Ubisoft decided to experiment with some smaller games, and those games have paid off. Not only are they helping to keep people on staff who might have otherwise left and started their own studios, they are leading to creative and innovative games that are also making some money, and a difference.
Creative lead for Child of Light, Patrick Plourde, explained that the success of the game has been a bit of a vindication for Plourde, especially after all his years of AAA work:
I can’t explain everything, but the main reason why I got greenlit on the project was because I had carte blanche for making Far Cry 3. I didn’t want to make Far Cry 3, but they said, ‘Pat, if you do that and help build that brand, we’re going to give you a free shot at the game you want.’
Plourde explains that while Child of Light hasn’t been as profitable as Assassin’s Creed or Watch Dogs, it’s still profitable in its own right. Ubisoft would be able to fund a sequel with the profit, or buy Ferraris. However, as nice as the money is, Plourde says that the most rewarding part of the game has been players’ reactions.
That’s something that I hadn’t been able to achieve working on blockbuster AAA games. Now I’m really, really proud of being able to help people in their life through our medium, which is gaming. That makes the whole thing for me worth something.
The game cost Ubisoft “a couple of million” to make, mostly due to salaries; with the game launching on six different platforms at once, the project ended up with a maximum of 40 people working on it.
I just think it’s a really smart move on Ubisoft’s part. I’m sure they don’t want to lose talent like Plourde and others – they need great minds working on their AAA titles, but it can often cause burnout. With so many creators deciding to go indie instead, this is a great way to keep that talent on board, and even produce some new and unique games. It will be interesting to see if developers move back and forth between these studios, or if they end up staying on the more indie side once they get there. Geoff played it, and loved it.
Last Updated: November 21, 2014