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Hidden conflicts at Ankama, the video game nugget

The Ankama studios, created by Anthony Roux, in Roubaix, in December 2019. It is a former textile factory (the Vanoutryve factory). LUCIE PASTUREAU FOR “THE WORLD”

She's called “The nugget of video games from the north”. Ankama is one of the stars of “Silicon Valley of Flanders”, the digital nursery of Roubaix (North).

This symbol of the – partial – reconversion of a territory employs 234 full-time equivalents (FTEs), was visited by Emmanuel Macron in November 2017 and claims 700,000 unique players monthly for Dofus, his online video game created in 2007, played to Brazil.

The animated series Wakfu, co-funded by France 3, is distributed in more than a hundred countries and Radiant, a comic book for teenagers, is one of the first French manga to have established itself in Japan. “This year I think we're going to make 28 million to 30 million [d’euros] of profits, our best year “, welcomes Anthony Roux, alias Tot (for Toto, short for Anthony), his boss, co-founder and artistic director of Ankama.

Public Accountability

But behind the long brick walls of Boulevard d'Armentieres, the reality is more complex. In October 2019, tensions between Anthony Roux and the teams of Dofus, explode in broad daylight.

On the occasion of the announcement of the passage of Dofus in 3D, the leader publicly mentions on his blog “Years of internal struggles”, “Ambushes, alliances, betrayals, scams” and is pleased to have returned to lead the project. It scratches the teams of game design of Dofus, which he believes have staked the game “In shit”.

These words do not pass. Shocked, several former employees intervene on Twitter to denounce a note “Inadmissible”, consisting, according to them, of “Spitting on employees in public”, while they would silence their frustrations. People who “Hate” or who “Are malicious”, replies Anthony Roux.

Several developers believe they have given a lot to maintain “the cash cow”, “Dofus”

Contacted by The world, around twenty people – current or former employees – provide testimonies of the same content. Several developers believe they have given a lot to maintain “The cash cow” – Dofus accounts for between 60% and 70% of Ankama’s sales – which one says “Finance delusions” by Anthony Roux, costly animation projects, which have sometimes had a resounding commercial failure, such as the film Dofus.

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