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Jade Raymond's Ubisoft Toronto Studio Looking For "Meaning"

The future of the industry is a hot topic of conversation, especially when it comes to maturing, progressing, and different ways of telling a story.

Ubisoft Toronto boss (and new mom) Jade Raymond feels that it's long past time for this industry to "grow up," and we can do it without simulating a brainless blockbuster in order to sell millions of copies. During a recent CVG interview, the former Assassin's Creed director spoke about how her studio plans to look into "meaning":

"I really do feel it's time for our medium to grow up. I think we don't need to make the equivalent to a Michael Bay flick in order to sell five million copies. I think things can be exciting, have meaning and hit important topics, and I'm not the only one that thinks that. There are major franchises trying to have more meaning and be something more interesting. We obviously tried a bit - and I hope it was obvious - to make a story with more meaning and mature themes in Assassin's Creed.

It's definitely something that we're pushing for at Ubisoft Toronto. I think every other entertainment medium or art form does manage to have commercial success and have the viewers or audience think or be inspired. Games, I think, have even more potential than that given that on top of the narrative side we do have all of the gameplay mechanics and we create rule sets from scratch which can have any kind of meaning embedded in them. It's not easy to do that, because it requires breaking our recipe and trying to find new recipes, but I think it's an important thing for us to strive for."

For a while now, we've been discussing the direction games should take; we've often referred to the likes of Heavy Rain as an example of storytelling progression. But there's a whole lot farther we can go, and it's all about exploring new ideas and how to implement those ideas. What we need are more people like Raymond who really do believe gaming needs to "grow up." Only then will it receive more respect.

...how long have I been saying that?

Tags: ubisoft, ubisoft toronto, jade raymond, gaming, video games

4/16/2012 9:00:34 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (16 posts)

karneli lll
Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 9:41:51 PM
Reply

She says that but her work points in the other direction.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 11:03:14 PM
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I'm glad her team will be attempting something grown up but I'm skeptical until I see some ideas. Beat the Kara tech demo and we'll talk. I suppose that blockbuster thing was a backhanded swing at Uncharted.

Heavy Rain was a big one, and I have the feeling The Last of Us will be another step so the bar will be set high. And it's sort of hard to make your mark on meaning with an annual release. If they make the next grown up game, it won't be as effective coming out every year.

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Lotusflow3r
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 12:10:30 AM
Reply

She's correct in that area alone. It won't be good without the other side either.

We need mindless fun games too. No, not CoD's, i'm talking your Just Cause, Duke Nukem, Borderlands, Worms, Mario, Sonic etc. I know she isn't saying "end them!", but too much maturity, realism or seriousness is unhealthy.

What we need more of is a level up from what she's talking about, and that's your Journey, Flower, Ico, Demons Souls, Lbp, Deus Ex, early Silent Hill's, etc. It's incredibly rare to come by a game like the above this generation.

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Palpatations911
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 12:37:41 AM
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More pictures of jade raymond plz

Agree with this comment 8 up, 4 down Disagree with this comment

homura
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 3:11:31 AM
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Just be creative and innovative in the story and gameplay aspect of the development of the game, we gamers will greatly appreciate it. It could be meaningful, hollywood blockbuster type cliche or even meaningless at all, it does'nt matter as long as you don't throw away creativeness and innovation in making a game and of course the fun factor, my money will be yours.

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 3:16:24 AM
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I think they definitely succeeded in doing that with Assassin's Creed. The concept for that series is amazing and their delivery of it has been pretty damn good too. I hope that she continues down that trend, but...

The end of her quote pertains to creating new recipes. That's all good and well, and they proved it possible with AC, among a number of fantastic titles this gen, but word on the street is that Ubi Toronto is working on Splinter Cell: Retribution. Unless they're changing up the series even more than Conviction, I just don't really see this as being something new. It'll be mature, sure, and it could well have a meaning or message within it, but I somehow doubt that it will be very different to what's come before.

Not that that is necessarily a bad thing.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 12:31:41 PM

What I enjoyed the most about my attempts to get into that series were the history lessons. It was kind of cool to see that picked up in L.A. Noire too.

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___________
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 5:52:49 AM
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""I really do feel it's time for our medium to grow up. I think we don't need to make the equivalent to a Michael Bay flick in order to sell five million copies"

A F*CKING MEN SISTER!!!!!!!!!!
exactly my problem with allot of games these days, too much like typical hollywood!
which is exactly why i enjoyed uncharted 3 allot more then uncharted 2.
ones a game, the other is a michael bay film!

this is what ive been saying for years, the industry needs to break of from trying to copy hollywood!
we dont need flashy graphics and big explosions to make a big selling game, we need a deep complex storyline concerning some big real world issues, characters people care about in a realistic setting.
AC was a brilliant step towards that, but we can go oh so much further!
we need more games that take a serious approach to the industry and try tell a story, try and be about something.
not just hey look at this pretty fireball, cough uncharted 2.......

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homura
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 6:30:53 AM

Just one of my complain to Assassin Creed, he's a talented killer and master in climbing walls but why he can't swim, even in a shallow canal. Details...

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___________
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 10:38:57 AM

huh?
you can swim.
in fact its one of the easiest ways to loose the guards!

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homura
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 11:14:45 AM

In the first Assassin's Creed he can't swim, that's the only game i have from the series.

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Teddie9
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 2:54:09 PM

if that's your only complaint then play the others......

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kokoro
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 7:59:08 AM
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Wow she is so cool *eyes sparkle in admiration*

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 12:31:53 PM

that ain't admiration.

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wackazoa
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 12:21:34 PM
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Nice to see that in a medium dominated by "men" as both the developers and players, that there are more and more influential females coming to the forefront. I believe that the Uncharted development team is ran by a woman as well. Maybe now we can stop hearing about the lopsided ratio of male to female in gaming.


By the way... Jade Raymond is an very attractive female at that. So now we can stop writing about woman like Jo Garcia just because she's very pretty. ( At least it seems that she's only covered becauses she's pretty.)

Last edited by wackazoa on 4/17/2012 12:22:18 PM

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karneli lll
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 2:26:02 PM

Its the world we live in; beauty over brains (sigh)

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