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Really Ubisoft? Why does everything need to be a big franchise?

Focusing on franchises alone will not a good game industry make

So most people in the gaming community now know Ubisoft has announced that in the future they are not going to even bother thinking about making a game that does not have the potential to be made into a franchise.

"That's what all our games are about; we won't even start if we don't think we can build a franchise out of it. There's no more fire and forget – it's too expensive."

Tony Key in an interview with [a]ListDaily

 

Not Every Story Needs a Sequel

Does this mean that they are going to continue smothering their IPs with a pillow until there is no life left in them whatsoever? While I personally hope that they pack in endless sequels to Assassin’s Creed because I have really enjoyed those games; I'll admit even I have been getting a bit tired of AC since Revelations.

Some games only require one game to be able to tell their story, and there are some games from Ubisoft, like The Division, which at first glance don’t seem to have much need for a sequel. But Ubisoft’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Tony Key, said “It is too expensive"... Really?

 

Budget Vs. Quality

Just because they are making a game does not mean it needs a big AAA budget.

If you look at the overall spending used for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings next to the marketing cost alone for both Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty it is nearly twenty times as much, not to mention that the graphics in Witcher were absolutely breath taking.

For those whom are interested in the figures, in total the development costs of the vanilla version of Witcher 2 set CD Projekt Red back $7.97 million, whereas the marketing both Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 was budgeted by EA and Activition at around $100 million each, meaning that you could develop the vanilla version of witcher more that ten times before you hit even one of their marketing figures!

 

Not All or Nothing

I am not saying that all games should be stand alone; different ideas have different levels of story capabilities, and some work well across a franchise. But I feel that Ubisoft is making a mistake - there are games that aren’t franchises which are successful. A good example of standalone games is every game from Quantic Dream, who use writing from David Cage to deliver great games like Omikron: The Nomad Soul and Fahrenheit, which don’t require a sequel, and they are releasing yet another new IP in October, Beyond: Two Souls starring the voice of Ellen Page.

Come on Ubisoft - don't pass up a great game just because it's a challenge.

Published Aug. 12th 2013
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    I agree 100%. I think it may be because every game they make they try to put both incredibly high fidelity...graphics, audio, animation, voices, sound design. And then also try to have longish stories (for about 12 hours+), along with gameplay which is good. If they dropped some of it, so maybe making a shorter game, with the graphics, they could just release a 'tech demo'. Then when they have the assets put that into a larger game, and focus on making a longer story, or massive world.

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