Ubisoft Only Interested in Developing Franchises
Ubisoft has officially announced that they’re no longer interested in developing new IPs unless that can be turned into a franchise. When asked about the upcoming Watch Dogs and plans for it as a franchise, senior VP of sales and marketing Tony Key made the company’s stance clear, saying “That’s what all our games are about; we won’t even start it if we don’t think we can build a franchise out of it. There’s no more fire and forget – it’s too expensive.”
This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise to hear, given that this is the developer responsible for the Assassin’s Creed games, which are now coming out with almost Call of Duty-like regularity. And clearly to people like Key, it’s vital that they have a wide audience for a game, and retain that audience. As Key explained, “Because now we’re in a blockbuster world, and Watch Dogs needs to be a blockbuster because it deserves to be and as a company that’s what we need it to be. It’s the most ambitious production in the history of Ubisoft, and we need to make sure that everybody who likes videogames has a chance to decide that this game is going to be hot. That’s the hard part about a new brand, that awareness outside the core needs to be created.”
To a degree, it’s certainly understandable why developers feel this way – a single game may be expensive to produce, and there’s plenty of evidence to show that even relative hits could still bankrupt the developer. It’s also promising news both for fans of the reliably successful Assassin’s Creed games, as well as those anticipating Watch Dogs, which has been one of the most anticipated new games to come out of E3 two years running. But if this signals a shift in mentality for multiple developers and publishers, it could prove troubling news long-term, as there may become overreliance on stale old IPs with an unwillingness to take risks on smaller-budgeted games.
But until that happens, we still have Watch Dogs to look forward to, and if it’s half as good as the trailers have shown, fans will likely be through the roof. The open-world action adventure game is slated for all next gen consoles likely in time for the holiday season later this year.