Whenever you play a Ubisoft game it always seems like there are 30 different studios from around the world that are all working on that one game. It’s certainly no different with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate which was worked on by a number of different Ubisoft studios. One such studio that worked on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was Ubisoft Chengdu in China. The studio isn’t as well known as some of the bigger ones and so Chinese media sat down with Jean-François Vallée, the studio manager, to find out more about the role Ubisoft Chengdu plays.
Ubisoft Chengdu was formally established in March 2008 and located in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. After 7 years the studio now has over 200 employees. In October 2013, Ubisoft Chendu and Ubisoft Singapore formed a strategic partnership to co-operate in all aspects to strengthen Ubisofts presence in China and Asia. The partnership has allowed Ubisoft to become a powerful in presence in Asia.
Jean-François revealed that Ubisoft Chengdu have worked on six Assassins Creed games with the latest one being Assassins Creed Syndicate. Around 20 people involved in research and development worked for over a year to ensure the game was completed on time. The main team also helped with art and animation, a large number of ships, buildings and other props were developed by the studio to help increase the level of realism in the game world. Jean-François said that cross studio development is one of Ubisofts greatest strengths and that they are able to take advantage of talent across the world to help deliver a AAA masterpiece.
Each studio has a role based on the strengths and knowledge that they have and so Ubisoft Chengdu have played a great role in ensuring each Assassins Creed game has the best quality assets. The studio also collaborated with Ubisoft Singapore on Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag and Ghost Recon: phantoms. Ubisoft Chengdu also collaborated with the Shanghai studio on The Crew and Ubisoft Sofia with Assassins Creed Rogue and are currently working with multiple Ubisoft studios on Tom Clancy’s The Division.
Jean-François talked about each project being full of challenges and difficulties but they are able to work together to complete each project successfully and this has allowed them to grow as a studio. The work they’ve done on Ubisofts top IP, Assassins Creed, has allowed them to become more confident when working on other AAA games and they are now implementing the same processes and strict quality management when making their own games.
When asked about the future direction of Ubisoft Chengdu, Jean-François said that there are two different focuses for the studio. The first is to focus on continuing with AAA development. Ubisoft Chengdu has just finished working on Assassins Creed Syndicate and will shortly finish up work on Rainbow Six: Seige and Tom Clancy’s The Division before moving onto new projects.
The second focus is to develop original games for the Chinese market and Chinese players. In 2010 the studio developed the web game “Might and Magic: Heroes Kingdoms” for the Asian market and their mobile game “Monkey King Escape” was released in 2014 and has hit over 2 million downloads in Asia before even being released in the West. As well as creating original games the studio has been responsible for localizing a number of titles into Chinese across console, PC and mobile.
The PlayStation 4 launch in China back in March of this year was a great time for the studio as they will now be focusing on bringing Ubisoft games to China. Rayman Legends and Trials Fusion were released for PS4 at launch in China and have allowed Ubisoft to have a strong presence in the console market from day 1. Ubisoft Chengdu hope to bring more games to China but have faced issues with censorship in the country. Assassins Creed Chronicles: China was originally announced to launch in the mainland but has now been cancelled due to censorship policies put in place by the government. If Ubisoft were to release the game they’d need to modify the content but in the meantime the studio is focusing on bringing as many games to China as it can.
When asked if we could see a AAA game tailored to a Chinese audience being developed by Ubisoft Chengdu as the lead, Jean-Francois said “Who knows what the future holds”.
About Jean-François Vallée