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Assassin’s Creed dev feels “it’s time for our medium to grow up”

Tuesday, 17th April 2012 06:29 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Ubisoft Toronto boss and former Assassin’s Creed lead Jade Raymond has called on the games industry to get over its reliance on big dumb blockbusters.

“I really do feel it’s time for our medium to grow up,” Raymond told CVG.

“I think we don’t need to make the equivalent to a Michael Bay flick in order to sell five million copies. I think things can be exciting, have meaning and hit important topics, and I’m not the only one that thinks that.”

Raymond said some major franchises are pushing to be more meaningful and interesting, which was one of Ubisoft’s goals with Assassin’s Creed – and hopefully, for future projects.

“It’s definitely something that we’re pushing for at Ubisoft Toronto. I think every other entertainment medium or art form does manage to have commercial success and have the viewers or audience think or be inspired,” he said.

“Games, I think, have even more potential than that given that on top of the narrative side we do have all of the gameplay mechanics and we create rule sets from scratch which can have any kind of meaning embedded in them. It’s not easy to do that, because it requires breaking our recipe and trying to find new recipes, but I think it’s an important thing for us to strive for.”

Ubisoft Toronto, which Raymond was asked to build up as a new triple-A studio with 800 staff, is working on the next Splinter Cell game in addition to an original IP; the new project is due to be announced soon. Hit the link above for a lengthy read on the studio’s culture, Raymond’s approach to IP design, the Assassin’s Creed legacy, and more.

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19 Comments

  1. Mike

    spleling

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Brenna Hillier

    Tpyos correct3d ;)

    #2 3 years ago
  3. KAP

    I actually agree with Jade this time, Its annoying when a game as truly astonishing as say’ Journey but then CoD series continually sell large amounts.

    Its a little shameful.

    The simple answer to this is we need more devs like Valve or TGC that think outside the box and not just release B-movie after straight to DVD type games.
    Which is probably why most people won’t admit that there gamers to the general public.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Ryzilient

    I think I get a little bit of hypocrisy from this, even if I agree with her main point.

    She talks about the medium needing to grow up, yet she is heading up a studio that develops a so-called ‘Triple A’ franchise like Splinter Cell, granted not as annualised and over-promoted as Assassin’s Creed.

    I don’t get it, she makes these points, but she’s working for a company that clearly doesn’t advocate them, yet she says they do.

    It doesn’t make sense.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Freek

    CoD vs Journey isn’t any different then any other medium.
    Micheal Bay blockbusters make billions, and smaller indy drama movies do not.
    Justin Bieber sells bajilions of records and smaller indy bands do not.
    Games are the same.
    Whatever the audiance wants is what sells, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We don’t have to be pretentiouse about our entertainment all the time. Sometimes you just want to have a bunch of explosions on the screen, we should be okay with that.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. endgame

    @3 You’re missing her point. It’s like I’m an F1 racer but maybe I don’t want to be one anymore. Maybe I want to try something new like I don’t know.. dirt racing. But since I already have a contract with, let’s say, Ferrari.. I’m just stuck in this position until I’m finished with that. That’s one. Two. She might also mean that she is trying something new with the Splinter Cell game she’s working on right now, something that might not be exactly what we know as AAA so we shouldn’t expect that. We shouldn’t expect fancy graphics but instead cool gameplay and awesome audio. I don’t know. We’ll see. Also, I like her! She’s hot! :D

    #6 3 years ago
  7. The_Red

    To be fair, even an older and more “grown-up” medium like film is like this:

    And Oscar winning film or a critically praised title NEVER makes real money compared to Michael Bay or Twilight stuff.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Henry

    By grow up she means don’t promote a game by its pretty producer?

    #8 3 years ago
  9. G1GAHURTZ

    Artists make what they want, for themselves.

    Business minded people make what other people want, for other people.

    Now, can you guess which of those groups are better for the industry as a whole?

    #9 3 years ago
  10. LOLshock94

    how about we dont grow up and you just suck a dick?

