The last time I spoke to Yves Guillemot he was in the midst of defending Ubisoft, a company he started with his brothers, from a hostile takeover. His focus was on extolling the virtues of Ubisoft’s independence, not allowing outsiders to disrupt the creative rhythm of its developers, and ensuring that it can continue to operate with the agility that has allowed it to become one of the biggest publishers in the video game industry.
Having successfully protected his company from Vivendi, Guillemot is now casting his gaze outward. Prior to the start of Gamescom, he sent out a statement in which he took stock of where gaming is now and where it’s headed. “In the coming decade, games not only will continue to benefit from human advancement and technological disruptions,” he said. “And as more people become players, I am confident that the collective power of play will have an increasingly positive role in our world.
“Games soon will do more than leverage the latest technologies and trends. They will become a force for change, the alternative reality that improves reality … Our next challenge, collectively, is to push beyond the boundaries of entertainment, and to create experiences that show the world the potential that games and play have in positively shaping all of our lives.”
During the show, GameSpot had the opportunity to talk to Guillemot once again, and in addition to discussing the state of some of Ubisoft’s biggest franchises, we also talked about this statement, his vision for the future of gaming, how Ubisoft is approaching one of today’s biggest gaming trends, and its blossoming relationship with Nintendo.
The last time we spoke it was around the time when you were dealing with Vivendi, and you were quite candid about how that was. With that behind you, what’s Ubisoft like now, what is your mind state, and how are the developers at Ubisoft feeling now?
First, we are very happy they are gone. And what we like in the industry is that there are always new challenges and new opportunities. So our teams are really looking at how they can create the next experiences that will use the potential of the new technologies, so we are very excited about the promise of technology to transform the video game industry.
The big things you talked about when discussing the state of Ubisoft and defending against Vivendi were creativity and agility. Until now, however, we’ve seen quite similar experiences like the Assassin’s games–which took a break and now is back–but we’re still seeing a lot of familiar franchises. How long do you think it’s going to be before we start seeing the fruits of those labors, the new experiences you’re working on now?
On Assassin’s, we had a game [in 2018] and we have one this year, but we are not going to have a full-fledged Assassin’s next year. It’s just because the team were working separately, so we have two games now, one year after the other. But next year you’re not going to have a fully fledged one.
Okay, so it’s going to be a smaller one, or just no new Assassin’s?
What you’ll have is lots of content coming on [Assassin’s Creed Odyssey]. The team really want to give, on a regular basis, some new possibilities for play, so when you get [Odyssey] this year, you’re going to get in for a couple of years, actually.