After recently placing ZombiU on the shelf, Ubisoft have doubled down on their philosophy by stating that they won’t consider publishing a new game unless it is – or has the potential to be – part of a franchise. Speaking with the [a]list daily, the company’s senior vice president, Tony Key, levelled on the developers plans for the future and how they’ve adapted to dovetail with the contemporary ‘blockbuster world.’
“We spend so much time, energy and money creating these experiences like Watch_Dogs and Assassin’s Creed, you need to match that now on the marketing side. You’re making a huge bet on the development side; you’ve got to be all in. It became very clear to us about two years ago that this is a blockbuster world we live in now.”
Key also went on to explain how the company interprets Watch Dogs as the forerunner for a brand new franchise, and this ideology has moulded their perspective on what makes developing a game viable.
“Absolutely. That’s what all our games are about; we won’t even start if we don’t think we can build a franchise out of it. There’s no more fire and forget – it’s too expensive. We feel like we’re in a really good place with Watch Dogs, but until we’re the biggest game of the year we’re not going to be satisfied.”
It’s interesting, especially when you consider how Ubisoft used to be rather famous for publishing a plethora of different games with each new platform. However, after being branded the least consistent publisher in 2009, it seems as though the French studio have honed their resources in order to salvage their reputation.
And now, with 26 fully-fledged studios spread out across the world, Ubisoft are perhaps one of the most prolific developers working in the industry today, and with triple-A games such as Rayman Legends, Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag and Watch Dogs all poised for release in the very near future, the studio aren’t exactly short of impetus.
Now that Assassin’s Creed is considered to be an annualized franchise, and a new iteration of Far Cry seems all but confirmed, Ubisoft have decidedly reined in their design process within their existing franchises. And, by the looks of things, that’s a method of approach that is set to continue.
What do you think? Are Ubisoft right to focus on existing IPs to accommodate the rising cost in advertising? Or are you disappointed by the company’s tunnel vision? Give us your thoughts below.