14 June 2023

8 Min Read

ubisoft forward june 2023

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot on a Future That Has Something For Everyone

At its most recent Ubisoft Forward, Ubisoft debuted one of its most diverse lineups yet. Games that span galaxies, games where time flows differently, games where you can off-road down a volcano, spanning across a variety of platforms big and small.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot is excited about a future packed full of variety, and he’s determined to break down barriers to deliver this lineup into the hands of as many players as possible. We sat down with him to talk through his strategy, Ubisoft’s future, and what this Ubisoft Forward meant to him.

[UN] [FWD] - Ubisoft Forward 2023 Recap - Star Wars Outlaws

Could you talk to me about the strategy behind Ubisoft's upcoming lineup? There are a lot of different types of games spanning a ton of different genres; I'm curious how it fits into a broader vision.

Yves Guillemot: This lineup is proof of all the work that has been done by our teams, who are constantly pushing for more quality experiences for our players. I’m very happy with the variety we’re offering, covering a wide range of experiences across many platforms. We have games from our biggest brands, as well as the exciting collaboration with Star Wars and Avatar - I believe we’ve got something that everyone can be excited about.

Where do you see Ubisoft's strength in the live game space? Capturing and retaining an audience in this space isn't easy.

YG: It's not easy, no, but games like Rainbow Six Siege and The Crew have helped us get to where we are now: it’s been an iterative process. It’s also crucial that we remain adaptable. We know that we’re in a quickly evolving industry and that players’ expectations change at the same pace, particularly when there’s an abundance of content at their disposal. By constantly challenging ourselves and reinventing based on player feedback, we ensure that we can offer meaningful experiences that will truly resonate with them in the long term.

[UN] [FWD] - Ubisoft Forward 2023 Recap - XDefiant

On the other hand, we have a different kind of experience with Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, which draws inspirations from Metroidvanias. What was the decision behind this type of genre for Ubisoft's Next Prince of Persia entry?

YG: We wanted to show what we can do in these other genres and bring the Ubisoft flavor into something unexpected. In the case of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, the goal was to ask ourselves, " can we go even further than what already exists on the market?” The team at Ubisoft Montpellier is composed of industry veterans who have already worked together on other Ubisoft games like Rayman, and on some previous Prince of Persia opuses. I’m very excited for players to get their hands on it.

We’re also getting a slightly smaller assassins experience with Mirage. Do leaner games like Mirage fit into Assassin's Creeds future?

YG: The Assassin’s Creed universe is growing and there's room for all kinds of experiences, big and small, on every device. This is part of our ambition to turn the Assassin’s Creed brand into a rich universe, offering memorable, complementary gameplay experiences on many platforms. And, as it’s an homage to the very first Assassin’s Creed, it’s a great way for brand new players to have the type of experience many people were able to have in the past.

[UN] [FWD] - Ubisoft Forward 2023 Recap - Prince of Persia The lost Crown

It feels like Ubisoft is starting to remix, I suppose, the type of formulas players have come to expect. Do you see that trend continuing?

YG: We’ve always had a deep and varied portfolio of games, and one of our strengths is the wide range of IPs we have in house. With those IPs, we want to bring a rich variety of gameplay that can deliver something for every fan or player. There’s room for all platforms and different types of genres and working across a wide variety encourages our teams to continue to be creative.

Ubisoft has collaborated with Disney on two very big brands. How does that partnership fit into your overall strategy for the future?

YG: We're focused on delivering the best experience we can for players, whether that is through our own brands, or by working with other entertainment leaders. Creating games for iconic franchises like Star Wars and Avatar is a unique opportunity to reach passionate new audiences and to learn from some of the best in the business.

[UN] [FWD] - Ubisoft Forward 2023 Recap - Avatar

How is Ubisoft uniquely positioned to lead on a AAA Star Wars game?

YG: Ubisoft has a unique talent for creating immersive worlds through cross studio collaboration, and we share a vision with Lucasfilm Games of the kind of original stories we want to tell in this expansive galaxy. We have the creativity, experience and understanding to bring authenticity, depth and innovation to this new Star Wars game. We also know players have been anticipating an open world Star Wars game for years. We have the opportunity, the teams and technology to deliver an unforgettable experience and bring this legendary galaxy to life for players to explore. Ubisoft is bringing Star Wars games to the next level thanks to our unique know-how of open worlds and our powerful and versatile in-house Snowdrop engine; I believe we’ll deliver one of the best Star Wars games ever.

Both the Star Wars and Avatar projects are being led by Massive - how was that decision made, and why is it the right studio to take on these brands?

YG: Thanks to its exceptional talents in-house and across Ubisoft, Massive has the power to create truly breathtaking game worlds, already enjoyed by millions of players. It is a home for experienced, innovative, and creative minds, that hosts both game production and technology teams that help us push the boundaries of gaming. Using the Snowdrop game engine, originally created at Massive for the first The Division game, the studio can continue to build on their long legacy of innovation. It has always had the courage to explore new frontiers and perspectives, and Snowdrop empowers this work. Because of this, the team’s attention to even the smallest details, and the innovative technologies they work with at the studio, they have been trusted by Disney, Lightstorm and Lucasfilm to tell brand new stories set in the universes of Star Wars and Avatar.

What can Snowdrop and Anvil bring to the future of Ubisoft's games?

YG: Innovation in gaming often happens through innovation in technologies – it’s thanks to the innovative approach we had with Anvil and the first Assassin’s Creed that we came to redefine the concept of Open Worlds. Building our own in-house engines means our core technology is as close as possible to our creators’ needs; our engines are designed to unleash the creativity of our games and their unique DNA. We’ve invested a lot recently in strengthening and streamlining our two main engines, Anvil and Snowdrop, which will boost innovation our pipelines and allow our creative teams to focus on making great games. These engines are a fundamental differentiating element that allow us to build innovative features that only Ubisoft games can offer.

[UN] [FWD] - Ubisoft Forward 2023 Recap - The Division Resurgence

You’ve mentioned getting Ubisoft's games into as many hands as possible. Where does mobile fit in 2023? What new ground can still be broken in the mobile space?

YG: What we think of as ‘AAA mobile’ is still an area of growth. There are few games out there, but there's plenty more to do. Assassin's Creed Jade looks fantastic on mobile, as does The Division Resurgence. Most people have a mobile phone, so there's huge opportunity there for people who are not able to play on PlayStation, Xbox or on PC to experience our games.

Finally, why was this Forward so important to Ubisoft?

YG: Forward is a way for us to show our creativity. When we put everyone together, players see the energy and passion we put into these games, and it’s electric. We’re also presenting one of our most exciting and diverse line ups in history. It’s great to be able to show players what we have in store for them and remind them that we’re committed to delivering the best experiences they expect from us.

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