Far from having retired, Éric Viennot was still actively working on various projects, including “The man who dreamed in an unknown language“, a transmedia project combining a book and a film. The concept of transmedia will moreover have inhabited this author for a large part of his career. developed his passion for contemporary art, Éric Viennot left his job as a teacher at the same university to co-found the independent studio Lexis Numérique, of which he remained the creative director for 24 years.
And while the Alexandra Ledermann horse-riding franchise is undoubtedly one of the studio’s main commercial successes, Éric Viennot will be remembered above all for his narrative games, The Adventures of Uncle Ernest, In Memoriam and Alt-Minds. A series of adventure games aimed at children and translated into more than 15 languages, Les Aventures de l’Oncle Ernest allowed the studio to grow and grow from 5 to more than 50 employees in the early 2000s. With the thriller In Memoriam, supported by Ubisoft in 2003, Eric Viennot left young audiences aside and created the first alternate reality video game in Europe.
The player had to conduct the investigation through a multitude of websites created for the occasion or already existing. The concept is intriguing and met with some success (more than 250,000 copies sold in Europe) in addition to earning it the 2003 SACD prize for interactive creation. A sequel entitled In Memoriam: The Last Ritual will be released in 2006, a year before the native of Lyon was made Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. Last year, Éric Viennot even published the novel In Memoriam18 years after the release of the game, allowing those who did not have the opportunity to play it at the time, to discover its main plot and its universe.
After the In Memoriam series, Éric Viennot continues to explore the path of transmedia games, of which he will remain one of the pioneers. In partnership with Orange, he worked for several years on Alt-Minds, a paranormal thriller inspired by real events which will be released in 2012. Between TV series and game, this project invited the public to take part in a major interactive investigation for eight weeks, with extensions in real space. Long before Ingress and Pokémon GO, players had to use a location-based app to “capture” Glyphs, scattered all over the world. “Directing an interactive thriller, which is written in real time over eight weeks, is an ambition that commands admiration.“, wrote Yukishiro in his test at the time, without being convinced by the application. In bad shape economically, the Lexis Numérique studio was also forced to close its doors two years after the release of the game, in June 2014.