During Laurent Lavigne’s lecture at Casual Connect Eastern Europe 2014, he explained, “We never stopped working on the gameplay until two weeks before the launch!”
Laurent Lavigne started his career working on Hollywood blockbusters including Mission Impossible 3, The Matrix movies, and Transformers. After 15 years in Hollywood, in June 2008, he founded Elefantopia, a startup which makes conscious games. Laurent is currently launching a new game entitled Amazing Forest, which he announced at Casual Connect Eastern Europe 2014.
The game Elefantopia began as a sort of Farmville meets Sim City game. At the time of Elefantopia‘s birth, he was addicted to Farmville without knowing why. In order to understand, he decided to make his own game. This new game was centered on the balance of nature and played on spiritual energies. Elefantopia‘s name sprang from Laurent’s fascination with Ganesha. He later used the name for his company. Laurent performs the initial pass on all task and then hires outside contractors to redo what didn’t work or would have taken too long for him to do himself. He admits that it’s not exactly efficient, but it is what has worked for him thus far.
Career Path and Passions
Laurent first got involved in the game industry with the development of McDROID. Prior to that, he was making McDROID alphas and prototypes in a sort of vacuum. When he needed to make money, he launched Desura, later traveling to the US to do a booth at PAX EAST in Boston, Massachusetts. This was a very gratifying experience for Laurent. Still, he doesn’t claim to be a part of the game industry, except when he participates in jams or when he experiments. He still has some games in his head that would make people happy. Yet he would prefer to do things directly with his hands to make things and to help people. Some examples he mentioned were efforts towards planting trees, de-polluting water, and providing water to those that do not have access to it.
Describing himself as mercurial, Laurent enjoys swimming, Yoga, meditating, drawing, travel, and driving fast in Beirut. Because he used to waste far too much time on iOS games, he has given up playing games entirely. He even prefers Windows Phone because it has “a superbly crafted, elegant OS which is very, very fast, and doesn’t have tons of games to distract me”. He does own an iPad 2 though.
For Laurent, the best moments in his career is when he drops his ego, which leaves space for “the elegance of silence and simplicity can set in.” His past work with big movies and seeing constant script changes taking place prepared him to be able to detach himself from his creation without feeling heartbroken. In short, change is inevitable and is part of the creative process. His process helps him to see the big picture and be able to work relatively fast.
According to Laurent, the next big thing is the elevation of human consciousness. The reason for this are:
- If it doesn’t happen, we’re screwed
- Gaming has already reached rock bottom, so the only way is up
- The technology is ready
Emily Baker is the Production Supervisor for www.gamesauce.biz. Emily loves learning about cultures, taking care of her hobby farm and spending time with her two kiddos.