So don’t expect the next Uncharted from Ubisoft, I suppose.
At this point, there are probably few, if any, publishers that have the ability to churn out major hits as consistently as Ubisoft does. Sure, a publisher like Activision or Take Two probably has bigger hits— but Ubisoft literally puts out a half dozen games a year, and each of them becomes a big, big hit.
In spite of this, the publisher often sees high profile talent leaving— for instance, Patrice Désilets, the creator of Assassin’s Creed, or Jade Raymond, who managed and produced the franchise for years before also leaving for EA. Why is there is bleeding of high profile talent from the publisher, if they put out so many hit games so routinely? Surely, creators want an audience as large as possible?
Speaking to Game Informer, Ubisoft’s chief creative officer Serge Hascoet noted that a lot of times, that can just come down to creative differences. Someone, for example, may want to work on a narrative driven game, which is at odds with the kind of game that Ubisoft seeks to make.
“I know it’s not always because of Ubisoft,” said Hascoet. “It’s could be because of the special context of that particular point of their life. They want to move somewhere else or they don’t feel the passion anymore or they want to express themselves differently. For Patrice, he wanted to do something else outside of Ubisoft and he wanted more freedom. It was okay.
“I think Ubisoft offers creative directors have a lot of freedom, but we have deadlines too. We have the framework of open world, more systemic than narrative. Sometimes when someone wants to do a more narrative-driven game, then it’s not as easy for them at Ubisoft. We offer a lot of freedom and opportunities, but within a framework. Sometimes it can be a philosophical issue, but it’s case by case. With Dean, I won’t explain all the reasons he left, but if you want the messages they sent me before they left, I can show you. They loved Ubisoft.”
However, he added that in general, in spite of the challenges that working at a publisher like Ubisoft can pose, most of the studio’s creative directors are more than happy working there. “We have 45 creative directors in the studio, you can ask them. They are more than happy. Even if it’s hard,” he said.
I suppose that’s as clear a statement as any that someone who likes more story driven games, such as of the kind that Sony puts out, will not find themselves catered to by Ubisoft’s output. Ubisoft has many merits as a publisher, but it looks like that is one battle that they have chosen to sit out.