A string of 18-rated games front the Assassin’s Creed brand, but Ubisoft wants to explore ways to sell the franchise to children.
That’s according to the publisher’s international brand manager Yannick Spagna, who Games Industry reports told the GameON Finance conference in Toronto that licensing deals can achieve things traditional advertising cannot.
"On a big IP, like Assassin’s Creed or that type of game, I think now the idea is to reach a maximum of people, so it’s not about needing advertisement to get additional revenue," he said.
"For big IPs, smart brands are the best partners. They do a line with Mega Bloks together. On their side, it’s nice because toys are looking for the hype around video games. And we are looking for a new audience: kids, children, it’s more like that."
In the US the ESRB specifically forbids publishers from advertising mature games to young audiences – a fact that Spagna addresses by arguing that selling the AC brand is different to selling the AC games.
"This quote is not about Assassin’s Creed the game," he added. "It’s about Assassin’s Creed the brand. It’s the same way you have The Lord of the Rings brand, the books, Shadow of Mordor, the Lego. It’s a huge franchise, a brand, and within that you have different experiences that are tailored to specific audiences.
"If you think about it, we could even do an Assassin’s Creed game tailored for kids. Imagine a Lego game. It would mean changing a lot of things… I played hours and hours of Lego Lord of the Rings, and you kill people but not kill people, because they’re Lego characters."
Mega Bloks also produces product ranges based on Activision’s military FPC Call of Duty, Microsoft’s Halo and Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. They are listed separate to its children’s items under a tab labelled ‘Collectors‘.