It is the effervescence within the office of Bordeaux of the giant video game, Ubisoft. In full design of the next Assassin’s Creed, Mirage, the teams are also preparing to move to new premises in the Bastide-Niel district by 2024. With 7,500 m2, this new studio will be the largest, in France, from Ubisoftalso established in Paris, Lyon and Montpellier. 20 minutes asked the director of the Bordeaux office of Ubisoft, Julien Mayeux.
Your Ubisoft studio takes care of the creation of Miragethe next Assassin’s Creedhow is it going ?
First of all, it’s not just made in Bordeaux, since we reproduce Ubisoft’s traditional scheme, namely that we work in co-development with several studios, but we are the lead studio, and that’s great pride. Assassin’s Creed is Ubisoft’s biggest brand [le jeu s’est vendu à 200 millions d’exemplaires], and it will be the fifteenth anniversary game. It’s a return to basics, since we have compiled everything that could represent a certain nostalgia for players of the first Assassin’s, the city, the course… The teams are on it. We haven’t announced a date yet, but we’ll have things to show very soon.
You say that today, the video game is the must to recreate historical settings, why?
Because we have an advantage over the movie theater and in series, it’s interactivity. A player is free to turn around, he is completely immersed in the scenery. But that also represents constraints, because you have to make something very beautiful at 360 degrees. This is even more true in Assassin’s Creed, which is the hallmark of history with us. We have gone through many eras with this game. For this opus, we return to the Middle East, to Baghdad, to the 9th century, and for this we work with many historians. We are also lucky to work with an artistic director, Jean-Luc Sala, who lived in the fertile crescent, and who has a very strong culture of this region. But of course, we have everything validated by our experts. And we also work with engines, like Anvil for Assassin’swhich allow us to reconstruct large environments, as in the previous opus Valhalla in which we participated.
There is a real “French touch” in the video game world, which explains the success of French studios, what is this due to?
We have real assets in France with schools of excellence, sectors like comics and animation that are close to what we offer, all of this constitutes a creative and cultural breeding ground on which we can rely. And at the same time, we also have some of the best engineering schools. The video game industry rests on two legs: creation and technology. Finally we are lucky, and we see it in Bordeaux, to have a lot of independent studios that offer a lot of creative and innovative content [il y a environ 700 studios de création en France]. This is also partly why we came to Bordeaux.
The video game market is dynamic, but at the same time the “tech” sector is in crisis, what are the prospects?
It is a market that continues to grow, because today everyone has something to play in their pocket. It is on this that the video game bases its growth. It is true that there are some disturbing news on the “tech” side, but for the moment the video game is not affected. Our positioning is to create, in the midst of increasingly varied content, quality, even extreme quality, in order to be able to respond to this market.
Ubisoft recently entered into a partnership for the game ” Rabbids + Mario »is this a strategy that is likely to be developed?
The video game industry has always made so-called “cross” brands, but Ubisoft’s strategy is rather to work on our own brands, to continue to develop them. It turns out that this partnership, made with our Paris studio, was not refused because Mario is the greatest icon of video games.
What are your recruitment prospects for your Bordeaux studio?
When we arrived in Bordeaux, we had the prospect of a hundred jobs. In three years, we found ourselves at 300 [les effectifs sont depuis passés à 420 personnes]… It’s complicated to predict these things, because it will depend in part on the success of our games.