Ubisoft's Alain Corre isn't worried about the rise in mobile gaming. On the contrary, Corre, who heads up the company's overseas operations, seems to welcome the uptick in iOS and Android gamers and not resignedly, either. "What we like in mobile gaming is that it's bringing a lot of new people to games," he told us. "Which for us is very good because it's a teaching thing and... at one point, some of them will feel a bit limited with the scope of mobile games and they'll want to experience something different in gaming." Whether it's the limitations of the casual genre or outright boredom, Corre's confident a chunk of these new gaming converts will seek out home console or PC experiences. Something that's more along the lines of a Watch Dogs or Assassin's Creed, perhaps. And with the advent of the next-gen, the timing for this gaming initiation couldn't be better for Ubisoft.
And then there was Wii U. Ubisoft famously announced Rayman Legends as a console exclusive for Nintendo's platform at launch and then publicly reversed course when systems sales flagged. The title's now set for an imminent multiplatform release, but don't expect Corre to speak ill of Nintendo's two-screened gambit. "We consider the Wii U a great machine [and] the GamePad is second to none... We just need Nintendo to put more energy [in]. A lot of consumers will want this machine if the energy is put in." It's a bullish outlook especially considering ZombieU, a launch exclusive that took full advantage of the GamePad, failed to fly off shelves. Yet, Corre believes the market is still there for the Wii U and that games like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros could help Nintendo see a change of fortune. At which point, Ubisoft will be ready to allocate development resources back to the console. For now, though, there's Just Dance and Rayman Legends on the horizon, and maybe even some Rayman DLC. "That's something we are thinking of for Rayman Legends. There may be some extra things we can do for this game."
Nintendo's second screen isn't the only one Ubisoft's focused on. Both Microsoft and Sony have solutions in place for their respective next-gen consoles and Corre is adamant that Ubisoft will support those experiences. He explained that this strategy would be an organic, integral part of all game development, saying that, "For us, we consider that, moving forward, the big experiences will need to have a second screen experience because it's part of the gameplay. So, all this extra gameplay will become... natural for the next big games." But don't take that as a catch-all pledge. Corre was cagey when we asked specifically about blanket PS Vita Remote Play support -- despite Sony's Shuhei Yoshida's insistence that Remote Play support exists on a system level for the vast majority of PS4 games -- a function only recently demoed for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. Corre admitted that it would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Our chat then turned to the talk of the Oculus Rift, a device many deem to be the true, far-off future of gaming. Surprisingly, Corre has yet to try the VR headset, but appeared enthusiastic about its prospects, telling us that he sees it as an essential spur of innovation, as being "very good for our market because it pushes the boundaries." He also went on to add that Ubisoft is "looking at [Oculus Rift development] carefully." So, Ubisoft's studios are tinkering with the Rift, but Corre wouldn't cop to how far along any actual game release might be.As for Ubisoft's more immediate fortunes, Corre couldn't be more pleased. He remarked on the continued build of buzz around Watch Dogs, which the company is heavily promoting, and pre-orders for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, which he said were "well above what we were expecting," as evidence of a healthy appetite for next-gen consoles. And, based on the turnout at this year's Gamescom, we couldn't agree more.