Ubisoft heads for the silver screen

CEO Yves Guillemot announces that the French publisher will be expanding into filmmaking and book publishing.

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EDINBURGH, UK--Back in February, Ubisoft announced it was making a short film based on the upcoming action game Assassin's Creed. An Ubisoft spokesperson told the International Herald Tribune that, "We may consider doing longer-form films or television sometime in the future."

Today at the fifth annual Edinburgh Interactive Festival, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed that the company would indeed be expanding into film production as well as book publishing. However, he gave no clues as to what would be the Paris-based publisher's first movie or print project, or when gamers could expect to see either debut.

Guillemot explained that Ubi's move into filmmaking is a logical next step for the company, which hopes to start releasing a range of entertainment products based on a single IP. "We will start making movies not because we want to, but because this is what we have to do," he explained. "If we don't, we will not be able to take advantage of the next generation." He made no mention of the forthcoming Prince of Persia film, which is being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and, according to some rumors, directed by Michael Bay.

Guillemot also told the festival audience that he believed there were three keys to ensuring continued growth in the games industry: AAA blockbuster titles, a family portfolio, and capitalising on the Internet.

Ubisoft recruits about 500 people a year and now has a campus in Montreal because with games now needing on average 200 people to make, "we just can't hire enough people." He said that plans for other campuses would follow, first in China, and then in other parts of the world. The company has also set up a CGI studio in Montreal, Canada, and more will follow in other countries.

Guillemot also explained Ubisoft's recent sale of its stake in Gameloft, saying that its original intention had been to acquire the mobile phone game publisher. However, he explained that, "They believed it was not the time to sell...so we decided we would get out."

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