Méliès is Gone – Before & After

Remember the first two concept prototypes from Méliès is Gone?

They were built using premade 3D assets in Unreal Engine. Since then, we have worked hard, as we aim to create a full 2D experience with this game!

And now, as time has passed we can see our efforts coming to fruition!

Here’s how Méliès is Gone looked just one month ago, when the project was playtested:

Méliès is Gone - Playtest version

Here’s how it looked like just two weeks ago, after

Méliès is Gone - Before VFXs

And here is how it looks today, after Jean-Rémi added many more details, and Maxime added visual effects to the game!

We’re getting really close to completing a first “vertical slice” prototype for Méliès is Gone! Stay tuned for more!

The Original Pitch

As we start developing Méliès is Gone, it is important for us to document the creative process of this game. Hereafter you’ll find how it all began: Thibault original pitch for Méliès is Gone!

1895 : Two brothers from Lyon, France, The Lumiere brothers, invent the cinematograph. This wonderful, innovative tool allows, within the same machine, to both record and project moments of reality. They just launched a technological revolution ; they have just ushered animated images into a new era.

1902: Georges Méliès releases one of the most innovative films of his time:  A Trip To The Moon. This engineer and illusionist sees in the cinematograph the possibility of transfiguring his magical art into a new art, fully anchored in the emerging 20th century. On his family’s domain in the town of Montreuil, he builds the world’s very first movie studios. There, over the course of a few years, he shot hundreds of scenes rivaling ingenuity and poetry. He has just brought to life an artistic revolution; he has just invented cinema.

1929: In a few decades, cinema has become an industry. Hollywood has made it a popular art, bringing together millions of people around the world. Yet, its inventor is forgotten by all. Worse: Méliès has disappeared… Méliès is Gone!


Méliès is Gone is a detective game in which you play as a private detective hired by George Méliès’ daughter to investigate her father’s disappearance. You go to the Méliès family property, and learn that the filmmaker was last seen in the studios. He was working on a final movie, a movie that was to reveal to the world a secret that only he knew about cinema. You enter the studio, left abandoned, you make your way through the dilapidated sets and worn-out costumes. You then come across a reel of Méliès’ film. The film is incomplete… And your detective instinct tells you that to find Méliès, you will have to finish his film. Your investigation can begin.

In Méliès is Gone, your main game tool is the cinematograph. Here’s how the gameplay loop could work:

  • First, you enter a phase of exploring the studio. In this phase, you need to find the reels of the film scenes, as well as the associated preparatory documents. The first feature of the cinematograph allows you, at any time, to view this scene in order to try to understand it.
  • From there, a small deduction exercise is asked of you: by comparing the content of the scene with the preparatory documents, you can determine if this scene is complete or incomplete.
  • If the scene is complete, then you can naturally complete the fill-in-the-blank text associated with it, which will validate the scene and allow you to move on to the next one.
  • On the other hand, if the scene seems incomplete to you, you will have to go into the filming step, which is the second feature of the cinematograph. You can continue to explore the studio to find the missing elements (sets, props, etc.), film them and integrate them into the scene. Thus, the scene is in turn complete, and the script can therefore be filled in, which again concludes the loop.

Let’s take an example, to understand how this could work in detail. At the top right of the screen, a word box is displayed, which is completed as the player finds preparatory documents in the studio.

  • In this first image, the player has just found a scene, as well as the incomplete script attached to it.
  • By comparing the two, he realizes that an element is missing: a telescope. If the first hole can be filled by simple deduction with the elements he already has, this unfinished state prevents the scene from playing correctly, and therefore the player is unable to correctly answer the last hole in the game. He goes exploring the places, finds a telescope in the set, films it and integrates it into the scene.

  • The scene now plays normally, and a lunar eclipse appears in the sky: he can now correctly complete the script! The film is being written, and the investigation is progressing with it.

    This is how Méliès is Gone was initially pitched! From there, the team was formed, and we went (and as these lines are written, are still going) through various iterations of the project, to try to make it an interesting and fun game!