You play Miette, a character from the movie of the same name. The graphics are the style of 3d characters over rendered backgrounds. You travel through the streets at the whim of Pieuvre, the siamese twins who are your schoolmistresses. You do small robberies for them, but soon a larger plot emerges. Mysterious men called Cyclopses are kidnapping children to steal their dreams. You must determine what is truly happening in this adventure game.
The City of Lost Children began production in the fall of 1994, when Psygnosis first visited various locations where the movie was being filmed to study the set environments created by Marc Caro and Jean Jeunet (both well known for their collaboration on the film Delicatessen, ten years earlier). It was important to study how the design team was going to create a 3D game from the 2D sets and to think of what scenes and elements would have to be added to make the game a non-linear adventure. The first interactive scenes from the game were first seen at the E3 show in 1995 and then a near complete game was shown the following year at E3 in May 1996. The next six months were spent on localizing the game in five languages and strategically preparing it for launch internationally. The French version of the game was first released by Psygnosis’ Paris office at the end of 1996.
The design team started to work from the movie sets using photos and movie clips. From there, the entire "city" was modeled in 3D using 3D Studio. All the textures were hand rendered and then added using DPaint and Photoshop. The modeling took some time in order to achieve the real cinematic camera angles utilized in the game. It took about one month to render each location (ten days for modeling, one week for texturing and 12 weeks for rendering the lighting effects). Softimage was used for the cinematic sequences. When the project was started there was no good technology as yet to integrate motion capture under 3D Studio -- therefore Softimage was used as the animation tool.
This game takes some liberties (story-wise) when adapting the movie, in fact, Miette has to actually kill a character in a certain part of the game to get an item.