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Gamer expectation limits innovation, says Ubisoft Toronto boss

by Ethan Powers on August 13, 2012


Think of the last title you bought at launch. After getting home, popping it in your console and spending a few hours with it, did it meet all of the expectations you had set for it? Chances are, there was some facet or aspect of the game that you didn’t enjoy, something that didn’t live up to the initial perceptions you developed for it and as a result, you may have found yourself disappointed and yearning to express that dissatisfaction to other gamers via message boards and Internet forums. While gamers are constantly looking to justify their $60 purchases, Ubisoft Toronto boss Jade Raymond believes that consumers have set unattainable heights for developers, which in-turn smothers creativity and innovation.

“One of the things I see that’s different [about the industry today] is that our audience expects perfection,” Raymond told Official Xbox Magazine UK in a recent interview. “Before, there were only, say, two million people playing games – they were real fans and they were playing every game. They were willing to forgive bugs, and try things that weren’t as much fun because they were different. Now, there are 30 million people buying and they only buy the top five. They expect perfection. I think that growing up with everything being so good, so easy to use, there are certain expectations.”

Raymond implied that when gamers expect such unreasonable goals for anticipated titles, they’re correspondingly opposing originality within the gaming industry, forcing developers to regress to hackneyed genres and to create IPs they know will be financially successful.

“It’s not very forgiving,” she said. “It does limit innovation, because if something isn’t working as you get towards shipping, you have to cut it or revert to back what you know does work.”

Upon being asked whether or not it is the responsibility of tech holders, rather than developers, to usher in the next generation of gaming by providing more powerful platforms and equipment, Raymond said that it is, to an extent.

“I do think that certain topics, in order to be treated properly, do need a certain level of polish and quality,” she said. “It’d be hard to compellingly, let’s say, capture that walk of an old person to the bus in a way that makes you feel something without a certain level of HD quality.”

She continued:

“Hopefully advances in the platform will let us continue pushing things. Other concepts are much easier to develop and iterate in the context of an indie game – a lot of the most innovative stuff recently hasn’t been driven by better processors.”

A while back, Raymond called upon fellow developers to create games that deal with more mature themes. Her studio at Ubisoft Toronto is taking her advice to heart, as the E3 2012 reveal of Splinter Cell: Blacklist showed Sam Fisher conducting a fairly graphic and realistic terrorist interrogation. The game is currently scheduled to release in Spring of next year.

Source: OXM UK via GameSpot

Say Something
  • Jahnny b

    For every game being baselined at release for 60$ a pop, i think gamers have the right to expect high levels of production from developers. When games become competitively priced on release, maybe the gaming industry will ser a change. I mean really, do you think a movie based game such as spiderman, is worh 60$ compared to say cod also worth 60$?

  • The Future of Sega

    What the hell do they expect, for gamers just to bend over and purchase shitty games!? There’s a reason why we purchase Blockbuster selling titles because the game developers PUT FORTH THE EFFORT!!!…except for EA cough Madden cough…

    Do you really think I would pay $60 for a repetitive NON-INNOVATIVE game like that!?!? I don’t think so. When you make crappy games expect crappy sales. YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW MORONS!!!! Owned.

  • IHATEHIPSTERS

    haha what a joke splinter cell isnt mature. using a mouslim as a punching bag isnt really pushing the medium. anyways games in general are getting less exciting, we really need next gen.

    • Frank

      No need to be racist dude. And we as Americans wonder why were the worlds most hated country…

  • Frank

    Sorry that we as gamers expect QUALITY. $60 a game is getting harder and harder to do. 1) because it’s expensive 2) with school and work in the way, we have a lot less time to play. The last $60 game I bought was kingdoms of Amalur, which I regret. Good game, but not $60 good. A few weeks ago I bought Mass Effect 3 for $30, and Dues Ex for $20. $50 for two amazing games, and neither were used. Totally dont mind that I got them later.

  • njb

    simple fact is that Gaming has become Too Mainstream.

    Most Multiplatforms r just ways to get money and games like COD dont do the industry any favours. it mite be easy to pick up and play but its not innovative and the majority who play it are younger than the PEGI Age Rating and thefact that ppl pay ridiculas amounts of money to play the same game.

    i COuld never buy a 360 buy COD, pay for LIVE and then Pay for COD Elite. its like £300 just to play 1 game to its fullest. I think that the Core Gamers need to say something or boycott products. You cant expect innovation if you buy a reskinned product on a yearly basis.

    Games used to take a while to develop and most Dev wouldnt dream of releasing an unfinished game. Id be ashamed to release something that is not complete. Its like anyone in a creative industry. I wouldnt want to release a Album or a film thats purely just to get money. Dont ppl take pride in their work anymore. Its always about Money and thats the problem.

    Thats why i like exclusives. Thats the reason I brought a PS3. MGS4 and then we got at least 8 exclusives a year. New IP’s and sequels.

    And the fanboys who r just ignorant dont help either.

    Plus the community the game has also has a massive impact.

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