Ubisoft exec reflects on making games for Wii and Wii U, approach to designing Switch titles
Xavier Poix from Ubisoft has spent 18 years with the company. Currently, he’s the managing director of Ubisoft’s French studios. Polygon recently caught up with Poix and spoke about Switch – and more about Nintendo – in-depth.
We’ve rounded up what Poix had to say below. Head on over here to read up on Polygon’s full piece.
Poix on how Ubisoft looks at new consoles…
“The biggest thing for us when we’re learning about a new console is ‘Does it change the way we play?’ If it does not change the way we play, but it’s more power, it’s more memory or stuff like this then it doesn’t change a lot the way we design the game. But when it comes with something that really changes the way you play — for instance the Wii … then it’s a total change in the way we imagine our games. That’s why, in our case, it comes with new brands because this is the moment where you are totally creative and you want to design a game based on that new way of playing.”
– Poix believes Nintendo’s choices allowed for a very straightforward design philosophy: translate gameplay into physical motion
On Rayman Raving Rabbids and use of motion controls…
“The sentence I gave to the team was, ‘Let’s do something that Nintendo wouldn’t dare doing.’ That’s why we came up with all this crazy stuff because the Wii has no limits because of the way you can use motion controls.”
– Referring to the likes of Red Steel: “Some of those didn’t make it to become big brands”
On how Nintendo’s goals weren’t as easy to articulate with Wii U…
“When it arrived, with this double screen feature, it was actually not as clear as it was for the Wii. With that, it was a way of putting the gamer in a situation where he would need to, for instance, look at two screen at the same time. So we created ZombiU, which is more a game based on the fear that we can create with this device.”
On the philosophy Nintendo is showing with the Switch and how is Poix reinforcing it with his teams…
“The Switch is very clear as a premise. The way it changes the way you play doesn’t come necessarily with the controllers, because they were there with the Wii as well … but in the way it is mobile.”
“The way you can play it on the bus and go home and put it on your TV immediately and come back to your room because somebody else wants to watch TV, this is very interesting. Not necessarily revolutionizing the way you play, but since we are world creators that try to put the players in our universe and find ways to keep them there. It’s very exciting to find ways of staying in this world.”
“I think it’s a good match for our style. And I think yes, this is a good evolution because for the first time you have a console that is bringing two worlds together which is the mobile-handheld and the usual console experience.”
On how Switch seems to be intended for casual adult gamers and hardcore console gamers…
“We are thinking that if Nintendo’s philosophy is really to gather those two worlds if adult players and console players could be the same community, then what’s the best user journey of one player that would own the Switch? Not necessarily only with the Switch mind you, but we tried to consider this in the way our upcoming games are being designed. We thought about the time needed for a play session in this game to fit the experience of a handheld.
“When you are playing a game, an adult console game or mobile game for instance, you are spending less time than you then when you are at home in front of your TV for hours. So that’s something that we have in mind for the games that we are producing right now.”