Ubisoft happy with what it has done on Wii U thus far, other comments
Ubisoft France head Xavier Poix conducted an interview with GamesBeat at DICE 2013, and one of the topics discussed was, unsurprisingly, the Wii U. Below you’ll find a roundup of Poix’s comments, which include his contentedness with Ubisoft’s implementation of asymmetrical gameplay and approach to the console overall, what the company has learned, and more.
Poix on the process of getting Ubisoft’s Wii U games out at launch…
“Yeah. Our focus in this case is that we needed to make sure that we found the new innovation that the console is bringing. I think we’ve done a good job as far as what we’ve been able to provide in terms of asymmetrical gameplay. Our goal was to find new ways of playing with that, and we’ve done it.
“Of course, it’s the launch window, so you need to wait for the final results. Nintendo is talking about that a lot. The figures aren’t as high as what they were expecting. But for us it’s been good. What we’ve discovered building games on this technology at launch — on the multiscreen approach, on having another kind of controller in the living room. It will bring something very new in terms of gaming. It wasn’t as easy and obvious for them, compared to the Wii, to communicate those ideas. It will take some time. But we’re very proud of what we’ve done. Since we have so many games that we’ll be releasing, the people who will buy the console will eventually play good games on it. We think that especially with ZombiU, for instance, and Rayman Legends, they’ll have something to play for a long time.”
Poix on what else is still coming to Wii U…
“I can’t disclose any other projects. Today our focus is on Rayman Legends. I don’t know if you had the chance to play it, but it brings something that hasn’t been seen on the Wii U so far, with the multiple gameplay types. It’s very interesting. The demo showed some, but we have so many more to show in the next month.”
Poix on any Wii U feedback that was interesting to him…
“One good example came from ZombiU. ZombiU was very challenging for us because it’s very innovative, in terms of both what Nintendo’s console brings and what we wanted to convey with the experience and gameplay. We decided to go for a very hardcore approach. Death is permanent. You need to start the game over again when you lose. We got a really good response from fans about that.
“What was also widely talked about was a social feature that we added to the game. When your character dies, you can see them as an enemy afterwards. You can also see guys from another console that are dead coming over into your world. That’s the kind of stuff we really appreciate. Another nice feature that was quite new is the fact that you can write messages to other players at certain points. ‘There are zombies coming!’ When you’re in your own experience and your own world, you see where other survivors have written stuff on the walls. It’s really interesting. The response from fans was ideal.
Poix on whether the learning is very specific to Nintendo’s platform, or whether he’s learned things that could be useful for games on all the platforms Ubisoft works with…
“Each new console is a new approach. What we learn can make it easier on the next console — we have a more clever approach when we start on design. In this case, I think it just reinforced what we strongly believe in. Influence is the way to convey emotion in gaming. For every console, we’ve done our job when we can turn innovation into emotion. That’s what we want to convey in our experience. We did that on the Wii, and we did it again with the Wii U.
“Nintendo’s systems have brought something new each time. It was the motion controls first, and then it was the multiscreen approach. It’s funny. Sometimes you’ll turn the constraints of this innovation into something new. When we first prototyped on the Wii U, with the second screen … once again, you can’t playtest it so much. It’s a new Nintendo system that nobody knows anything about. You have to go on your intuition. On the team, there were people who were troubled by the fact that we were asking the player to look at the TV screen, come back to the GamePad screen, do something, and go back and forth like that all the time. It was a good point. We sat down to think about how we could push the limits of it — what could we convey? It can convey some stress because it’s hard to do something on the screen while still watching stuff up on the TV. That’s why we created a survival game.
“It’s something that we learned on the Wii U about this particular approach, but it’s exactly in line with where the industry is going. We’ve had portable devices arriving for years, but today they can provide the same kind of image quality you can have on consoles. Today is a good time to leverage the HD art that we’ve developed in the past to make sure we have this quality on different devices, as long as we adapt to those devices in terms of gameplay.”