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Telepathic.Geometry

    /stern look

    #11 3 years ago
  12. freedoms_stain

    @9, oh boy that is crap logic. Like horrendously awful.

    “Business minded people” are focussed on making money, and they don’t care if the product they’re selling is really not that great or even if it’s downright crap since they have built the industry in such a way that they can polish a turd and make it gleam like gold at least until the consumer gets it home.

    On top of that “Artists” work better when they’re making what they want for themselves. When your “Business minded person” orders a modern FPS with a strong multiplayer focus when the artist wants to make a 2D side-scrolling adventure game, do you think that modern FPS will turn out very well?

    Putting your trust in the business man will result in a stale gaming lineup full of sequels and yearly iterations until the audience is downright fatigued and the studios are burned out.

    Let artists do what they want. The gems will shine brighter than anything the business man can ever concoct, and maybe, just maybe if the Artists are allowed to run the industry again the turds will be allowed to fade into obscurity with a lack of community-led excitement rather than smeared all over your face with 30 million dollar advertising campaigns that amount to bare naked lies.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. OrbitMonkey

    I think it boils down to what people want from the medium. For example a story about a young girl forced into prostitution by her alcoholic father and her descent into drug abuse, will sell a lot if books, do ok at the cinema if it has the right names attached and bomb completely as a videogame, regardless of quality.

    People don’t want that from a game.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. DSB

    That couldn’t possibly sound more hollow coming from a former Assassins Creed lead. There’s nothing mature about jumping onto the Dan Brown craze, and then even toning that down.

    Narrative has always suffered in games, and it doesn’t have to, but I’m guessing it has something to do with people rushing projects out the door and spending more on middle management, to ensure that happens, instead of putting that money in where it counts, narrative-wise.

    @9 If you want a company that’s just chugging along, I guess that might hold you over, but you aren’t going to be competitive with the people who actually take artistic risks.

    I’d use THQ as an example. They literally chased the fastest buck there was, shooting for every recent trend under the sun, throwing away their otherwise profitable niche portfolio in the process. It didn’t turn out to be the easy money they were hoping for.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. G1GAHURTZ

    @freedoms_stain:

    I may disagree with your sentiment, but no joke, that comment was beautifully written!

    Anyway, let’s play with the scenario…

    Let’s compare video games with art.

    What happens to all the best artists? They die poor and completetly unappreciated. Then years later, some toff comes along and makes a fortune from trading their work!

    Now who wants to come to an end like that, eh?

    #15 3 years ago
  16. DSB

    @15 I’d refer you to videogame history.

    There really aren’t a lot of examples of that. There are examples of companies doing things like Half-Life or World of Warcraft while everybody else is in their diapers, and stealing the market.

    Even Crysis was a success against all odds. People could barely play it when it came out.

    In terms of largely ignored gems I can think of stuff like Psychonauts, Startopia and Evil Genius, but there’s not ever going to be a 100% success rate, and that also applies when you play it safe. THQ died trying to do what everybody else was doing.

    High risk/high reward means just that. You may risk tanking, but I think the fact that the industry is so conservative makes it a far more appealing option. Of course provided you have the right people for the job.

    One huge success may cover the costs of several failures.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. freedoms_stain

    @15, What art? Painters? Is that an appropriate comparison? Do you make dozens of different games per year and sell one copy of each hoping to claw enough to live?

    No.

    If you want to choose an art form you need to compare with one where a single “piece” sells in volume, i.e. Music and Film.

    There are genres and niches and a consumer base of millions, you don’t have to go mass-market to make money in this business. You can make a niche game and make money as long as it’s good enough.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. xino

    what’s the point? would people buy it?
    you make new IPs and innovative games, people don’t buy it and managers and Publishers will start complaining that “this was the problem”.

    just stick to what people love!

    This Gaming Industry is a piece of shit as people don’t want change

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Kuwabara

    i hope the next splinter cell isn’t an xbox exclusive orz…

    #19 3 years ago

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