Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey Was Turned Down by Over 40 Investors

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey Was Turned Down by Over 40 Investors

Patrice Désilets details the development process of Ancestors.

After four arduous years in development, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey released earlier this week from Panache Digital Games. But the journey to release was far from smooth, as studio head Patrice Désilets told me at Gamescom.

I joked with Désilets that I had trouble explaining Ancestors to people when asked about the game. Then I wondered, how did he sell the game as a concept to investors before Panache actually got the funding for development? "We received a lot of "nos," says Désilets. "I met roughly 45 people before someone actually said yes."

"The very first one that said yes to Jeff and I was my uncle," continues Désilets. "I'm lucky enough that my uncle works in medical business, and so he said, 'You know what, let's do it, but not because I'm your uncle.'"

But the journey to get funding for Ancestors was far from over after Désilets secured his uncle as an investor. The Panache studio head tells me that after doing a talk at a Montreal games summit, he put up his personal Gmail address on the screen, inviting anyone from the audience to email him about investing.

"From that we were in the local press and someone called us up and said, 'Do you need money?'" Désilets told me. "And then we pitched, and they weren't at all in the game business, so they said 'okay, how does this work? How does it make money?' So we came back and pitched them again explaining how we make money, and then once they said yes Private Division came calling."

Désilets also spoke briefly about the development cycle for Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. "So how we work at Panache is that we work in six-week sprints. So the first week of the six is design and planning. Then you divvy up the four weeks in development, and then the final week is all about shipping something."

But what happens if there isn't anything new to play after the six-week cycle? "It has to be playable, 100 percent, always," Désilets says. This entire process is built around being able to show off the latest build to anyone from Panache's office, and add something new to Ancestors on a regular basis.

So there you have it, a glimpse behind the curtain on getting Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, from creator Patrice Désilets. If you're interested in learning more about Panache's evolutionary adventure, check out our interview about its potential livestreaming appeal.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Hirun Cryer

Staff Writer

Hirun Cryer is by far the most juvenile member of USgamer. He's so juvenile, that this is his first full-time job in the industry, unlike literally every other person featured on this page. He's written for The Guardian, Paste Magazine, and Kotaku, and he likes waking up when the sun rises and roaming the nearby woods with the bears and the wolves.

In other news

Swery's Next Game, The Good Life, Set For Summer 2021

There's something mysterious afoot next summer.

Telltale's Sam & Max Save the World Is Getting a Remaster From Its Original Devs

Another Telltale adventure property makes a comeback.

Nightdive's Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition Won't Be Coming in 2020 After All

Updating Westwood's 1997 classic is a bit harder than expected without the source code.

Double Fine's LucasArts Remasters Are All Coming to Game Pass Soon

The Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, and Day of the Tentacle remasters will all arrive on Xbox in a few weeks.

Need help?

Outer Wilds Walkthrough

You’re pretty much left to your own devices in Outer Wilds. Here’s a recommended path.

Zelda Link's Awakening Signpost Maze - How to Make it Through the Signpost Puzzle

Here's our guide on making it through the Signpost puzzle in Zelda Link's Awakening as easily as possible.

No Man's Sky Tips - How to Get Started in 2019

Here are some tips to help you get a strong start in No Man's Sky.

Zelda Breath of the Wild Boss Guides - How to Beat Every Boss and Conquer Every Dungeon

This is our complete Zelda Breath of the Wild bosses guide, detailing every single boss and all the dungeons in Hyrule.