Skip to main content

First party games have "best opportunity to succeed" - de Plater

GC ASIA: EndWar creative director believes that higher quality games do lead to better sales

Michael de Plater, creative director on Ubisoft's forthcoming strategy title EndWar, has stated his belief that first party titles have the "best opportunity to succeed", particularly in the current climate where "triple-A games are so massive, risky and expensive".

Talking in a keynote session at this year's Games Convention Asia Conference entitled "The Whole Equation," de Plater - who previously worked on Creative Assembly's Total War franchise - identified the differences between working on first party and third party titles.

While a developer working on a third party title can see a better financial reward if that title is successful, there are normally fewer resources to work with as well as challenges of scale, he explained.

Additionally, while the perception that working on a third party title gives you more creative control, in fact - because of the dependence on milestone payments - that's actually not so much of a benefit as people might think.

Comparing his experience on Total War with EndWar, de Plater identified a number of key advantages to working with the Ubisoft family - principally around leveraging the amount of other talent and skills across the company's studios worldwide.

"We had guys from the Ghost Recon team working on the UI and animation... Splinter Cell Double Agent people with Unreal and next-gen experience, Rainbow Six people with console experience, as well as people who had worked on Battle for Middle Earth, Assassin's Creed and Brothers in Arms," he said, underlining the difference it made to creating the game that bringing all of that talent together to "make something that's genuinely original and for console."

He also cited the learning points available from seeing how studios in Paris, Montreal and Shanghai worked in terms of best practice, while because Ubisoft owns the EndWar IP, it has a greater commitment to the game's development.

"Being part of a publisher gives the game the best opportunity to succeed... now that triple-A games are so massive, risky and expensive," although he did point out that successful third party titles were certainly possible, and identified George Lucas' success in the film industry as an independent creator as a clear parallel.

Additionally, he stated his belief that higher review scores for certain games do lead to better sales for a product, based on the Total War series progression.

"With Total War every time the games got better, the sales increased. So there is a relationship between the quality of the games you make and the sales," he said, although he did concede that other factors, such as marketing, were also likely to ultimately influence the sales figures.

Shogun: Total War received an average review score of 87 per cent with 1.4 million sales, while Medieval: Total War was rated 89 per cent and sold 2.2 million. But Rome: Total War trumped them both with a review average of 92 per cent and sales of 3.2 million.

Games Convention Asia is taking place from September 18-20 at the Suntec Convention Centre, Singapore.

Read this next

Related topics