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Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android




About

I am Jake Spencer. Sometimes I write at re/Action (they're raising money here). Sometimes I make video games. Sometimes I review movies. Sometimes I do Twitters.
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Academy of Champions
Year: 2009
Developer: Ubisoft Vancouver
Platform: Wii
Sales: 100,000
Metacritic Score: 64

Description: Soccer game set in a magical soccer academy. Obvious Harry Potter influence. Features original characters, real-world soccer players, and characters from other Ubisoft properties like Raving Rabbids and Prince of Persia.


Best Friends Tonight
Year: 2010
Developer: Unknown
Platform: Nintendo DS
Sales: 30,000
Metacritic Score: N/A

Description: Make contestants on a fictional TV show be friends? There's very little information about this game online.


Big Bond Theory
Year: 2011
Developer: Ubisoft
Platform: iOS
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic Score: N/A

Description: A puzzle game about bonding atoms to form molecules.


Bloody Good Time
Year: 2010
Developer: Outerlight, Ltd.
Platform: XBLA, PC
Sales: Unknown (Wikipedia calls sales “weak.”)
Metacritic Score: PC – 73, XBLA - 55

Description: A bright and cheery multiplayer first-person shooter that takes place on the set of a snuff film. Spiritual successor to The Ship.


Boot Camp Academy
Year: 2010
Developer: Ubisoft
Platform: Wii
Sales: 30,000
Metacritic Score: N/A

Description: Boot camp-themed minigames. Cartoony.


Classic Word Games
Year: 2009
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platform: Nintendo DS, iOS
Sales: 500,000
Metacritic Score: N/A

Description: Hangman, crossword puzzles, word searches, and the like.


Cloudberry Kingdom
Year: coming 2013
Developer: Pwnee Studios
Platform: Mac, XBLA, PSN (PS3), PC, 3DS eShop, Wii U eShop, PSN (Vita)
Sales: N/A
Metacritic Score: N/A

Description: A 2D platformer with randomly generated levels. Funded through Kickstarter.


C.O.P.: The Recruit
Year: 2007
Developer: VD-Dev
Platform: Nintendo DS
Sales: 70,000
Metacritic: 55

Description: Grand Theft Auto clone. Full 3D open world on DS. In an interview, a developer said it was intended to be the first in a franchise, but no sequel was ever formally announced. Fun fact: “C.O.P.” stands for “Criminal Overturn Program.”


Cover Girl
Year: 2012
Developer: Unknown
Platform: PSP
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: N/A

Description: Look at shoes, take personality quizzes, and learn how to be sexy for the boys with this interactive take on Cosmo-style magazines.


Cubic Ninja 3D
Year: 20111
Developer: AQ Interactive, Inc.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Sales: 30,000
Metacritic: 51

Description: Twist and turn the 3DS to drop a tiny ninja through dangerous environments. An early 3DS game that misguidedly tried to sell itself on the 3D effect despite requiring large, frequent motions.


Curling DS
Year: 2008
Developer: Rocket Company
Platform: Nintendo DS
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: N/A

Description: Curling on the DS. First released in Japan by another company, and may be based on an official Japanese curling association, although my research was inconclusive. Ubisoft's curling game is generically branded.


Emergency Heroes
Year: 2008
Developer: Ubisoft Barcelona, Ubisoft Reflections
Platform: Wii
Sales: 460,000
Metacritic: 41

Description: A driving game that seems to be based on objective-based tricks, like making specific jumps, ramming targets, and spraying fires.


Enchanted Arms
Year: 2006
Developer: From Software, Edgeworks, Polygon Magic, TOSE, Imageepoch
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Sales: 410,000
Metacritic: Xbox – 69, PS3 – 64

Description: A by-the-numbers JRPG.


Fairyland Melody Magic
Year: 2009
Developer: Ubisoft Shanghai, 37 Entertainment
Platform: Nintendo DS
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic Score: N/A

Description: A music and rhythm game about a fairy princess defeating a witch. Comes with a magic wand-shaped stylus.


Field Commander
Year: 2006
Developer: Mind Control Software
Platform: PSP
Sales: 160,000
Metacritic: 77

Description: A military strategy game in the vein of Advance Wars with a more serious tone and an advanced level editor.


