Hi everyone, I’m Cédric Babouche, the art director behind Dordogne, a heartfelt narrative adventure in watercolors! French studio Un Je Ne Sais Quoi, part of animation group Umanimation, have been working on this indie creation for the past few years, and it will finally be released June 13! You’ll play as Mimi, a 32-year-old in search of her childhood memories back where she used to spend her summers as a child. And that place is the bucolic region of Dordogne, in the southwest of France.
When we started the project, our starting point was to create a family story. The southwest region, where I spent many a Summer holiday as a child, came up a lot in our initial drafts and sketches so it emerged as a natural choice for the setting of our story. This link to my roots allows us to tell a truly heartfelt story in a way that perfectly matches the family theme.
As the rest of the team did not share that history and familiarity with the region, we traveled there together for everyone to get a feel of it. We visited the famous sites that make up a lot of Dordogne’s identity, but we also spent time away from the obvious spots to get a distance from traditional postcard material and get closer to the experience of daily life there: meeting people in the market, feeling the presence of the river.
As a result, you will get to visit some real-world locations, such as Sarlat, La Roque-Gageac, Castelnau-la-Chapelle, and, of course, the Dordogne River. These weren’t locations that we initially planned to include – the story came first and the real-world locations that you get to visit were picked based on our story’s needs. So, we would first think: ‘Let’s go to the market,’ and then, ‘Let’s make it Sarlat’s market, because it’s so iconic.’ Similarly, we would add a sequence on a kayak, and then decided to go by La-Roque-Gageac, because the magical experience of discovering its sight from the River is so emblematic.
So, Dordogne does provide you with that sense of visiting the region and the sites that shape its identity. At the same time, it feels like a peaceful stay, taking in the quiet atmosphere of its nature and villages. The hand-painted watercolor rendition of that idyllic environment helps convey that sense of quietness. We drew thumbnail sketches facing the actual sceneries to catch a spontaneous feel of the places and give them that enchanting presence. The sound and music will also truly immerse you, with recordings of natural sounds as well as a beautiful ambient score from French band Supernaive. Dordogne has that warm and melancholic Ghibli vibe, but musically, it completely stands out from the orchestral score you might expect.
Dordogne will be released on June 13 for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. It’s a perfect moment to take a trip to Dordogne with Mimi. We hope you’re ready to spend a wholesome moment in the south of France!
• Embark on a unique and heartwarming narrative experience
• Awaken your senses as you explore childhood memories
• Collect photos, sounds and scents to create your journal, unique to your adventure