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“If you’re going to create something, go above and beyond what’s gone before,” says Raymond

Saturday, 12th May 2012 15:00 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Ubisoft Toronto GM Jade Raymond has said the industry trend to copy games that sell millions of copies due to being risk adverse is disheartening. In her opinion, more companies should shy away from the status quo and shake the medium up a bit.

Speaking in an interview with Eurogamer, Raymond said it “takes a real belief in the medium,” for a company to be willing to step outside its comfort zone, but at the same time, “whenever you see a big success it’s because somebody took a risk.”

This isn’t the first time Raymond has called upon the industry to be more adventurous and innovative. In April, she told CVG that it was “time for our medium to grow up” and stop relying on a blockbuster mentality. With that said, she is pushing her team at Ubisoft Toronto to make something more meaningful and creative.

“I am pushing our creative teams to think about meaning and to say something deeper than at the surface level,” she said. “One thing I am certain of is that the creative teams who occupy the top spots in our industry should be taking the greatest risks.

“Activision has the recipe and all of the money. I’m like: ‘You guys mess with it a bit!’. I am going to get a phone call from Bobby Kotick now…”

Raymond’s had many at Ubisoft come to her stating they no longer interested in churning out another shooter, an assembly line she feels needs updated or even re-purposed for something more meaningful.

“More and more people come to me at Ubisoft and say: ‘I love games. I came into this industry with so many ideas. But I can’t continue to make shooters over and over again. I’m not even in line with the messages’,” she said. “I have that meeting a lot these days. Yeah, it’s time to give our teenage medium a kick in the balls.

“I think it can help to look at what’s been big in media over the past 12 months. Interesting topics that have been in the news include the Arab Spring, internet freedom, the growing class divide. I think games could explore religious beliefs in a fascinating way. For example, imagine a game in which death or save games are aligned with the Hindu belief in reincarnation. Perhaps you could retry levels as animals, or humans with different skill sets upon death?

“Beyond that? What about the way the way the system is stacked against the poor? If you lose your job, especially in the States where there’s no healthcare, your debt can grow out of control very quickly. It’s remarkably easy to become homeless. That meta-gameplay loop could easily be brought into a game I think. Sexism, too. That could easily be brought into a franchise like Call of Duty. If you could play as a woman you could bring in some perspectives to what that might be like.

“I don’t know when we decided as an industry that in order to sell five million copies of a game you have to make a Michael Bay film. There are other options.”

Even with all these cracking ideas floating around, Raymond is painfully aware that innovation is seen as a “luxury” by the larger companies – what with increased costs of development and production. However, she remains optimistic and feels in order for the industry to thrive, it has to move forward, otherwise, what’s the point of it all?

“Ultimately, if we are not moving things forward then why are we working here? If you’re going to create something then you have to go above and beyond what’s gone before,” she said.

“It’s the only way.”

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17 Comments

  1. Night Hunter

    I read the whole Interview over on Eurogamer yesterday and all I have to say is: Mrs. Raymond, please walk the walk, you’re the head of a studio 800 strong. If you really believe in what you say do something about it and I will be the first to buy it!

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Erthazus

    @1, she already did with Assassins Creed 1 that was a mediocre game.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. endgame

    @2 Assassin’s Creed was not mediocre! It was quite good for a new IP. It had only one downside, the “quit the game” process.. It should not have been a process but a single action. :)

    edit: but I forgot why I was really here. I was here to say My God she looks gorgeous in that picture! :))

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Night Hunter

    @2: Have you even read the text?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. TheWulf

    I’m with #1 on this. It’s fine to say this, but I’d love to see her back up her words.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. OrbitMonkey

    I don’t see how playing as a female in CoD would shake things up… Your character looks down from shooting badguys to check out her cleavage? Painted nails on the floating hands, that hold your gun?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. MFBB

    Nice words, but she is not even doing it herself.

    Only the exactly same Assassin Creed part after part with no inovation or putting in anything she mentioned.

    Same goes for the other Ubisoft games….

    Thats why i enjoy indie games so much.

    They do things differnt with lots of fresh ideas and stuff i have not seen before.

    Also kudos to studios like Quantic Games who have the balls to do something different with there triple AAA titles.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Da Man

    Ass Creed was one of the most tedious videogames ever created..

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Old MacDonald

    When she says she’s not the target audience for games any more because she’s a parent and generation X or whatever, she just shows that she herself is part of what’s wrong with the games industry.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. xxJPRACERxx

    Assassin’s Creed is the product of Patrice Désilets, not Raymond. She was supervising the whole team but she’s not really a “creator”.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. NeoSquall

    #10 Let them think and say that, it only adds to their ignorance.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. back_up

    only PS3 exclusives are capable of doing it

    #12 2 years ago
  13. albo88

    @#12 doing what? copying Nintendo oh yeah i do agree on that PlayStation All-Stars hahahahahahahaha

    #13 2 years ago
  14. WFMMK

    @13 The fans asked for it Sony delivered. Can’t say the same for Nintendo nor Microsoft.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Giskard

    @12 Don’t feed the troll.
    @13 Nintendo did it first. So please repeat the phrase where “Nintendo don’t deliver it”.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. back_up

    @13
    wiiu games at e3
    mario mario mario zelda zelda zelda
    wiiu gen is over LMAO
    keep playing kiddy games

    #16 2 years ago
  17. ManuOtaku

    I think at some point, i understand the mentality of aiming to the big blockbusters game, especially in the shooter genre, look at COD for instance, is a great game that keep doing good things on yearly basis, and also look bulletstorm a game that even with its flaws, that gamers can argue it was good or not that good, depending on each induvidual tastes, but at least on the surface did try to do something albeit a little different in the genre, and with a promise of a future release that will try to polish the game in order to get a good overall package, so we might end up having a series that will be good and different, but we as gamers did send a message pretty clear that we prefer the same old good things, that keep doing the same good things, rather than new ideas, and maybe this new ideas didnt work out that well int the first time, but we didnt gave the proper time and chance to really mature and evolve into something great, therefore in that we made our part, and we cannot condenmed the developers for thinking this way, really.

    #17 2 years ago

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