Fighters Uncaged
Year: 2010
Developer: AMA Studios
Platform: Xbox 360
Sales: 55,000
Metacritic: 32

Description: A martial arts fighting game with Kinect motion controls.


Firefighter Command: Raging Inferno
Year: 2005
Developer: Kudosoft Interactive
Platform: PC
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: N/A

Description: A firefighting RTS.


Fit in Six
Year: 2011
Developer: Ubisoft
Platform: PlayStation 3, Wii
Sales: 20,000
Metacritic: N/A

Description: Fitness training software.


FLOW: Urban Dance Uprising
Year: 2005
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Platform: PlayStation 2
Sales: 40,000
Metacritic: 65

Description: A Dance Dance Revolution clone.


From Dust
Year: 2011
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier Studios
Platform: XBLA, PSN, PC
Sales: over 500,000
Metacritic: PC – 76, PS3 – 81, Xbox – 80

Description: Play as a god who manipulates geography to protect a tribe. Received a lot of positive press because it was created by Another World-creator Eric Chahi after a long hiatus. Received a lot of negative press after release because it was saddled with restrictive DRM. Around the time of its release, Chahi said he had no desire to make a sequel, but he wasn't opposed to creating additional downloadable content, although there have been any official announcements or releases.


Funky Barn 3D
Year: 2012
Developer: Tantalus Media
Platform: 3DS (Enhanced port on Wii U by 505 Games)
Sales: 50,000
Metacritic: N/A

Description: A farming sim game. Funkiness debatable.


Gourmet Chef: Cook Your Way To Fame
Year: 2008
Developer: 505 Games, Creative Patterns
Platform: Nintendo DS
Sales: 130,000
Metacritic: N/A

Description: A Cooking Mama clone.


GripShift (Europe only)
Year: 2005
Developer: Sidhe Interactive
Platform: PSP (XBLA and PSN versions not published by Ubisoft)
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: PSP – 70

Description: Car driving on abstracted obstacle course tracks. Comparable to Super Monkey Ball.


Haze
Year: 2008
Developer: Free Radical, Crytek UK, Sonic Mayhem
Platform: PlayStation 3
Sales: 940,000
Metacritic: 55

Description: A near-future military first-person shooter. The box art gives away the major plot twist.


I Am Alive
Year: 2012
Developer: Ubisoft Shanghai Studios, Darkworks SA
Platform: XBLA, PSN, PC
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: XBLA – 69, PSN – 75, PC – 66

Description: Third-person action/survival horror game in a post-apocalyptic city. Ubisoft was disappointed with sales.


James Noir's Hollywood Crimes 3D
Year: 2011
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Studios
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Sales: 90,000
Metacritic: 60

Description: Solve logic puzzles in a fictional game show to solve crimes. Something like that. A very poor man's Professor Layton.


Last Remnant
Year: 2008
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PC (Australia, Nordics) (Other versions and releases not published by Ubisoft)
Sales: 10,000
Metacritic: 66

Description: Fantasy strategy RPG.


Mad Riders
Year: 2012
Developer: TechLand
Platform: Xbox Live Marketplace, PSN, PC
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: Xbox – 64, PSN – 71, PC – N/A

Description: ATV racing. An additional map pack was released.


Master All Classics
Year: 2009
Developer: Unknown
Platform: Nintendo DS
Sales: 510,000
Metacritic: N/A

Description: Public domain board, card, and paper games on your DS. At a glance, indistinguishable from dozens of other similar DS games.


Maths Play
Year: 2007
Developer: Equal Card Association (Published in the US by Natsume)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Sales: 30,000
Metacritic: N/A

Description: A brain-training game.


Mind Quiz
Year: 2006
Developer: Sega, Take-Two
Platform: DS, PSP, PC
Sales: 160,000
Metacritic: N/A

Description: A brain-training game explicitly based on Dr. Kawashima's concept of Brain Age. Released after Nintendo's Brain Age.


Monster Burner
Year: 2011
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Studios
Platform: iOS, Windows Phone
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: 85

Description: Shoot fireballs at incoming monsters. Get bonuses for hitting lots of monsters with a single fireball. Buy upgrades using in-game currency or real-world money.


