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Ubisoft: Annual Releases "Keeps The Brand In People's Minds"

Some people aren't big fans of the "annualization" of video game franchises, arguing that rapid-fire releases can impact product quality.

Well, Assassin's Creed developer Ubisoft says that yes, in fact, it's all about quality, but there's still a definite upside to launching a new series iteration on an annual basis: It keeps the brand "in people's minds."

Ubisoft Montreal creative director Alex Hutchinson spoke at GDC Europe about the subject and as reported by Eurogamer, he says if the quality is there, why shouldn't they release a new entry every year? Said Hutchinson:

"I find it strange we've decided yearly is too often. If Radiohead put out an album every month, I'd buy it. It's about the quality."

They can also "keep telling the story," which makes the franchise feel more continuous, and he likened the difference between Assassin's Creed II and Assassin's Creed III to the gap between Call of Duty and Medal of Honor. Basically, he says his team treated this year's AC as an "entirely new franchise," which we don't necessarily doubt. Also, it's important to note that if a brand name lingers too long and doesn't remain active, popularity can take a nose-dive...

Anybody recall the lower-than-anticipated sales of Max Payne 3 and Twisted Metal just this year...?

Tags: ubisoft, annual game releases, assassins creed, assassins creed sequel

8/15/2012 8:54:11 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (17 posts)

bigrailer19
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 @ 9:33:05 PM
Reply

That's the thing... Sure it keeps the game in people's minds but unless you keep doing something to keep it there, well there is an adverse effect. The great thing about Ubisoft and AC is it keeps getting better. I'll even say Revelations stepped up and provided many new features I thought were engaging to say the least.

CoD on the other hand is slowly getting worse. Not rapidly as the series is still great in my opinion. But none of the games compare Modern Warfare so case in point. The online is always good don't get me wrong, it's fun, and exciting but again the developers keep going for over the top, when Modern Warfare succeeded with simplicity.

Keep the quality up or increasing and annual releases can be a great thing to look forward too.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 8/15/2012 9:33:37 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 @ 10:27:22 PM
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Normally I'm against the whole thing but ya know what? Go ahead and do it. It just means the game will be dirt cheap faster and there's no reason at all to buy it on day 1.

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kraygen
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 @ 11:24:54 PM
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My only problem is that annual game releases tend to make the product rushed and it usually seems as though the just put a new coat of paint on it.

Not a fan, but apparently I'm in the minority because all these annual games seem to sell more than any others. Call of Duty for instance.

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BikerSaint
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 12:30:32 AM
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Just don't frigging cut out any more parts of the game just to make DLC, like you did to the sequences 12 & 13 in ACII.

Gamers may forgive but we don't forget(or at least I'm one that doesn't forget).

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Fane1024
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 6:56:26 PM

They really weren't integral, to be fair.

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Beamboom
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 12:41:23 AM
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The main problem with annualization is not an eventual quality decline: It's that no matter how good the franchise is, I eventually *will* get tired of the setting.

He compares it to music - something I think is ridiculous cause they are not comparable. Music is something you can play in the background while doing other things. Games are not like that at all.

Games should rather be compared with movies. And if there was a new James Bond movie every single year, no matter how good they were I *would* grow tired of them.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/16/2012 12:43:24 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 1:15:50 AM

The last thing I'd want from a favorite band is a new album every month, no room for them to get creative.

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Rogueagent01
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 1:27:42 AM

I agree oversaturation is far worse than a few people forgeting about something. You want to watch a franchise die then annualization is the way to go. As long as quality is the focus then you could (in my opinion) release a game once every ten years and still make a boatload of cash.

He used music in his example, I think that was a mistake as many bands choose to take long breaks in between albums and guess what, they still have their fans. Tool is a prime example they release an album normally around every 5 years and their fan base has done nothing but get bigger.

I'm starting to really wonder what Ubi is thinking in this last year, and I am nervous that they are starting to go down a very slippery slope that is very hard to climb out of once you reach the bottom. I just hope they catch their mistakes before it is to late.

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Beamboom
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 8:30:02 AM

@World: I don't think he's meant to be taken literary. But say once a year, I don't think I'd mind a new album from my favourite artists with that interval.

But not even my absolute favourite game franchises, like anything from Bioware or Fallout or Bioshock, would survive an annual release. It would be way too much!

@Rogue: Ah, "oversaturation" is the word of course. Yeah.
I like Ubisoft and think most of what that babe is saying is worth listening to, but I don't see this statement here as more than plain marketing speech to back their release plan.

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/16/2012 8:31:45 AM

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 3:40:50 AM
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Obviously it does, but a memorable brand will stay in people's mind regardless of how often a new entry hits. I mean, GTA is as big as ever and I can't count how many times I've read of people mentioning their desires for a new Shenmue. It isn't about maintaining the brand; it's about the sales that they get year over year. And yeah, the can expand the story but when those expansions start to get tired and repetitive, I fail to see the point of them. There needs to be a balance, and I think that Capcom may just have the right idea with their goal of a new entry in their main franchises every 2.5 years.

Seriously, you bring out a new entry every year and things have to get tired sooner or later.

As for AC3 being treated as a new franchise, does this mean that we'll be subject to a continuation of the story of Connor for the next two or three years? Joy...

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bigrailer19
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 9:22:01 AM

I'm ok with that being the case, having Connor show up a couple of more times. AC2 was great but it wasn't until Brotherhood I actually really started to enjoy Ezio. I liked Brotherhood better, it's my favorite to date. So considering the quality keeps going up, as is the trend then I'll look forward to it.

Although I did hear that AC3 is meant to be the last for Desmonds story, so...

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 8/16/2012 9:22:51 AM

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___________
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 4:12:56 AM
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oh hogswash!
half life 3 has not been out for centuries, yet the brand is still "in gamers minds"!
every year is too short for a game like AC, you cant create the experience you need to deliver in a single year!
theres a reason why brotherhood was pretty crap, and revelations was awesome!
the team who did brotherhood had 1 year to make it!
the team who did revelations was actually the team who did 2 so they had 2 years to work on it, the team who did brotherhood was a different team within ubisoft montreal.

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Vivi_Gamer
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 4:43:36 AM
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I does keep the product in ones mind, but due to the progress of the project I fallen so far behind. I have Brotherhood on myself still waiting to be played. So the fact that I am 2-3 games behind is rather off putting to be honest.

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wackazoa
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 9:42:54 AM
Reply

Says the same company that thinks a "holodeck" is a good idea. Im going with no....

Last edited by wackazoa on 8/16/2012 9:43:03 AM

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Beamboom
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 9:53:39 AM

Holodeck *is* a good idea! Don't question Star Trek, ffs!

;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 1:12:05 PM

Great idea, feasibility low for the next 100 years.

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Beamboom
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 2:51:03 PM

lol @ World

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