Ubiosft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat on Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell Conviction, Far Cry and more.
VideoGamer.com: How do you see motion sensing technologies like Microsoft's Natal and Sony's Wand fitting in with Assassin's Creed? Some gamers are sceptical about how motion sensing will work with more core focused games. Can it work with a game like Assassin's Creed?
YM: Yes, why not? There's always room for good experiences, no matter how you bring them to the people, through interaction devices or whatever. If it's good we are probably investigating that. It could enhance the experience in a good way.
VideoGamer.com: So Natal and the like can work with any kind of game, core and casual?
YM: I don't know. We are experimenting stuff, and if it does work and if it does make sense regarding the population of people who play our games, whether they're hardcore, casual, whatever, we'll investigate. That's all I can say.
VideoGamer.com: Assassin's Creed: Lineage is a short film. Would you ever consider making an Assassin's Creed feature film?
YM: Well, again, we may end up there. What the strategy is all about for now is making sure we learn and making sure we get that knowledge. Realising, making it happen, the convergence, is already helping us make better games. Already. I was telling people how the joint casting between movie project and game project helped us tremendously to achieve a quality level on the cinematic side of the game that was never reached before. This is because we're working with movie people who have been doing that stuff for, again, more than a century. What's important for us is to master everything and keep learning through projects like Assassin's Creed: Lineage, and by the way you definitely may see other initiatives like this on other brands such as Far Cry, for example. Are we going to be ready one day to self produce a long feature? Maybe. But we certainly are not pretentious enough to say, 'we can do a long feature movie... blah blah blah'. Baby steps. We do baby steps. Yes the baby is getting bigger, but it's still baby steps.
VideoGamer.com: You mentioned Far Cry. Now that you've had time to reflect on Far Cry 2, do you consider it a success?
YM: Yes, absolutely. It's been a success more in Europe than in the US. To us it's a very solid brand that can still grow a lot.
VideoGamer.com: Patrick Redding has been quoted as saying the development team is committed to the Africa setting. Is it likely that Far Cry 3 will be set in Africa or are you considering alternative settings?
YM: It's too early to comment on Far Cry 3.
VideoGamer.com: You mentioned that Far Cry 2 was better received in Europe than in the US. Why do you think that was so?
YM: It's a traditional European brand. It's more encoded into the DNA in Europe than it is in the US. It's a historical reason that allows us to come up and fill that gap and have the brand growth.
VideoGamer.com: Moving onto Splinter Cell: Conviction, the game was recently put back to February next year. What has the extra time allowed the development team to improve?
YM: The answer definitely is that Splinter Cell: Conviction will be a better game in February than any time earlier. The level of polish that we are achieving as we speak is definitely worth the wait. You know Ubisoft is committed to quality. We apply that to all our games. Splinter Cell is not excluded from that.
VideoGamer.com: We're a multiplatform website, and we have many PS3-owning fans who would love to play Splinter Cell: Conviction. Do you have any message for them? Is there any hope for the future for them regarding the game?
YM: There is always hope.
VideoGamer.com: Does that mean Splinter Cell: Conviction might come to the PS3?
YM: I can't predict the future. But it's good to hear that people who can't play Splinter Cell are willing to.
VideoGamer.com: Where did Ubisoft's love affair with Tom Clancy originate from and why is Tom Clancy held in such high regard by Ubisoft?
YM: It's a brand that's worth a lot, you know? It's a brand that allows for multiple stories to be told. It's a fantastic brand. We got the video game rights in 2000, maybe. Since then, as you say, it has been a love affair, so we made sure we got everything.
The first of three episodes of Assassin's Creed: Lineage will debut on YouTube on October 27, 2009. Assassin's Creed 2 is scheduled for release on Xbox 360 and PS3 on November 20, 2009. The game will be released for PC in 2010.