Nitrobike
Year: 2008
Developer: Left Field Productions
Platform: PlayStation 2, Wii
Sales: 130,000
Metacritic: Wii – 49, PS2 – N/A

Description: A dirt bike game from the developers of similar dirt bike games like Excitebike 64, MTX Mototrax, and Dave Mirra BMX.


No Surrender: Battle of the Bulge
Year: 2005
Developer: Intex Publishing GmbH & Co., KG
Platform: PC
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: N/A

Description: A World War II RTS.


Outland
Year: 2011
Developer: Housemarque
Platform: XBLA, PSN
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: XBLA – 84, PSN – 83

Description: A side-scrolling platformer with an Ikaruga-style polarity system.


Paradise
Year: 2007
Developer: White Birds
Platform: PC
Sales: Unknown
Matacritic: 57

Description: A graphic adventure from the creator of Syberia.


Payuta & The Ice God HD
Year: 2011
Developer: Ubisoft
Platform: iOS
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: N/A

Description: An interactive storybook. Originally released in 1994. Seems to have been re-released at least two other times, in 1999 and 2001.


Pet Adoption Center
Year: 2008
Developer: Unknown
Platform: Ubisoft
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: N/A

Description: Take care of pets. Presumably, this is unique in the Ubisoft pantheon because you are not being asked to “Imagine” taking care of “Petz.” Sold exclusively at Toys'R'Us.


PowerUP Heroes
Year: 2011
Developer: Longtail Studios
Platform: Xbox 360
Sales: 240,000
Metacritic: 61

Description: A super hero fighting game with Kinect controls.


Pure Futbol
Year: 2010
Developer: Ubisoft Vancouver
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Sales: 360,000
Metacritic: Xbox – 38, PS3 – 46

Description: Rough and tumble arcade-y soccer.


Quick Yoga Training
Year: 2008
Developer: Ubisoft
Platform: Nintendo DS
Sales: 120,000
Metacritic: N/A

Description: Yoga training in minutes a day. The phrase “in minutes a day” appears on the box, just like Brain Age.


R.U.S.E.
Year: 2010
Developer: Eugen Systems, Ubisoft
Platform: Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Sales: 840,000
Metacritic: PC – 76, PS3 – 76, Xbox – 78

Description: An RTS set in World War II. Had a DLC expansion, also released on disc.


Self-Defense Training Camp
Year: 2011
Developer: AMA Studios
Platform: Xbox 360
Sales: 80,000
Metacritic: 21

Description: Kinect-based self-defense tutor.


TERA
Year: 2012
Developer: Bluehole Studio
Platform: PC (Europe, Middle East, Africa)
Sales: 130,000
Metacritic: 77

Description: A free-to-play fantasy MMORPG.


The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot
Year: coming 2013
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Studios
Platform: PC
Sales: N/A
Metacritic: N/A

Description: A Diablo-style action-RPG. Like, it straight-up has a blue mana orb thing and a red health orb thing.


Voodoo Dice
Year: 2010
Developer: Exkee
Platform: XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, iOS
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: Xbox – 61

Description: An action/puzzle/racing game where you play as an ordinary six-sided die. Looks neat, but somewhat difficult to explain, and therefore difficult to sell.


War World: Tactical Combat
Year: 2008
Developer: Third Wave Games
Platform: Xbox Live Marketplace, PC
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: Xbox – 45, PC – 74

Description: Third-person death-match shooter with mechs.


We Dare
Year: 2011
Developer:
Platform: PlayStation 3, Wii
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: N/A

Description: Mildly sexually suggestive minigame collection, known for it's tremendously awkward trailer.


Wordfish
Year: 2008
Developer:
Platform: Nintendo DS, Android, iOS
Sales: 70,000
Metacritic: N/A

Description: A variety of word games, like unscrambling letters and building words out of falling blocks of letters.


World in Conflict
Year: 2007
Developer: Ubisoft Massive
Platform: PC
Sales: 50,000 (including the Complete Edition, which came with the expansion)
Metacritic: 89 (72 for Soviet Assault expansion)

Description: Alternate history RTS where the Soviet Union attacks and causes World War III to break out in 1989.


