Splinter Cell 6 developer Ubisoft Toronto boss Jade Raymond has expressed a desire that the industry mature, and not be reliant on the videogame equivalent of Michael Bay blockbusters. In short, she stated flatly, "I really do feel it’s time for our medium to grow up.”
In an interview with, Reymond, who has learned to balance motherhood with a career, even when she was asked to set up the UbiSoft Toronto studio while eight months pregnant, thinks that videogames don't have to resort to mimicking a Michael Bay film to sell millions of copies.
“I think we don’t need to make the equivalent to a Michael Bay flick in order to sell five million copies. I think things can be exciting, have meaning and hit important topics, and I’m not the only one that thinks that,” she insisted.
She pointed out Dark Souls as an example of how gamers feel the need to be connected to other players, even if it is indirectly. "Games need to be a connected experience now and I think that also with all of the new tech there are tonnes of opportunities to have things be a lot more dynamic and let people have their imprint on the world," she related. "For example, some of the stuff Dark Souls did with social elements - people impact each others' games without having to really create content, and people are having this shared experience within the game... I think there's a lot further that we can go with that.
That was the motivation behind the Assassin's Creed series. "We obviously tried a bit - and I hope it was obvious - to make a story with more meaning and mature themes in Assassin's Creed," she reminisced, before relating the challenge her new studio at UbiSoft Toronto would face in developing Splinter Cell 6.
"It's definitely something that we're pushing for at Ubisoft Toronto. I think every other entertainment medium or art form does manage to have commercial success and have the viewers or audience think or be inspired. Games, I think, have even more potential than that given that on top of the narrative side we do have all of the gameplay mechanics and we create rule sets from scratch which can have any kind of meaning embedded in them. It's not easy to do that, because it requires breaking our recipe and trying to find new recipes, but I think it's an important thing for us to strive for," she stated.
Of course, videogame development does require some catharsis, and Raymond has her own special method of relaxing her underlings.
"We have beer on tap!" she proclaimed, "We do an official party once a month and then every Friday informally everyone gets together. That's the other thing that's fun about building a studio - we get to design it from scratch. So we built a big open front office with a cafeteria and stuff where you can invite your friends and not worry about security. Beer on tap is there, we have a DJ booth, we've set up art gallery space and stuff..."
Splinter Cell 6 is being developed for PC and the major consoles. No release date has been given as of yet.