THIBAULT LEGOUET, THE TIME SHIFTER
From apprentice game designer to creative director leading a team of developers, Thibault Legouet’s journey is an example of a true success story. In 2021, he brought together a group of talented fellow students for their end-of-year project at ISART Digital in Paris, and their unique concept would soon gain the interest of the wider industry. Their promising demo won the Pégases Award for Best Student Game, and from there, the ambitious Sand Door Studio was born. Today, Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is available on PC, an outstanding achievement for the team.
To celebrate the launch of Sand Door Studio’s hack’n’slash game, we sat down with its creator to learn more about their journey. “It’s important to talk about how we categorize the game,” says Thibault. “We prefer to call it a hack’n’slash with a tactical twist. It follows the classic codes of the genre, such as the upper camera placement and the character controls; however, the Remnants system adds a special touch. Instead of rushing in headlong, hoping to get a good enough build or enough reflexes to triumph, you have to think about your approach, plan your future clones, strategize.” Duly noted. After all, the devil is in the details, and Thibault and his team leave nothing to chance to make their game a memorable experience. “If we manage to make a game that we as players would enjoy, the rest will fall into place. We’ve had the chance to have a lot of creative freedom while making Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior, and I hope all the care we’ve put into the experience will help the game to find its audience.”
While he is eager to discover how Imë’s adventure will be received, Thibault also manages to stay level-headed. “I’m aware of how lucky I am to be here today… At the start of my career, being the head of a team like Sand Door Studio with fellow recent graduates and talented people from different backgrounds, is a rare opportunity. I’m proud of our team, our studio, and our game; proud of what we’ve achieved together.” Indeed, you might think landing an internship at an established studio would have been a more comfortable way to kickstart his career. “There are many things you can only learn by living them. Doing it in a less demanding position might have been an easier start for me!” smiles Thibault. “But this experience also allowed us to build our own vision, and I think everything we have achieved comes from that latitude.”
And what about the game itself? Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior stars Imë, a valiant fighter from the New Kingdom, threatened by the return of a horde of monsters. It’s up to her to save her people, using a power given by the Goddess of Time: the ability to generate clones of herself and fight alongside them. Not so easy to visualize but clear from the very first seconds of play, this singular concept was nurtured by Thibault’s appetite for science fiction. “Time travel is one of those impossible ideas that we love to think about,” Thibault explains. “Its different mechanics and interpretations, its realism, its paradoxes – but we rarely talk about its potential for fun. In time travel stories, you are often forbidden from interacting with your past self, or you risk dangerous paradoxes. But it’s the narrator who decides, after all. Why can’t we help past and future versions of ourselves? And if we could help ourselves, what would we achieve?”
Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior sweeps aside these paradoxes to focus on an epic yet accessible action that can also be dizzyingly deep for those who decide to chase the clock, arena after arena. It’s a choice that resonates with the original student demo, even if it pushes it way further. “The student project already gave a great deal of thought to the Remnants, even if our time and production constraints limited the concept to its basics. At Sand Door Studio, we built on these foundations to make the game all together, mixing our ideas, bringing in different active and passive powers, other enemies, a multitude of battles and game systems.”
With three vast environments to discover, runes, spells, weapon sets, combos, and arenas that can be revisited with or without modifiers, the game is clearly not lacking in generosity. But beyond its undeniable gaming and artistic qualities, Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is astonishing in the way it reflects the mindset of its creators: a team as bold as it is thoughtful, and a game that demands the same qualities from anyone who wants to master it. “We’re targeting fans of action and strategy, with the idea that there’s always something to triumph over,” explains Thibault, aware of the technical dimension of the experience, even if novices can master it. “You have to think about how to do it: don’t go ‘I don’t have enough equipment’ or ‘I need more powers,’ but rather ‘How do I optimize my moves to succeed?’ I hope that our game will give players a lot of good times. It’s a pretty simple wish, but it’s extremely important for me. Many games have shaped how I live and see the world, leaving me with warm memories, and I hope our game will also make its mark on players’ lives.”