Zeit²
Year: 2011
Developer: Brightside Games
Platform: PC, Xbox Live Marketplace
Sales: Unknown
Metacritic: PC – 72, XBLA – 71

Description: A side-scrolling space shooter with time manipulation. Grew out of a successful student game.


Zombi U
Year: 2012
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier Studios, Ubisoft Bucharest
Platform: Wii U
Sales: 470,000
Metacritic: 77

Description: An inventive survival horror first-person shooter with some roguelike elements. Filled with clever uses for unique Wii U features. Has a dumb name and marketing tended to focus on portraying it as a violent zombie game (which it is) despite the video game market being saturated with violent zombie games, while failing to make its unique traits look like anything more than gimmicks. Drew unflattering comparisons to the first Red Steel before its release. Buggy, which could be related to the push to get it out in time for the Wii U launch. There's strong evidence that a sequel was planned, although it nothing was formally announced. The poster child for why Ubisoft is scaling back Wii U support and giving up on games without major franchising potential.


Zoo Resort 3D
Year: 2011
Developer: AQ Interactive
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Sales: 170,000
Metacritic: N/A

Description: Like a virtual pet game, only instead of a pet, it's a whole zoo filled with zoo animals.


53 games








With the company's focus shifting almost exclusively toward increasingly homogenous games that are always online and take place in open worlds, it's hard not to take issue with Ubisoft's marketing-driven decision to contracept any game that won't potentially yield a series. But are we being too reactionary and critical? Was Jim Sterling wrong to say, "Game publisher's approach games like they're friggin' infants," in a recent episode of the Jimquisition? No, probably not, but let's look at the situation from another perspective. Let's look at what we stand to lose. Let's look at Ubisoft's output over the past decade and imagine...

A

WORRRRRRRLD

WITHOUT

UBISOFT

ONE-OFFFFFSSS...


Come back, one-offs! Come back, zinc!


I'm going to give away the punchline right now: We're already living in that world.

Before we get to the fun, a bit of fine print:

Over the course of a full week, I went through each quarterly report available on Ubisoft's corporate Web site, looking specifically at each quarter's release schedule, as well as the company's operating income and expenses. I put every scheduled release into a spreadsheet, sorted by IP, and divided the IP into franchises and one-offs. One-offs are games that are not part of an existing IP, have no sequels, and have never had a sequel formally announced. In reality, things are a bit fuzzy, and there are absolutely errors in my findings. Are Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. separate series? Can a game with an expansion pack really be called a one-off? Moreover, by relying on release schedules, delayed games and games that are released at different times in different regions get counted more than once. Multiplatform releases are also tricky. My exact numbers are wrong, yes, but not so wrong as to invalidate the broad findings. Additionally, I am an unemployed idiot with a BA in Game Design; not a professional economist. I have no formal training for this type of research, and I have a vested interest in promoting publishing opportunities for unique games. If you want to check my work or draw further conclusions of your own, feel free to download my spreadsheets here.

Good. Got it? Great. Let's crack on.

From Fiscal Year 2005-2006 through the present, Ubisoft has published games from 217 intellectual properties. Of those 217, 53 were one-offs, meaning about three-quarters of Ubisoft's IP are franchises. This does not mean, however, that a quarter of Ubisoft's games are unique, standalone products. Many of the franchise series are massive. There are, for example more than 40 games in the Imagine line, and very nearly as many Petz games (which, it bears repeating, is not including Petz games from before 2005, disqualifying the series' first full decade). Counting individual releases, the score is 65 one-offs to 660 franchise games - less than 10%.


When it was 2008 / It was a very good year / It was a very good year / For plurals ending in "z"


Well, what's the advantage of focusing on franchises? Tony Key, Ubisoft's VP of Sales and Marketing, has said, "By increasing our marketing, our goal is actually to lower our risk."

Makes sense. Bet big on the sure thing, particularly when it's a bet you can make year after year. I'll take it a step further and offer what I believe are the three major advantages of selling a franchise:

1. Established core. New IP often means new characters, basic design, maybe even building a new engine - expensive stuff! When you work on a franchise, the team doesn't need to waste time on the fundamentals because the core of the series is already established.

