Monday, July 23, 2012
Ubisoft: 'We Want New Consoles!', Won't Develop For Them
I was really really hurting for something to talk about tonight because there is just fucking nothing noteworthy going on. I've spent all my free time today watching a Let's Play of Dark Messiah and Magic (precisely three episodes) which is fantastic, but not exactly something to write about, and there is just nothing in the news. At least, nothing that instantly grabbed me. It was only after I slowed down and started re-reading headlines that I got that look that you only get when you're being given something that's almost too good to be true and then you discover that it is, indeed, true despite all conventions of how it just shouldn't be so. Like common sense in this case, which will make more sense when I get more into this, but just as an opening, I wanted to stress that this is pretty much too good to not talk about because it's hilarious on the conceptual level if nothing else. I at least to make that point abundantly clear if nothing else before the end of this post so you can -get- where I'm coming from.
So in an interview with Gamesutra or something, Ubisoft's CEO, Yves Guillemot said that it's time for new consoles because, and I quote, "it's important for the entire industry to have new consoles because it helps creativity." Also going so far as to say "We have been penalized by the lack of new consoles on the market," because, as inferred, new consoles = creativity flourishes, whereas long console lifespans = stifling creativity. I'm sure there's a very elaborate diagram of this exact process and it's not Grade-A Bullshit coming from his mouth and all. I mean, it's not like there are more things that define how creative something can be than how new the thing it's on is or anything. Snark aside, I kind of understand what he's really saying which is no less terrible here. Basically he's just saying that new IPs are a good thing to launch on new consoles because there is usually a vast wasteland of absolutely nothing on them so your game, your new IP, tends to get noticed by virtue of a lack of choice. It is...shrewd at best as a statement to make, but well, it's nothing really surprising, I suppose.
Here's where it gets funny, however. You know that thing you just read, about how they're basically hurting for new consoles at this point to get the creativity wells going? Yeah, just fucking throw that out the window. I like to imagine it was during the same interview, but it wasn't, as he apparently said "we don't have a huge investment in the Wii U" during an investor call. There is literally only nine hours between the posts, I want you to realize that. While I understand there is a process to gaining and writing about information and such, so these were likely at least statements made on different days, I like to imagine that there was just immense amounts of backpeddling going on because it is hilarious to me. Regardless, that's not the point; the point is that he basically said, "New Consoles breed Creativity" and then turned around and pointed out that they're not really doing a whole lot with the new console that is coming out. Pretty much just a new game in an established franchise and the reboot of a twenty-six year old game. (Oh yeah, btw, I realize the screenshot above is from before the name/genre/theme shift where Killer Freaks from Outer Space became ZombiU, that is because there are no ZombiU screenshots that I found and I'm not going to go looking for them since it is probably the exact same game with new skins.)
So let's drop the pretense here: Ubisoft doesn't necessarily want New Consoles, but really just the PS4 and NeXtBox (which is a lot more appealing to me than calling it the 720. Though it might just get called the XBox 8, what with the integration with Windows 8. Nobody cares.) which isn't too bad to want, really. Obviously, I want a PS4 more than I want the Wii U and I'm sure plenty of people want the NeXtBox instead of the Wii U as well and it's all about the familiarity bred by this generation that could probably only be shaken by a prohibitive barrier of entry ala PS3. Do I think that Ubisoft will actively develop -more- for the two consoles than the Wii U? Absolutely, unless the market shifts towards the Wii U which nobody honestly knows how that's going to pan out, least of all Nintendo who don't seem to rightly know what they're actually doing with it. I imagine smart money is on the same trend that it's been forever: Buy Nintendo product for Nintendo games, buy something else for everything else, but hey, who knows. Nintendo might finally win over the third parties with this one. Or they won't and it won't matter whatsoever still.
Is there anything really gained here? Probably not. Always fun to point out the double-talk and ultimately unfortunate statements that are made within a short window of each other, but while some things can be gleaned from these, it's ultimately not indicative of anything. It is also kind of important to point out that Wii U ports from PS3/360 games to the system have cost something just north of $1.2 million, when Rayman Legends and ZombiU, native titles to the system, cost less than that. Maybe. Again, this is coming from the same guy who wants new consoles but openly admits to not doing much with said new console. Which is just hilarious and also bad timing all things considered. That is about what we get when there's nothing else that can be considered news, of course, so I hope the humor that I saw at least made it out to be at least somewhat worth it. Because, really, it's just funny.