Focus Entertainment is a French publisher that has been a part of the gaming industry for over 20 years. Some of the popular titles it helped launch have been met with success and critical acclaim, and some others proved to not be for everyone, like Cyanide Studio’s Call of Cthulhu, Mundfish’s Atomic Heart, and Cold Iron Studios’ Aliens: Fireteam Elite.
With the dozens of games it holds in its publishing catalog, Focus Entertainment has a lot of hidden gems and clear knockout winners. These titles have earned many awards from all kinds of industry organizations and have overall excellent ratings from critics.
10 The Council
The Council was published by Focus Entertainment in 2018 and brought a twist to the episodic narrative genre of video games. It takes place in 1793 Paris, a time of Revolution. The story plays out in five episodes and follows Louis de Richet, who goes to a mysterious private island at the behest of a prestigious lord to search for the truth about his missing mother.
The developer Big Bad Wolf made a bold decision with the choice-based gameplay by incorporating RPG-style mechanics of skills and classes when navigating conversations, such as Diplomat, Occultist, or Detective. It’s a captivating occult tale about a body known as the Golden Order, and on this Council are also historical figures like George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte.
Focus Entertainment doubled down in 2018 on games with historical settings, and released Vampyr from the French studio Don’t Nod, best known for the episodic Life is Strange series. Set in post-WWI London during the Flu Pandemic, Dr. Jonathan Reid is a newly turned vampire that grapples morally with killing and treating those in need.
Vampyr was something entirely brand-new from this studio, crafting an almost Soulslike RPG while still allowing room for choice-based dialogue and story decisions that matter. Combined with a dark Gothic atmosphere complementing the gameplay and the vampiric skills reliant on blood in your arsenal against enemies, it’s a vampire game that’s equal parts fun and horror.
This 2019 RPG by Spiders is centered around a fantasy take on Colonial Europe and the island of Teer Fradee, in which colonists are overcome with magic and angst to cure a devastating plague. You’re a neutral character observing the island’s political landscape, where your choices may alter the trajectory of the narrative.
Playing as the noble De Sardet, you’ll encounter stunning and original fantasy beasts, meddle with an intricate magic system, and travel in a party with potential romance companions. GreedFall’s fantasy world-building is one of its best aspects, with many familiar roleplaying conventions from Obsidian and BioWare games.
7 Insurgency: Sandstorm
Insurgency: Sandstorm is from the same studio behind the original 2014 game, and this one is a much different release for Focus Entertainment. Sandstorm is a co-op tactical first-person shooter based strictly on multiplayer modes across a variety of maps, in a fictionalized Middle East that emphasizes close-quarters combat and aims for realistic military gameplay.
It’s a military simulator with Battlefield, Call of Duty, and Rainbow Six Siege influences. Eliminating many of the HUD elements you’d typically see enhances the immersion this game is going for, and the audio design even won Insurgency: Sandstorm some awards. This sequel shooter goes above and beyond the original scope, with plenty of added features.
From a tactical military shooter to a tactical turn-based RPG called Othercide, Focus Entertainment certainly offers something for everyone. Othercide is a debut Indie with a visually unique art direction and design that feels somewhat like Transistor, Moonscars, and Bloodborne, all thrown together on a turn-based canvas.
Othercide’s story contains bleak supernatural elements, as you lead a team of female warrior sisters called the Daughters into a fight with agents of death and decay called the Suffering. Combat is performed in a grim grayscale environment and has a unique timeline system at the bottom of the screen, allowing you to manipulate the order of your fighters as a reinvented turn-based mechanic.
Coming from a Polish developer called The Parasight, Blacktail decides to tell the story of the Slavic mythological figure Baba Yaga from a unique perspective. This character is usually portrayed as a hideous monster in various media, but here you play a younger Baba Yaga and traverse vibrant mythological landscapes to eliminate other monstrous creatures.
Blacktail is a debut narrative-based FPS and crafting game where you’re armed with a bow and arrow and magical abilities. An engaging way it plays on the complicated story of Baba Yaga is through its morality system, where you can shape whether your Yaga takes on a good or bad nature in her witchcraft.
4 Shady Part Of Me
An interesting part about this Indie gem, Shady Part of Me, is that it became available soon after its announcement at the Game Awards in 2020. The studio Douze Dixièmes, now a part of Focus Entertainment, brilliantly executed a hand-drawn watercolor and pencil shading art style aesthetic with a character and world layout reminiscent of Little Nightmares.
The gameplay involves puzzles with shadows and lighting that shift around 2D and 3D perspectives and features environmental storytelling and narration similar to What Remains of Edith Finch. The narrator voice of the protagonist is also actor Hannah Murray, who you may recognize as Gilly from Game of Thrones.
3 Curse Of The Dead Gods
Passtech Games launched four titles with Focus Entertainment, and has transitioned to a more isometric gameplay style with strategy and roguelike elements. It fully mastered this design choice in 2021’s Curse of the Dead Gods, which often gets compared to Hades for its identical combat and premise.
However, Curse of the Dead Gods features plenty of original deity boss designs through its own mythology, which you encounter in a procedurally generated labyrinth environment brimming with dangerous traps. You’ll also earn new weapons as you progress and have a corruption meter to monitor, as it can potentially hinder all your progress with a curse when filled.
2 A Plague Tale: Innocence And A Plague Tale: Requiem
A Plague Tale: Innocence and its sequel, Requiem, are both award-nominated survival horror adventures centered around the stories of a young brother and sister. This developer, Asobo Studio, worked mainly on non-horror projects like Microsoft Flight Simulator and notable Disney Pixar games, so it’s quite an impressive achievement.
Equipped with only a sling and taking place during Europe’s Hundred Years’ War, Amicia and Hugo de Rune must navigate puzzles involving giant hordes of rats that will devour all those in their way and evade soldiers that wish to capture Hugo.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is a phenomenal sequel that expands on the concepts in the first game and delivers even more stunning visuals and an overall more worthwhile gameplay experience with new characters and weapon mechanics.
1 Chained Echoes
Made by a sole game designer from Germany, Matthias Linda, Chained Echoes is a work of passion for classic SNES 16-bit JRPG art and turn-based strategy that garnered a solid 91 Metacritic Score. The story of bringing peace to a warring fantasy continent, known as Valandis here, may sound familiar, but the compelling characters, a customizable airship, and an evil church offer a unique adventure.
You and your party travel through the gorgeous scenery of the kingdoms of Valandis. On top of the fantasy creature elements, there’s yet also a steampunk aesthetic that makes its way into the combat system. You can acquire mechanical suits to engage enemies in the air, and they allow you to fly.
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