2. Brand awareness. Again, the basics are out of the way. The marketing team can get straight to selling the game without having to waste time introducing new IP to the world. They also start with invaluable market research regarding previous reception of the series.

3. Future confidence. Big games sell big. Having a major franchise today means you're set to get those major sales again next year.

Sounds great! As we've seen, Ubisoft's been quite bullish on the franchise strategy for some time now, which means we have plenty of evidence that the theories have proven themselves true beyond a shadow of a doubt.


The red line is the good one, yeah?


Hm.

Year-over-year operating income is on the rise, yes. So are sales and marketing expenses, and well as R&D. In other words, Key might have a point - increased spending appears to be mitigating risk.

Here's the thing:

1. Sequels are still expensive. They are expected to be bigger and better. Building on an established framework is fine, but recycling is not. A sequel has to at least appear to be new in some way, and art assets aren't cheap.

2. Diminishing returns. How many times can you sell to the same people? The audience is expected to grow, despite fans' inevitable franchise fatigue. Each advertising campaign must exceed the last.

3. Flops are costly. If a one-off game flops, it's bad. If a franchise game flops, it can be a disaster. One under-performing franchise game carries not only its own weight, but the weight of future games.

Is there actually any proof this strategy is working, or is there simply correlation between increased spending and increased profit?



The big Ubisoft flop that was in the news around the time of Key's statement was Zombi U, a ridiculously-named survival-horror FPS with roguelike elements and totally unique controls. It was a launch title exclusive to a system that's had a hard time finding an audience. Interestingly enough, the costly misfire received a good marketing push (which arguably had its ups and downs, but we can at least agree that lots of money was spent), and players and critics alike agreed it was a quality game. There was even plenty of buzz about this turning into a franchise. In light of poor sales, though, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillmot quashed any hope of that happening.

To clarify: Yves Guillemot bemoaned Zombi U's performance about a week before Tony Key said Ubisoft's policy going forward will be to only bet big on franchises.


I'd buy CSI: Imagine Tom Clancy's Magic Assassinz.


The headline shouldn't have been that Ubisoft is giving up on one-offs, but that someone from a major publisher had the gall to say it. He said it just as his boss was admitting that backing Zombi U, a textbook example of a game built to start a franchise, was a financial mistake. And the reaction was to blame Wii U and stay the course.

The thing is, that's not entirely crazy. Ubisoft is profiting with this strategy. From this strategy, in fact. We can apply causality, 'cause they sure as heck aren't making big bucks on one-time-use IP. How could they? They don't have any.

There are two one-off games scheduled for release this quarter: The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot and Cloudberry Kingdom. The latter is a downloadable indie game that found its funding through Kickstarter, but it needs a publisher for distribution. With console makers set to allow indie developers to self-publish, it seems unlikely Ubisoft will be needed for many more deals of this kind.

Chances are, if you've ever cared about one of Ubisoft's one-off releases, it was either developed by a small indie team outside of Ubisoft, it was a flop, or it was both. The best selling one-off since 2005 was Haze. The bomb that killed Free Radical. Haze. 970,000 copies. That's the high end.


Haze, you guys.


Of the 63 one-off games I mentioned, only three others broke half-a-million copies sold: Classic Word Games, Master All Classics: 100 All-Time Favorites, and From Dust. (It must be noted that digital sales figures aren't typically released, but even if a few other releases sold well, the big picture wouldn't change much. You can read my full notes on these 63 games here.)

Ubisoft definitely isn't getting rich off of these games, and, cool as From Dust is, players wouldn't miss much either if Ubisoft eliminated non-franchise releases entirely. That said, the company would be crazy to stop publishing these one-offs. Half a million copes of Classic Word Games!? How much could that have cost to release? The profit margin must be incredible!

"There's no more fire and forget," said Key. "It's too expensive." What is he even talking about! Ubisoft hasn't fired and forgotten since the '80s! I included Payuta & The Ice God HD on that list of 63 games because it's not based on an existing franchise and there have never been plans for a sequel. This is the only Payuta game - and it was first released in 1994. Ubisoft has been repackaging this interactive storybook for close to 20 years. Fire and forget! Ha!



