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Ubisoft press conference unveils future for game developer

June 1, 2009

Ubisoft press conference unveils future for game developer

The goal is to bring movie creation talent to the video game (industry)

Convergence: The point at which different objects, lines or other items meet or converge

Confluence: A coming together of people and/or things

Two words were the focus of the Ubisoft press conference that prefaced the opening day of the annual Electronic Entertainment Exposition (E3) – convergence and confluence.

The two-hour event, hosted by actor and comedian Joel McHale, was a quick overview of what is on tap from the developer during the upcoming months. McHale was effervescent in his delivery, though at times his enthusiasm for the various titles did sound a bit rehearsed. But the mantra of “Everyone at Ubisoft is a star at what they do” was reiterated several times throughout the evening.

Yes, luminaries were in attendance, from developers who have achieved worldwide fame, to celebrities like soccer legend Pele and film director James Cameron.

Yves Guillemot, president and CEO of Ubisoft, started it off by saying that the convergence of the public and gamers with the games Ubisoft creates was very important, and that the company was moving from that foundation of convergence between publisher and the public to a confluence between the gaming developing industry and the movie industry.

“The goal is to bring movie creation talent to the video game (industry),” he said.

Yannis Mallat, president of the  Ubisoft Montreal Studio, picked up on the theme,  stating that Ubisoft, in order to achieve true convergence, acquired Hybride Technologies.

“The objective was to bring together two talented universes – gaming and the movie industry,” he said.

Cameron furthered the discussion by talking about the collaboration between his work on his upcoming film, Avatar, and Ubisoft, who is developing the game based on the movie property. Cameron admitted that most games based on movies have been less than stellar and the new track is that Ubisoft is building a game that doesn’t retread the story of the film, but rather uses the game world as the vehicle for parallel stories. Cameron’s creative film team actually built game elements for Ubisoft while Ubi is developing more than 100 shots that will be used in the film.

Mallat said that “Ubisoft is moving from a game developer to a full 360-degree production company, with convergence between the gaming world and movie industry.”

Convergence and confluence will take many forms. A four-part idea broken down into Uwin, Ushare, Ushop and Uhelp, will be available with Assassins 2 and the new Splinter Cell.

Ubisoft is embracing new technology as well, and will be bundling the Wii Motion-plus technology with Red Steel 2.

Games were a big part of the press conference with trailers shown for some of the upcoming titles, like the Pele’s project, Academy of Champions: Football, and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction. The games embrace some new game mechanics that shows the developer is looking to move forward rather than simply putting out games that tread the same ground.

Tween titles will also be a big focus, with the integration, interconnectivity and invention coming to the fore with the newest tween franchise, Style Lab.

Ubisoft has something for everyone, from strategic games like Ruse, to Your Shape, a fitness title that utilizes a hands-free design centering on the use of a camera.

Other titles shown off at the conference included Rabbids Go Home, the 25th anniversary “shell-abration” of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-up, and the announcement of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.

The press conference concluded with a trailer of Assassin’s Creed 2.


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