After helping create one of the most popular and critically acclaimed franchises of the generation – Assassin's Creed – producer Jade Raymond moved into a new role: managing director of Ubisoft's new studio up in Toronto.
And although we haven't heard anything specific about their work, Raymond recently spoke at the DICE 2011 event during a "Creating Blockbuster IP for Generation C" session. Here, she spoke about the current state of the industry and how video games may take some cues from more casual, or "social," games, like the ones found on Facebook. As time goes on, "there are a ton of new screens and platforms that gaming developers can target," in addition to new ways of interfacing with our games (Kinect, Move, mobile phones, etc.). As of now, games can be considered a mass market industry, and she punctuated this with the following statement-
"We aren't selling games to just nerds in their basements. We are selling games to people who don't really even consider themselves gamers."
As for why people play games these days, Raymond believes it's all about the "satisfaction of feeling progression, knowing that you're doing well, and mastering something." She also says humans are just a lot more fun to play with than AI, which is why incorporating social elements in games is so crucial. Take all this info and maybe we have a clue as to Raymond's new project; that aforementioned new IP. Well, she definitely thinks it's a good time to "start with a blank slate" and the process of thinking about a new IP is an evolution rather than a revolution. In regards to Assassin's Creed , she said the team spent a year of pre-production, thinking about the future direction of the series if the first hit big (which it did).
The next step involves turning it all over to the fans. They're the ones that keep it "fresh and relevant," and this is the difference between AC and Raymond's new project: whereas AC was created to turn over to the pros, she wants to produce something that's handed over to the fans. That's all we've got for now but she also said that in order to create a blockbuster product, one must build up the hype. It has to be akin to "film or TV" and "games aren't so much just a topic of conversation around the water cooler; they're becoming the water cooler itself." In short, she hopes her game will become a "place of conversation and that it will be a widely shared pastime." …what, like baseball?
Well, if you want to build the buzz, you had best let us in on the goods…when can we see it, Jade?