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Ubisoft's Alain Corre

The executive director of Ubisoft discusses the line-up for 2009, Pele, Mizuguchi and Spielberg

Ubisoft had a strong showing at E3 this year, with a portfolio of titles that covered all bases. From the hardcore crowd pleasers such as Assassin's Creed 2 and Splinter Cell Conviction, to the casual favourites of the best-selling Imagine series, Hollywood blockbusters from James Cameron and new collaborations in the longer-term from Q Entertainment and Steven Spielberg, the publisher has almost all markets covered.

In this exclusive interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Alain Corre, executive director of Ubisoft, discusses the 2009 line-up, how it's betting on five big titles this year, why there's still room for innovation in the Wii market and why the company isn't afraid to take risks by entering the football genre.

GamesIndustry.biz Ubisoft had a big line-up at E3 this year. Are you confident you've got a strong variety of titles for release in 2009?
Alain Corre

We are actually betting on games that we hope will be triple-A sales. It seems that judging from the response we had at the show, the five blockbusters that we are counting on – Assassin's Creed 2, Splinter Cell Conviction, Avatar, Rabbids Go Home and Red Steel 2 – the response is positive. We are confident and we have to continue to show nice products to consumers. The vibes are good.

GamesIndustry.biz So with Assassin's Creed 2 you're hoping to repeat the success of the first game in terms of sales?
Alain Corre

Definitely. What we tried to do with Assassin's Creed 2 was respect the spirit of the first one. Because of the success of the first Assassin's Creed our retailers are keen to get this in store to try to maximise exposure in stores.

Splinter Cell is also pleasing many, it's a surprise for most of the people seeing the game and for us also because to an extent the way we are developing games is may be a bit different. We have a lot of people working on the product at once so we don't see the progress very well until is comes above the level of the water. We have spent some time understanding how to modify the gameplay and make the franchise evolve. We've had many tries on this one, I would say that the game has been developed many times and now in the recent 12 months we have found a new angle. We've tried to make the game available to a broader audience but still be challenging to the hardcore gamers. We wanted to bring innovation to the series, a fresh approach.

GamesIndustry.biz So you're happy to delay big titles if you can turn out a better game?
Alain Corre

Yes. The essence of Ubisoft is to create worlds, universes, brands, and these are our jewels. We can't damage what are the assets of the company and Splinter Cell is one of the biggest brands that we have and so quality is number one on the agenda. If we consider it would damage the value of the brand we will always consider reworking the game.

GamesIndustry.biz Why go exclusive to the Xbox 360 with Splinter Cell Conviction?
Alain Corre

It was a decision that we took many years ago. It's been an ongoing process. For us when we decided to do that many years ago it was a logical step.

GamesIndustry.biz But you're going to miss sales by limiting the game to one home console platform...
Alain Corre

But there are also a lot of hardcore gamers who have ownership of both consoles. And everyone has a PC at home. To a certain extent if players want the next Splinter Cell game they will find a way.

GamesIndustry.biz Ubisoft is working with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson on a tie-in to the Tin Tin movie. Is that going to be the same arrangement as you have with James Cameron on Avatar, where you'll be creating assets at your Hybride Technologies studio for use in both film and game?
Alain Corre

Yes and it's quite new for Ubisoft. We're considering that games and cinema have a lot to share and a lot to bring to each other. As a videogame company we are experts in developing interactive experiences but we still have a lot of learn in terms of narration and scenarios. Working with Hollywood guys who have been doing that forever and are experts in doing that helps us enrich our interactive experiences. What we want is to go on sharing and ultimately define the next generation of interactive entertainment which will encompass the quality of narration and our expertise. It's very rich and we are very open to share our technologies.

That's why we bought Hybride, because we want to consider releasing universes and worlds not only just as videogames but we want consumers to have access to our heroes in different ways, whether that's books or movies or web-based games. Videogames will be at the top of that pyramid. We feel that our consumers are really hungry in doing more with out heroes than they can with just a videogame. An example is the Imagine brand, where we have lot of opportunities with books, Web TV shows and figurines. A lot of girls have been following that in the last three years and we'll be able to do more with that with Imagine Online at the end of the year.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.