>> Monday, March 12, 2007
Over 15 months ago we were informed about another french CD-i title exclusive. This time french broadcasting company TF1 was in the middle of the attention, offering insight information about TF1 Enterprises, who produced "Le Journal Interactif 1994 and 1995". The US equivalent was called "All the news and views" and Holland got "Alles over 1994 & 1995". Interactive Dreams tracks down the source and even uncovers the CD-i game behind "Un Indien dans la Ville".
Originally the interview was held by "Le Monde du CD-i", but until now never came back on the subject. So, we took the logical step by contacting TF1 ourselves and hereby revisit the CD-i developments by TF1.
French broadcasting company TF1 had a seperate multimedia division: TF1 Enterprises. Olivier Raoul was the project leader behind “Le Journal Interactif 1994”, “Le Journal Interactif 1995” and a regional french game “Un Indien dans la Ville” (The movie in english was called "Little Indian, Big City"), derived from the TF1 movie with the same name. CD-i was very popular with new innovative marketing ideas to bring the product to the livingroom. With CD-ROM, the way how TF1 published their multimedia titles before, this was not possible, the mainstream people were not reached and it was not user-friendly. In addition Philips funded the CD-i with a lot of projects, so the choice for CD-i was born really fast. Philips offered help how to develop for CD-i (a word that sounds new to me!), this was totally different with CD-ROM.
The Full motion Video was a good way to present the TF1 feeling. In the end, TF1 is a broadcasting company and FMV was the ultimate way to share their products. CD-i was meant for the mass, Philips even had the ambition sell 200.000 CD-i players in France alone and over 2 million units worldwide.
Philips Media France and TF1 signed a deal to produce low-priced bundles exclusively for the French people. For Philips it was a great way to promote its Digital Video capabilities. After the 1994 version of "Le Journal" they produced a follow-up in 1995. This was mainly due to the contract, but the titles were also profitable enough to develop. TF1 realized the Journal titles were easily to produce, with almost no costs, because the material was already available. The engine was supported by Philips so the title was done within three months.
The material was originally filmed by reporter Henri Chambon, whose contacts were broad enough for a total view on the news in France in 1994 and 1995. The limitation of one reporter was due to copyrights (money) so it happened certain small news aspects didn't reach the disc content!
With Philips stepping out of the CD-i business in 1996, there was no option for "Le Journal Interactif 1996". TF1 didn't want to carry the costs so stepped away from CD-i (a little contradiction I believe because the costs were very low; it looks like a change in strategy). The Multimedia division put its money in Titus, instead of producing more CD-i titles via TF1 Enterprises. In 1996, TF1 owned 7% of Titus. And with this another CD-i secret is uncovered: Now I know who was behind the french game "L'Affair Morlov": TF1. TF1 funded the adventure game which was developed at CPIO, and was supposed to be a french title only. Philips wasn't available to publish the title anymore, and Titus demanded a broader release to cover costs. We've got new names to contact! Unfortunately the english translations didn't go without troubles, and the final release of the Morlov Affair is one with some differences between the french and english adaptions.
While "TF1 Enterprises" was responsible for multimedia programs on CD-i, the sister company "TF1 Video" was also in co-operation with Philips Media France to produce Video-CD's for Philips. It was Thierry Lhermitte who opted for a game license of "Indien dans la Ville". The video was already on two discs and a lot of disc space was left behind. The game version was stored in the second disc of the Video-CD version. At the same time the game was released on the Nintendo Gameboy. This was of higher interest because the Gameboy was far more popular. The development was carried out by IDP. The game is about Mimi-Siku, and offers small platform action.
With thanks to TF1 (Our source prefers to stay anonymous) and thanks to "Le Monde du CD-i" for additional information, you can read here the complete interview with Olivier Raoul. Interactive Dreams will also receive a copy from the disc anytime soon, and we will post our experiences whenever possible.