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Ubisoft Toronto sets sights on more mature IP

Jade Raymond insists that multi-million selling games can be more than Michael Bay movies

Ubisoft's new Toronto studio is setting its sights on developing a more mature approach to AAA IP.

In an interview with CVG, managing director Jade Raymond stressed that, with the gaming audience growing all the time, the medium needs to "grow up" from its fixation with brainless action.

"We don't need to make the equivalent to a Michael Bay flick in order to sell five million copies," she said. "I think things can be exciting, have meaning and hit important topics, and I'm not the only one that thinks that."

Raymond claimed that the development of the Assassin's Creed franchise was informed by an interest in exploring more mature themes, even if the core gameplay was still largely concerned with killing.

"It's definitely something that we're pushing for at Ubisoft Toronto. I think every other entertainment medium or art form does manage to have commercial success and have the viewers or audience think or be inspired.

"Every other entertainment medium or art form does manage to have commercial success and have the viewers or audience think or be inspired"

"Games, I think, have even more potential than that given that on top of the narrative side we do have all of the gameplay mechanics and we create rule sets from scratch which can have any kind of meaning embedded in them.

"It's not easy to do that, because it requires breaking our recipe and trying to find new recipes, but I think it's an important thing for us to strive for."

Whether the most commercially successful products in other media are more mature or provocative than the most successful games is certainly open to debate, but the tools with which to create "new recipes" for gaming are more abundant than ever.

Indeed, Raymond believes that the industry has changed so much since the launch of Assassin's Creed that Ubisoft Toronto's first new IP will be radically different.

"For example, some of the stuff Dark Souls did with social elements - people impact each others' games without having to really create content, and people are having this shared experience within the game... I think there's a lot further that we can go with that," she said.

"It's about thinking how we adapt our media to the way that people actually consume games. Being more conscious of the amount of time people have, where they're playing them, how they want to be playing them, what different tech they have and in what circumstances... And also being more conscious of the fact that our customer is changing and there are people who expect to have an impact on the entertainment and sharing that - we have to build that in to the property."

Ubisoft Toronto's first project is Splinter Cell 6. To read our extensive interview with Raymond from GDC, click here.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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