greek mythology, the Bordeaux design studio designs and produces video games.

The company  focuses  on development and has its games published by major publishers : Ultimate Race Pro and Dark Earth at Microprose, Nightmare Creatures directly by Sony and the film adaptation of The Fifth Element, co-produced by Gaumont, also at Sony. The Dark Earth 2 project is launched in partnership with SquareSoft.

On Dreamcast, the French Team released 4 Wheel Thunder, in collaboration with Midway, during the summer of 2000.

Kalisto garners success : Nightmare Creatures joins the very closed circle of games that have sold more than a million copies as well as Ultimate Race Pro before it.

Christian Huaux «On Nightmare Creature Nintendo 64, the music was faster than the PS1 version, a bug was introduced there.»

To continue developing "commission titles", Kalisto opened a studio in Paris and another in Austin, Texas. These studios give birth to Jimmy Neutron and SpongeBob for Playstation 2 and Gamecube. At the same time, the company is investing in online games, which it believes represents a promising market.

The company grew and  had more than 100 employees at the end of 1997, 200 in August 1999.

«Once Kalisto sent 100 people to an E3. They all had t-shirts on which it was written "Kalisto recruits". We have memories of all the games, at the time the atmosphere was even crazier than it is today. It was a playground but with a start of seriousness.»

The delay in the schedule for the release of new generation consoles, the defection of a major client for interactive games on the Net and perhaps too optimistic management precipitated the fall of the young company then listed on the stock exchange.

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In front, David Gallardo, behind on the right, Alain Guyet and on the left Frédéric Motte. Photo taken at the end of the porting of NC1 to N64.

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The house of cards fell down definitively in the spring of 2002. Kalisto filed for bankruptcy and was placed in compulsory liquidation. Nicolas Gaume, the company's founder, will never be able to restart the machine and save Kalisto.

Vintage photo of Kalisto members

Castleween on PS2 is, in a way, the last game to be released by the Bordeaux firm.

«In Castleween PAL PS2 and GC version, if you let the game run in idle (inactive) for 3 days, your character may have moved and be dead, because it was pushed, slowly, by a very rare collision. You could also jump 1 m less because of the slowdown  during the jump because of the collision with rain and snow.»

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As we can see, the passage of the year 2000 was catastrophic for a large number of development studios, for a console manufacturer (SEGA) and for publishers such as Acclaim or Infograme.

ALPHA, an abandoned project  for PC and Dreamcast

Hélène Giraud (quote in italics from the chapter), today director and art director on films or series such as "Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants 1 and 2", had worked for Kalisto at the end of the nineties. First Lead Artist on the Playstation 1/PC game "The Fifth Element", she had joined the "ALPHA" project afterwards, on which she worked for about a year before she left.

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«When I arrived at Kalisto, at the beginning, on the Fifth Element game as an artistic consultant, I appreciated the close-knit atmosphere of the teams. The company was still small and I really liked its boss, Nicolas Gaume

After going on the stock market, Kalisto developed as many games as possible to satisfy the investors. The company went from 60 people to 200 in the space of a year! What worked in a very "family" context did not hold with such rapid developments. Legal lawsuits have now sounded the death knell for the large French company.

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«It's a pity because it was a great company with a good spirit.»

Alpha was started and restarted several times. The developers had