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New Ubisoft game marks its next big move into China

Publisher partners with Playcrab and Tencent

Ubisoft is building a game specifically for the Chinese games market.

Might & Magic Heroes: Era of Chaos is being created by Chinese developer Playcrab and published by Tencent. It is a strategy card game take on the franchise and will launch in June on iOS and Android.

Although Ubisoft has released games in China before, this marks the company' first efforts to create a title specifically for the audience.

Tencent is one of the biggest games companies in the world, and boasts almost 900m monthly users in the market via its WeChat service. Meanwhile, Playcrab is a well-known studio in the market, having created King of Fighters 98 (also published by Tencent).

Ubisoft is creating a game specifically for China due to the vastly different tastes from players in terms of both monetisation and gameplay, the firm says.

"For instance, any game in China, even the most casual ones, must offer a wide array of chat, social features and PvP modes, while in the West many games can do well without any of these," says Aurélien Palasse, head of licensing and publishing at Ubisoft Mobile China and as reported by the Ubisoft Blog.

"It is truly frenetic and incomparable to the way we do things in the West. The point is that there is clearly a very local expertise that one needs in order to launch a successful product in China, so we need to be there locally, to connect and develop strong business relationships with top developers and publishers who will help us grow as a brand and company in China."

The reason behind selecting the Might & Magic IP for a Chinese release is also due to the market's love of retro brands.

"Chinese players are very fond of retro IP from the '90s and '00s, such as King of Fighters 98," Palasse observes. "We are fortunate to have one of these incredibly popular retro cult IPs in our portfolio with Might & Magic Heroes. Heroes III, in particular, is considered a legendary instalment, and a whole generation of gamers have grown up with it and still have fond memories, which is why Tencent was eager to publish Era of Chaos."

He continues: "We aim to continue developing our presence and business there based on the same strategy of building strong relationships with the best partners locally, and keeping on leveraging the hunger for AAA and classic IPs, which we have plenty of in our portfolio. We have other exciting projects in the works with great partners."

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