French online giant Ankama launches into film with Dofus, Wakfu trilogies

Paris-based online games outfit Ankama has announced plans to make a trilogy of films revolving around its cult fantasy online game world of Dofus, currently played by some 40 million people in 150 countries.

“The Dofus feature is in keeping with the transmedia strategy at the heart of Ankama. Transmedia is in Ankama’s DNA if you like,” Emmanuel Franck, the head of the company’s new Audiovisual and Film department, told a news conference at the Annecy Animation Festival on Wednesday.

Launched in 2001, Dofus is a multi-player, online role-playing game revolving around the imaginary “world of twelve”, so-called because it is inhabited by 12 gods. Players assume the role of one of the gods.

“The Trilogy will revolve around Joris, a central character in the Dofus world. It will look at his origins which have always been shrouded in mystery,” said Franck.

Provisionally entitled Livre Un: Joris Jurgen, le sans pouvoir (Book One: Joris Jurgen, the powerless), the first feature in the trilogy will be co-directed by Ankama co-founder Anthony Roux and Thomas Digard, who was the animation director on the 2009 animation hit Lascars (Round Da Way).

The €12 million project, which is currently at script development stage, is due to be delivered end 2013.

A Dofus television series is also due to start broadcasting on France 3 this autumn. A manga inspired by the game has sold more than one million copies.

Franck added that Ankama is also developing another trilogy of films inspired by its popular children’s TV series Wakfu, which is watched by one million viewers per episode on

France 3 and also broadcast in Italy, Poland, Spain and Germany.

Ankama is the second French computer games outfit to announce cinematic aspirations of late.  Last month, Ubisoft opened a film division earlier this year run by former EuropaCorp CEO Jean-Julien Baronnet.

A big screen adaptation of its hit game Assassins Creed, which sold 28 million copies worldwide, is expected to be the company’s first feature-length film.

Ankama, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary at Annecy, was founded by Roux, Camille Chafer and Emmanuel Darras in 2001 with the creation of the Dofus online game. It now employs more some 450 people in Paris, Lyon and Toyko and has annual turnover of €40 million.