Ubiosft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat on Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell Conviction, Far Cry and more.
Ubisoft has plans. Big plans. Especially for Assassin's Creed. The first step on the long road to world domination began last night in a tiny cinema in a Camden hotel, where the games giant screened the first of three episodes of Assassin's Creed: Lineage, the new short film that combines computer generated imagery with live actors. Afterwards, we sat down with Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Toronto, the developers behind Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell and Far Cry, to find out just how big Assassin's Creed can get.
VideoGamer.com: Ubisoft is obviously trying to broaden the appeal of Assassin's Creed with the release of Assassin's Creed: Lineage. How big can Assassin's Creed become? Can it be the biggest name in gaming? Is that possible?
Yannis Mallat: It is possible, absolutely. Assassin's Creed is already the fastest selling new IP, two years ago, and that's good. I often say that we should not sometimes get too imprisoned with specific objectives, especially when we're talking about convergence. Let's say if we were to have an objective like produce a movie about the Assassin's Creed franchise for that date, we could have gone totally another way and that way would not have provided us with all the benefits that we have right now. We could have said, 'I'm going to outsource that stuff. I'm too busy making games and do this and do that', and then we would have missed a lot of things. First we would have missed the true convergence, which is to me making sure people who play the game, who consume the IP, are in the same world understanding more things. That we would have missed. We would also have missed all the knowledge we get trying to learn that field, trying to learn that trade, which is a trade Hollywood has been making for more than a century. Sometimes the value lies more on the path to get to the objective than on having an objective, if you know what I mean? Is Assassin's Creed going to be the biggest brand or name in the video game industry? I certainly hope so, and I would say we're doing everything we can so that it happens.
VideoGamer.com: Assassin's Creed 2 is going up against Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 this Christmas. Can Assassin's Creed 2 compete with the retail success of Modern Warfare 2? Does it have the potential to surpass it?
YM: It would certainly be too pretentious of me to try to predict the future. But I can certainly say there is no room any more for average or bad games, but there is still a lot of room for awesome games, and that's what Assassin's Creed is.
VideoGamer.com: What's your opinion on Activision's decision to price Modern Warfare 2 higher than normal? Did you ever consider doing the same thing for Assassin's Creed 2?
YM: I don't comment on other companies and their decisions. Regarding Assassin's Creed, it's a sequel that people expect. It's a sequel that allows us to prove to fans of the game, and non fans of the game, that we heard the feedback from the fans and we're definitely going to seduce even more people.
VideoGamer.com: Did you ever consider pricing Assassin's Creed 2 higher than normal?
YM: That question is going to have to be directed to the people who sell the games [laughs]. I'm the one making them [laughs]!
VideoGamer.com: Is the plan for Assassin's Creed to be a trilogy? Will you expand it into other genres, like we've seen Microsoft do with Halo post Halo 3?
YM: Assassin's Creed is a very clever and interesting brand that allows multiple opportunities. The whole concept of living ancestors' memory through DNA and the Animus stuff, definitely allows for multiple opus to exist through the same big story arc. That's all I can say for now.
VideoGamer.com: Your producer, Sébastien Puel, was quoted recently saying Ubisoft was considering setting Assassin's Creed 3 in World War II with a female assassin.
YM: I don't know where that came from.
VideoGamer.com: Is there any truth to that?
YM: If we were to officially dismiss some of the things that happen to be published or told on the internet... The content is being defined as we talk. I'm sure he didn't say that. You may have read that on the internet...
VideoGamer.com: You're still trying to work it out then?
YM: We're pretty into it.