At this year’s E3 Expo, Ubisoft has been celebrating their 30th birthday. That’s a lot of years publishing and making video games! Ubisoft’s impressive back catalogue shows how consistent and dedicated they are to distributing great video games for everyone no matter their interests or age.
From their humble beginnings in a village in Brittany, France, the Guillemot brother’s business has grown into a multinational company with offices in over 15 countries. They are the third largest independent publishers, marginally behind Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts (EA) and have hundreds of game titles under their belt. Ubisoft continues to be a frontrunner in developing new gaming technologies and always striving to bring new gaming experiences to players.
Having published many smaller games through the late 80s and early 90s such as Unreal (1990), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1993), and Street Racer (1994), Ubisoft really hit the big time when they released Rayman. Developed by LudiaMedia (now called Ubisoft Montpellier), Rayman was available on the Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn and MS-DOS but had its most popular outing on the PlayStation. The game sold 900,000 copies in two years and was voted as “Best Music in a CD-ROM Game” and “Best Animation” at the 1995 Video Game Awards. It is the best-selling PlayStation game in the UK having sold approximately 2 million copies.
Rayman is now one of the iconic images of Ubisoft, has spawned an entire series of games and is as popular now as it was in the 90s. In 2006, Rayman was joined by the Raving Rabbids, a deranged group of rabbits who enjoy getting up to no good and wreaking havoc.
In 2000, Red Storm Entertainment became a subsidiary of Ubisoft. The studio had already released Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six in 1998 to great acclaim, so when the two released Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear, it was no surprise that it was a success. Since then, there have been over 12 other titles in the Rainbow Six series and the franchise is always pushing the limits of first person shooters.
Ubisoft is renowned for picking up big names to publish and in the early 2000’s they started to publish games developed by Cyan Inc, the masterminds behind the Myst and Uru series. 2003 saw Ubisoft release the first Uru title, Beyond the Myst. Further titles were published in 2004 and 2005. Since then Cyan Inc has released their own Myst and Uru games.
Sometimes even the big guns find an opportunity to work together and Ubisoft did just that in 2002 when they worked with Bethesda on publishing The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Morrowind is the third installment in The Elder Scrolls series and won a multitude of awards including Game of the Year and sold over 4 million copies.
To jump forward to today, Ubisoft is now heading into a different area of entertainment — video game-based movies. This year, Assassin’s Creed is coming to the big screen headed up with Michael Fassbender in the lead role. The Assassin’s Creed series began in 2007 when Ubisoft Montreal released the first in series. The game followed Desmond Miles as he viewed and controlled history through the eyes of his genetic ancestor, an assassin called Altair. The game was set during the time of the Third Crusade in 1191. The other Assassin’s Creed games follow the same basic principal but take place across lots of different eras in a fictional history but based on real world events. The motion picture will be set in 15th century Spain and is due to release December 16th.
We would both be here all day if I listed every single hit game that Ubisoft has worked on in their 30 years in the business. From Settlers IV to CSI, Batman to Prince of Persia, there is no genre Ubisoft hasn’t been involved in. Keeping up with current gaming trends, they announced two new titles at the E3 conference for the Virtual Reality (VR) crowd – Eagle Flight, which lets players soar through the skies of a barren futuristic Paris through the eyes of Eagles, and Star Trek: Bridge Crew, which allows you and your friends to take the helm of a Starfleet starship to explore and discover new planets and civilizations.
Who knows where else Ubisoft will take us in the realms of VR? Maybe we’ll see a VR Rainbow Six or Assassins Creed title in the future? Everyone desires to see more games from their favourite developers, what are you hoping the future will bring from Ubisoft? Will they still be around in another 30 years? Let us know your thoughts below.