Every game has a special edition and a sequel and DLC and a spinoff. Zombi U started as a Raving Rabbids spinoff, which started as a Rayman spinoff, which started in 1995, and that first game is still being sold today. Who could have possibly predicted that sequence of events? And that - that - is the problem with limiting a company's output to franchises. It assumes that a company can accurately predict the future. It's looking at numbers and graphs, and using that information to determine creative decisions.

Financially, it might work. It's working for now. It also doesn't work, and it doesn't work all the time. Zombi U - a wonderful game that I wish had gotten many sequels - did not work financially. But what about five years from now, or ten, when the people who did play it are reminiscing? What about when we remember how good it was and want to play it again, the way we can't shut up about Beyond Good & Evil?

Every game can become a franchise, just like every franchise can fall off a cliff. If Ubisoft wants more franchises, the company should take more chances. Rayman, the massive series that made Ubisoft a world-class contender, started on the Atari freaking Jaguar. Hits can come from anywhere, but only if they get made.

I'm not worried about Ubisoft halting production on non-franchise games because there was never any production to halt, but if the company really wants profits to grow, maybe it should stop trying to control the future and start planting some seeds to plan for it.



Update: I've gotten in touch with a few people who have tackled similar subjects before:

Emily Rogers (Nintendo Force, NotEnoughShaders) points out that, "Ubisoft grows as a company when their number of franchises grow. Makes sense to distance away from one-offs." From a business standpoint, this is inarguable. When people think of Ubisoft, they think of Assassin's Creed and Prince of Persia. A brand has value that a stand-alone game does not. Try to name a major publisher that's built a name on diversity over consistency. You can't.

Bill Harris (Dubious Quality) goes back to the failure of Haze - again, Ubisoft's best-selling one-off game - and asks, "How much new IP could ever sell--no matter the marketing...to be considered a "success"? Only games with established brands even have a shot at doing that. So they've basically created a requirement that new franchises can't possibly meet, then used that requirement to say they can't afford to do new franchises!"

He's right about why Ubisoft would choose to back away from expensive risks like Haze and Zombi U, but why, then, are we seeing such a push right now for Watch_Dogs? It actually makes perfect sense. First, it's new IP with a ten-year plan. If it takes off, it's good for Ubisoft, just like Emily said. Watch_Dogs isn't just a game, it's a new brand that is being engineered to sell sequels, spin-offs, DLC, comics, and more for at least the next decade. Zombi U and Haze were single-platform releases without in-game stores.

Also, unlike those games, Watch_Dogs is familiar. Change the main character to Desmond Miles and, based on the trailers, it could absolutely pass for a new take on Assassin's Creed (which, if you'll remember, began as something of an open world take on Prince of Persia, itself). Zombi U, meanwhile, is a scary shooter built around a sticks/buttons/touch control scheme and dual-screen system that don't have any point of easy comparison.

If Watch_Dogs tanks, or even falls short of expectations, it will cause immense harm to Ubisoft, but that's not going to happen. It will be a gigantic success. Ubisoft is putting big money on the safe bet and, hey, anyone who whines about how big publishers never release new IP gets what they want, as well, and what a victory this is for everybody.

The system works, but the message publishers are taking away from it is troubling. We're in an era where tiny, low-budget games made by small teams can nearly compete with massive efforts by hundreds or thousands of people. They're not there yet, but they're growing. As much as I love mid-tier games - personally, it's stuff like Zombi U, Rayman, and Red Steel 2 that hits the sweet spot - it does make financial sense to scrap new efforts in that space to instead throw major muscle behind only the biggest sure-fire franchises, but what's the risk in supporting tiny, throw-away games?

The design philosophies and technical capabilities of the teams behind what will surely be one of the biggest franchises of the next decade can be traced directly to Jordan Mechner video taping his brother running around their backyard almost a quarter of a century ago. Ubisoft has a good thing going, but without starting at Prince of Persia, you don't get to Watch_Dogs. Successes don't always debut at the top of the charts. As indie developers become less reliant on publishers, Ubisoft would be wise to keep that in mind.
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