Ubisoft’s EMEA executive director Alain Corre (pictured top) shared the firm’s ambitions of doubling down on new IP during an interview with MCV@gamescom, and we can fairly assume that this new lease of life is connected to Vivendi selling its last shares in Ubisoft in March, after years of aggressive attempts to take control of the company.
“Freedom is fantastic,” Corre beamed when we asked how Ubisoft’s future was looking now that Vivendi was out of the picture. “We are an independent company, we want to remain independent, that’s the best way we can grow, and we have proven that already, many times, so we are super happy to be able to decide what we want to decide, when we want to decide it, in the future.”
With new ambitions in sight, Ubisoft now has to find a balance between trying new things and servicing its existing live games.
“It’s a challenge because we need a lot of talent to do that, so we are going to continue hiring talent in the studios, we plan to have more in the next five years,” Corre said. “We cherish our fans that are following our brands like Assassin’s Creed or Ghost Recon going forward, but we feel that it’s also a good moment now to go onto investing in new IPs. There are lots of new technologies appearing; PC is still developing fast, there are new consoles coming next year, the streaming technology is there, cross-play is also something that will excite players, so we feel it’s the right time to create new genres, and new IPs for us. After all, if the sun can shine on these ones, we’ll have them for a long time to come.”
And that’s very much the vision for Ubisoft’s upcoming new IP Gods & Monsters, created by the team behind Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and out in February next year. When asked if Ubisoft was seeing it as a franchise, Corre replied: “That’s the dream of every publisher. We are going to feed this game with new things along the way. Ideally, if the fans respond positively, it can have a long life in the future.”
Gods & Monsters is also an attempt to appeal to families and tap into a younger audience, with the game itself rated 12+. That’s reminiscent of Ubisoft’s similar attempt last year with toys-to-life title Starlink: Battle for Atlas, though the firm had to stop manufacturing the physical toys that accompany the franchise after sales for the game fell below expectations.
But Corre said Ubisoft learnt a lot from Starlink and is now ready to approach the family market once again: “I think we gain a lot of experience working on this franchise, also for the family. And it helps us shape plans for family games that are coming for us. We always capitalise on everything we have done in the past. We have a lot of fans still playing Starlink and that are happy playing Starlink, and that’s what’s most important for us,” he said, before adding: “We were expecting more out of Starlink but it’s a step in our creation process and, again, all the experience we have garnered out of creating and marketing this game, we are very rich in this experience to market, and well placed to create better products for this type of consumer in the future.”