CEO of Ubisoft Montreal gives his recipe to making AAA games
Ubisoft might be the hottest gaming publisher or developer right now. Lately, it seems they can do know wrong, regardless of genre, platform or game. One of the people responsible for churning out success after success for Ubisoft is Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal. A man of what seems like infinite wisdom, he spoke at the Game Developers Conference last month about next-gen consoles, trends, development costs, an dhis recipe for making AAA games.
Mallat is the man in charge of Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Toronto. Managing both of those team has him in charge of approximately 2,700 developers. He manages those developers by empowering the creative talent. Mallat said, "That's my recipe for AAA games. you gather as much talent as possible, and you give them three things: Trust, means, and insane challenges. Usually they come back with pretty good stuff."
The topic of AAA games relates directly to what his opinions on the consumer market for B-games, and the trends that will continue onto next-gen consoles.
"One one end of the spectrum you will have all the big, AAA blockbuster games that [offer] more and more production values, more value for the players, but there will be fewer of them taking a bigger chunk of the marker," said Mallat. While he thinks mobile and Facebook games will bring new gamers into the fold on the opposite end of the spectrum, the problem is the middle.
"The in-between, the belly of the market, is the one that just collapsed in a way and disappeared. Meaning there is no room for B-games, if I should say so, which proves the point of quality. I think that companies that put quality and consumer value as a primary focus, as we've been doing at Ubisoft, will enjoy great successes."
With games like Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Rayman Legends, Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag on the horizon, it looks like that success will be sustained. All four are much-hyped, AAA titles. That said, I don't believe B-games are in any danger, thanks in part by Sony and Steam. There might not be room for B-game at Activision and Ubisoft -- where every game must sell six million copies -- but there's plenty of space at smaller publishers and smaller teams for B-games.
Luckily, Mallat thinks that the arrival of next-gen consoles will bring new perspectives and innovations; hopefully, these will give the struggling packaged good market a nice, little boost. As for the rising development costs that come with next-gen gaming, Mallat described them as "very manageable" of late.
Mallat explained, "It's a question of bringing quality content to the gamers and enjoying great success thanks to that. So it's OK to invest more when you get more in return."