Ubisoft Toronto aims for â??five triple-Asâ??

Ubisoft Toronto aims for â??five triple-Asâ??

By Rob Crossley

August 9th 2010 at 11:00AM

Studio boss Jade Raymond says the industry is changing the way it makes blockbusters

In a clear signal of the enormity of expectation at Ubisoft’s new Toronto outfit, the studio’s managing director has revealed ambitions to build five triple-A projects there.

Jade Raymond told Develop that the studio is already working on two “major” triple-A projects – one which is known to be the next Splinter Cell.

“We want to grow to 800 staff in ten years, we’re on two major projects now, and eventually we’ll be working on five,” she said.

“I can’t say specifics now, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves in our first year. But yeah, that’s the plan”.

Raymond previously revealed that the studio’s strategy is to focus on building triple-A projects, and nothing else. She told Develop that this strategy would naturally tempt developers to join the studio.

“The biggest draw we have is all the great things about a startup,” she said. “If developers have ambition to make triple-A projects, and want to have their place in what is a thriving start-up, the Ubisoft Toronto is the place for them.

“We have all that great stuff but much less of the risk, because we’re fully backed by Ubisoft and already have veteran staff”.

Ubisoft will eventually pump half a billion Canadian dollars into the new Toronto complex, which opened last year.

The local government has also signed a landmark deal with the publisher, and will invest a further quarter of a billion Canadian dollars over the next ten years, holding the belief that grand investment will bring jobs, commerce, and help the Toronto region thrive.

Ubisoft’s overarching development philosophy is to spread workloads across different studios for faster turnaround on bigger projects. The next Assassin’s Creed title, for example, is being built by five separate Ubisoft teams and will be released some twelve months after its predecessor.

With this strategy in place, it remains unclear whether Ubisoft Toronto will be used as the nucleus of the five triple-A projects that Raymond plans for the studio.

Regardless, she told Develop that Ubisoft's multi-studio approach is a necessity in the modern games industry.

“The bottom line is the way we are developing games today is changing,” she said.

“Games are growing into huge-scale triple-A projects. If you look at any big brand like GTA, the games are being done across multiple studios and multiple teams.

“Once your team reaches over 200 people – even if they’re in the same studio – you need complex management methods to make sure everything is held together; the feature development, the communication, and everything else”.