Ubisoft Talks Wii’s Approach
BIZ: Let’s talk about the Wii. Ubisoft has been a strong supporter of both the Wii and DS from the beginning but it seems that third parties are still trying to figure out what will sell on the Wii. When you have people who have been focusing on high-end games like Prince of Persia and Assassin’s Creed, how difficult has adapting to the Wii been?
YM: Well, concerning the first part about it’s being hard for developers to come to the Wii and succeed, that’s true. Maybe there’s a correlation between how simple, in a positive way, the system is (or systems are – Wii and DS) and how developers therefore have to focus on really “what is a game?” A game is a relation between the player and the machine through an interface that will make him succeed or fail through game system rules. Coming down to that core is then putting the [spot]light on something that’s hard to achieve; it’s hard to make good games. As for how Ubisoft Montreal is [adapting] to Nintendo systems as a developer [traditionally] of big, next-gen games, we had a marvelous story to start with. We were working in secret on a game called My Word Coach… and we had the chance to show the game to [Nintendo of America President] Reggie Fils-Aime, and he saw the game and said “You got it. You guys got exactly the type of game we want for this machine.” And so he managed to arrange a meeting for us with [Nintendo President] Iwata-san at [Nintendo HQ] Kyoto, Japan. … Iwata gathered a team of guys who had worked on Brain Age, and we were showing them the game and he told us, “Alright, we are going to treat you as if you were an internal Nintendo team.” And obviously it was an honor. I guess that [Nintendo] decided to do that because they felt that maybe we captured the spirit of what a “casual” game could be or should be in a way.