EWG Editorial: The Rise of Ubisoft

When the PS2 was the “hot” system, my favorite games came from publishers Rockstar, EA, and Capcom.  The Grand Theft Auto series was at an all time high with III, Vice City, and San Andreas.  I could never get enough of MVP Baseball, Madden, or NHL titles that EA produced every year, and Resident Evil 4 seemed to be locked in my console at times.  I enjoyed Rainbow Six 3 and the multiple Ghost Recon titles.  I even considered Rainbow Six 3 to be my favorite FPS at the time, however Ubisoft failed to develop that “wow” title.  Rainbow Six 3 was at the top of the online FPS class along with Halo, until Killzone came out.  I never owned an XBox so Halo was off my list of games to play, and when Sony’s blockbuster title hit shelves, my copy of RS:3 started to collect dust.  To me Ubisoft was a struggling franchise that held it’s own due to the success of the Tom Clancy shooters.  It wasn’t until the first Assassin’s Creed title hit the markets before I realized what could be with the publisher/developer.

I remember first getting my PS3 in the summer of 2010.  I was so happy I went out and bought NHL 10, Resident Evil 5, and Rainbow Six Vegas.  I was slightly impressed with Rainbow Six, but I logged most of my time with NHL 10.  Finally, Assassin’s Creed crossed my path and found its way into my group of games.  The high level of detail was second to none and the graphics alone put newer titles to shame.  I loved the first game, but II, Brotherhood, and Revelations finally gave Ubisoft it’s signature franchise needed to solidify their name into gaming greatness.  It wasn’t too long after, that I found myself playing several other Ubisoft games.  I was never into Rayman when it was out for the PS2, but when Origins came out it caught my attention.  Even as a PS3 owner, Little Big Planet’s sack-boys didn’t offer as much fun as Ubisoft’s armless critter and his friends.  I find myself logging countless hours finding orbs and replaying levels until I’ve mastered them all.  Even with all of the top notch racing games out on the market, Ubisoft managed to take the Driver franchise into a positive direction.  I only own two racing games: Dirt 3 and Driver San Francisco… guess which one I play more.  Somehow Ubisoft has found a way to make me own multiple titles.

I’m not much into dancing, but when I’m feeling frisky I find several dancing games available for the Wii and Playstation Move.  I can imagine the shock on my readers’ faces when I say that Just Dance happens to be the game that I find to be the most fun.  The soundtracks are top of the line and even better to shake it to, along with precision timing and rhythm.  Not to mention it’s a healthy little workout. 

Back in the last-gen games I didn’t pay much attention to Ubisoft.  Now I look forward to the games they produce.  It’s been a few years since a Tom Clancy title hit shelves, so Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Rainbow 6: Patriots are really catching my eye lately.  I’m looking forward to the award winning series expanding the success of the old titles and creating new content in a genre that is dominated by Activision and EA.  Far Cry has been an up and down series, but FC:3 could turn heads.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the new Brothers in Arms game captured an award or two, either. 

What I find to be most impressive is the fact that Ubisoft develops and publishes their games.  Activision has a historic franchise in Call of Duty, but they have two top-notch developers to help them out.  The Assassin’s Creed series is worthy of having multiple second and third party developers, but Ubisoft manages to create a great game themselves.  Ubisoft continues to be one of the most underrated publishers in the industry.  While Call of Duty continues to be epic, the rest of Activision games just seem to be coming from a machine that produces crap.  I’ll admit to liking [Prototype], but I’m not about to go drop a bunch of money on sub-par games like Spiderman: Edge of Time or X-Men Destiny.  To say those titles disappointed is an understatement.  2K Games seems to have the formula to produce a great NBA game, but you’ll have to excuse me for not rushing out and slamming down $60 on a title that doesn’t begin with Bioshock.  Every Ubisoft production seems to be as impressive as the last, if not more so.  They continue to develop and publish their own games and have found a winning tradition in the gaming industry.  I’ll support this company for every solid game they produce.  They’ve even earned enough respect from me that if a bad game happens to slip through, they’ll be forgiven… unless it’s a bad AC title.  That would be hard to forgive.  But for now I’ll take my chances with any title Ubisoft feels worthy of producing. 

-Geoff Barry