Ubisoft has a history of strong support for Nintendo systems, and it was one of the few third parties to have an original, exclusive game at launch for Wii U inZombiU. CEO Yves Guillemot has now spoken about that support and shared some thoughts on Nintendo’s upcoming NX.
Regarding NX, he said, “The new Nintendo [console] is a fantastic machine. It’s really a new approach, it’s really Nintendo, [which is] coming with something new again. We love it.” The system is rumored to be a handheld/console hybrid, a possibility that The Pokemon Company recently lent credence to.
As for disruptions overall, Guillemot suggested Ubisoft doesn’t mind them because they provide it with the chance to try something new.
“We always take disruptions on the positive side,” he said. “We think each time that it’s an opportunity for our creators to take more risks. When a machine is installed, there are a certain number of brands that take up the time of players, so they’re going to buy the next Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty. Even if they say, ‘I’m interested in what you’re doing,’ at the end of the day they first buy what they know, then go somewhere else.
“When they change machines, they consider that it is better to try what has been done for that machine. This gives us an opportunity to totally change an IP that we have done before, or to create new experiences and new IPs.”
“On the VR side it’s giving us an opportunity to create new experiences that are in the middle of movies and interactive,” he continued. “It’s being immersed in a universe where you have interactive experiences but also be able to be passive and look at a story or a world. It’s lots of new possibilities. In the company we are all interested in doing new things, because that’s where we can express ourselves differently and also where we can have fun discovering things you couldn’t do before.”
We spoke with Guillemot after the event, and he expressed concern with the agility and ability to take risks it would lose if Vivendi’s hostile takeover moves forward. A game like ZombiU–an original game for the unproven Wii U–seems like a prime example of the kind of thing it was only able to do because it was an independent company. We already know Just Dance is coming to NX, and Guillemot confirmed to GameSpot that Ubisoft is “working on some [other] projects” for the console.
Asked to elaborate on why Ubisoft has such faith in Nintendo, he reiterated what he said earlier about the effect new systems have on consumers.
“What we see is, players are more open when new hardware is coming. So we have the chance to come with something we have never done before, because we know that if we are the first there, people will try our game and maybe we’ll be able to get into that new genre,” he explained. “As our people wanted to do a game like ZombiU, they were happy they could just use the Wii U to do it. For us, a machine is a tool of expression, but when everything become stable it’s less open to innovation. We always want innovation.
“However, if you try something a little new and it’s not perfect, you come back quickly to what you know and works. As a gamer, if you change to new hardware, you have no references, so you’re looking at what people are saying are [the best games] and then trying them.
“But if you have an [established] machine and there’s all the experiences you know on there already, you know you’re going to miss some of those to try something new, so you’re less inclined. For us, we know opportunities to try something new are a lot more rewarding when it’s a new machine.”
PS4 Pro launches this November, with NX set to launch by the end of March 2017 and Project Scorpio during holiday 2017.