March 28th, 2013, 23:57 Posted By: wraggster
It may have sold 22m units across the world, but Ubisoft feels Splinter Cell should be doing even better.
And so it’s tasked one of the masterminds behind Assassin’s Creed to lead a revolution for the spy franchise. MCV speaks to Jade Raymond...
One of my first jobs in the games industry was on Splinter Cell.
I was part of the localisation team that worked on Splinter Cell: Double Agent (2006), and it was here that I fell in love with the series. Never before had a game so successfully made me feel like an actual spy.
And I’m clearly not alone, the Splinter Cell series has sold over 22m units worldwide. It has made $500m in revenue and the five main games in the franchise have never scored lower than 85 on Metacritic.
But Splinter Cell should be doing so much better.
After Double Agent in 2006, Ubisoft set out to make a more accessible Splinter Cell game called Conviction. The game placed a heavier focus on action over stealth and when it launched it did rather well. Critics liked it and it shifted 2m units in a short space of time.
But, due to a difficult and protracted development, Conviction took over four years to build. And by the time game launched in 2010, Ubisoft had released two Assassin’s Creed games, and the publisher’s definition of a successful franchise had changed.
Splinter Cell had been usurped by Assassin’s Creed as Ubisoft’s top core games franchise. And one of the brains behind its success was producer Jade Raymond.
Raymond worked on the first two Assassin’s Creed games, but she’s since departed the franchise to lead a new development outfit in Toronto, Canada. A studio that’s hard at work on the next Splinter Cell title: Blacklist.
“Splinter Cell has benefited a lot from the learning
on Assassin’s Creed especially in the production
of the upcoming graphic novel.”
Jade Raymond - Producer, Ubisoft
“I met with Yannis [Mallat, Ubisoft Montreal CEO] and Yves [Guillemot, Ubisoft CEO] to discuss what franchise to bring to Toronto,” recalls Raymond.
“At the time I was executive producer in Montreal responsible for Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs and another unannounced new IP. We discussed bringing one of those franchises to Toronto, but we ultimately agreed on Splinter Cell because it was the best fit strategically.
She adds: “In my opinion, Splinter Cell is one of the Ubisoft franchises with the greatest untapped potential. The fantasy of being a secret agent is one of the most exciting premises for a game and it’s also ripe for being redefined. What is a spy post 9/11? The world has changed a lot since James Bond was created and I think that there is room to redefine and own the spy genre across media.”
Ubisoft Toronto is not just creating Splinter Cell: Blacklist, it is now handling the entire brand. And the studio has been charged with taking Splinter Cell away from gaming and into books, graphic novels and even a Hollywood movie. Just like Assassin’s Creed.
“We built Assassin’s Creed with multiple games and media in mind, and luckily for those two reasons, Assassin’s Creed has been able to expand successfully beyond the console games into mobile, web, comics, books and soon film,” says Raymond.
“Splinter Cell has benefited a lot from the learning on Assassin’s Creed especially in the production of the upcoming graphic novel.”
The graphic novel is entitled Splinter Cell Echoes, and is being created by writer Nathan Edmonson and artist Marc Laming. “When readers immerse themselves in the graphic novel, they gain access to Sam’s internal monologue and gain more insight into his strengths, weaknesses and fears,” says Raymond.
But there will be a lot more besides just the graphic novel. Not least of which is the new movie, which has Batman/Inception star Tom Hardy attached, plus Hollywood script writer Eric Warren Singer.
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