Update: Ubisoft has issued a statement to GameSpot explaining why this move was made. "Quebec is taking on the role of lead studio for a future next-gen AC game because they've built up the experience and the talented teams to do so, thanks in part to their close work with Montreal on previous AC titles (from Brotherhood through Unity)," Ubisoft's Michael Burk tells us. "They're committed to bringing something new and creative to the franchise."
As it turns out, Montreal isn't permanently bowing out of the lead developer position for Assassin's Creed. "Montreal will continue to be a lead studio for other AC titles, and Montreal and Quebec will continue to collaborate with each other and with other Ubisoft studios on future games' development," Burk says. "That's key for making sure each Assassin's Creed title offers a fresh perspective, with new context, new stories and new characters, for players. Montreal is our largest studio and has plenty of creative capacity to focus on many of our biggest brands, including Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Rainbow Six, Watch Dogs and more."
Original Story: Ubisoft's crown jewel, the Assassin's Creed franchise, is undergoing a shift, as the company today announced plans to have Ubisoft Quebec lead development of future games in the series.
This move takes the lead development duties out of the hands of Ubisoft Montreal, the longtime primary developer of the series.Quebec doesn't come in lacking any experience with Assassin's Creed; it's contributed to the series since 2010's Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, having worked on Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Assassin's Creed III's Tyranny of King Washington DLC, and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag's Freedom Cry DLC.
"Since 2010, our understanding of the franchise has increased each year," said Ubisoft Quebec managing director Nicolas Rioux in an interview the official Ubisoft blog. He added, "We have the confidence of the brand team and also from Ubisoft to take leadership of an upcoming Assassin's Creed title. The team is ready for the next big step."
Quebec certainly doesn't lack for manpower; it has more than 350 people at its disposal and has plans to reach 425 employees by 2018. Presumably Ubisoft will continue to have multiple studios working on each Assassin's Creed game--ten studios, including Quebec and Montreal, are at work on the upcoming Assassin's Creed Unity. It's unclear what role Ubisoft Montreal will play in the series going forward; even while leading development on the series, it's continued to work on a multitude of other projects, including Watch Dogs and Far Cry 4. We also don't know exactly why Ubisoft is making this move, but we've contacted the company for comment and will report back with anything we learn.
Coinciding with this news regarding Assassin's Creed is word that Ubisoft plans to relocate its Quebec operations. It will be moving the studio to a new location in the St-Roch district of Quebec in spring 2016 that will be home to a "cutting-edge studio" for at least the next 14 years. From a previously announced $28 million CAD (about $26.2 million USD) investment in Ubisoft Quebec, $4 million CAD (about $3.75 million) will go toward the new digs. Quebec City has also announced a new program that will see it make a $500,000 CAD (about $468,000) investment to help outfit the new location.
Ubisoft Quebec is already at work on a new Assassin's Creed game, although no details on that project were forthcoming. The only upcoming game in the series currently announced is Unity, which will be available for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on October 28. A separate game allowing players to assume the role of a Templar is reportedly in the works for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. There has been no official word on that as of yet, although Ubisoft has indicated it's not ready to abandon last-gen hardware.
Do you like the direction the Assassin's Creed franchise is headed in? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
|Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX|
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