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Jade Raymond optimistic of new studios, IP development


Ubisoft Toronto Managing Director Jade Raymond's presentation at DICE expressed her belief that despite the current upheaval in the industry, she believes now is a great time to start a studio. Referencing EA Sports boss Peter Moore's speech about the industry being on a "burning oil platform" -- the idea being that it only changes when it has to -- Raymond believes it's more like a burning oil tanker that can course correct. One would hope she'd be optimistic about current core development being viable, considering she manages, what will become in time, one of the biggest studios in the industry.

In terms of IP development, she explained that the Ubisoft team spent a year of pre-production building the foundations of the Assassin's Creed franchise. "We spent quite a bit of time during conception thinking about the franchise metastory and story arc. And, most importantly, thinking of how to make sandboxes that future game teams and future teams in other media would be able to experiment and come up with their own stuff in this franchise." Regarding the ability to do Assassin's Creed comics, TV or a movie down the road, "You'll never get the best out of people if you just hand them this stone tablet."

Clearly showing her roots working on The Sims Online, it's quite obvious Raymond is a disciple of Will Wright's ideas about fan involvement in franchises. "I think you need to rely on fans," believing that the fan community will identify the best ideas to work from. She Iterated a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson for the video game industry: Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small franchises.

Raymond made clear that Assassin's Creed was designed as a franchise that could be handed over to professionals to expand the world, she said that the next IP Ubisoft is creating in Toronto will hopefully be "handed over to fans."

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