Jade Raymond, the beautiful face that helped launch Assassin’s Creed thinks that the video game industry needs to get rid of its reliance on the big, dumb blockbuster titles that take up all the top spots on monthly sales charts – and that the medium itself needs to grow up.
Raymond currently heads Ubisoft Toronto, which is currently busy with the next Splinter Cell, and will soon start on a new, original IP.
“I really do feel it’s time for our medium to grow up,” Raymond said to CVG. “I think we don’t need to make the equivalent to a Michael Bay flick in order to sell five million copies. I think things can be exciting, have meaning and hit important topics, and I’m not the only one that thinks that.”
Raymond believes there’s a slight push within industry to make games more interesting and meaningful – as we saw with Assassin’s Creed, and it’s something she and her 800-strong staff at Ubisoft Toronto are keen on delivering.
“It’s definitely something that we’re pushing for at Ubisoft Toronto. I think every other entertainment medium or art form does manage to have commercial success and have the viewers or audience think or be inspired,” she said. “Games, I think, have even more potential than that given that on top of the narrative side we do have all of the gameplay mechanics and we create rule sets from scratch which can have any kind of meaning embedded in them. It’s not easy to do that, because it requires breaking our recipe and trying to find new recipes, but I think it’s an important thing for us to strive for.”
So does that mean the new Splinter Cell won’t be like a mindless action movie. I enjoyed the hell out of Conviction, but it wasn’t quite an opus.
“It will have all of the action flick elements for sure,” said Raymond. “but we’re trying to also explore something a little bit more interesting, which is actually one of the themes that’s at the root of the franchise historically, but that never has been surfaced so much. I can’t really say much about Splinter Cell! I don’t want to say something that I’m not allowed to say.
It certainly sounds like there are positive things coming from Ms Raymond’s new studio – and one reason for that might be the fact that they drink an awful lot of beer. It does make you smarter, afterall.
“We have beer on tap!” she enthused. “We do an official party once a month and then every Friday informally everyone gets together. That’s the other thing that’s fun about building a studio – we get to design it from scratch. So we built a big open front office with a cafeteria and stuff where you can invite your friends and not worry about security. Beer on tap is there, we have a DJ booth, we’ve set up art gallery space and stuff…”
You can read the entire interview at CVG.