Ubisoft to release franchise titles every 12-18 months
French publisher hopes to turn around big brands every year; will be mindful of franchise fatigue and product quality
Ubisoft has detailed its franchise plans for the future, with the intention of releasing new titles based on existing brands every 12 to 18 months.
Looking at Activision's success with the yearly Call of Duty titles, the French publisher said it will be careful not to fatigue IP or compromise on quality.
"We're organising ourselves towards that strategy - providing you can create something innovative every year that can surprise the end user and please your gamers," said European MD Alain Corre, in an interview published today. "Then you can consider releasing a SKU every 12-18 months - but it needs to be different enough from the previous SKU to make sure you're not tiring the franchise or the consumers.
"The Call of Duty example is the best around - they've been able over the past five years to iterate every year with growing success each time. They never compromise on quality, which is exactly what we're trying to do with our brands now."
The next 12 months sees the return of a number of high-profile Ubisoft franchises – the next Assassin's Creed game will hit within a year of the last release, and use many of the same assets as Assassin's Creed II. But brands such as Ghost Recon and Prince of Persia have been away from stores for longer, and Ubisoft may face challenges when it comes to quality of product within a short time-frame – Splinter Cell: Conviction, which was under development as far back as 2006, has been delayed numerous times.
Corre also admitted that working to strict time frames dictated by the movie industry – as it did with the recent release based on James Cameron's Avatar – was partly to blame for its mediocre scores and sales.
"It was true that we were also hoping to create a better experience, I'd say, in terms of gaming - but it's not always easy when you have to follow the rules of a studio," he said. "When you have guidelines and so on, it's more rigid in terms of creation than what you can do with your own property."
The full interview with Alain Corre, where he also discusses the U Play initiative and how it will measure up to services such as Xbox Live and PSN, can be read here.