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Ubisoft's Guillemot Thinks Big, Assassin's Creed 2 To Cost 20 Percent More Than Original

In remarks after Ubisoft financials, CEO Yves Guillemot discussed a four-part company plan, based on expanding into new genres and working on "bigger games with higher quality."
On Ubisoft's year-end results call to analysts, CEO Yves Guillemot discussed the company's strategy for the year ahead -- a primary component of which is beefing up its internal titles, such as Assassin's Creed 2. "During the year, we... continued to aggressively build the long-term potential of the company," said Guillemot. "We increased our investments by 84 million [euros], we hired 1300 new developers; we acquired five studios and created four." Guillemot said these efforts serve a four-pronged growth plan: "First, adapt our strategy toward bigger games with higher quality -- for example, the second Assassin's Creed will cost around 20 percent more than the first one, and be a much bigger game," he promised. The second element of Guillemot's plan is to continue expanding into new genres -- its Shaun White Snowboarding multiplatform release last year marked the publisher's entry into the sporting genre, and Ubisoft calls it a success. The publisher announced today it would follow it up with a new Shaun White title, World Stage, exclusively for Wii in Holiday 2009. Guillemot's third goal is to continue internalizing more of the company's production "to better control development process and quality," and the fourth, as he's said previously, is to "get ready for the future generation of consoles that are coming now from many places." When pressed for details by analysts, Guillemot clarified: "Why I'm saying it's coming from many places is just because accessibility, being something that lots of people are working on, we will see more customers coming to the video game industry, and they will not only come to the basic consoles like we have today, but they will start also to come on all the boxes that you see, and the TV." Guillemot may have been indirectly referring to newly-buzzed technology types like the OnLive cloud-based gaming service, recently unveiled in February, which promises to allow games to be processed on a remote server and then streamed to televisions and PCs -- as well as hinting at Apple's plans to get further into the space. "Those consoles will be more powerful... TV boxes will be more powerful, and... accessibility will help to take more people. We will see more consoles on which we will be able to put product, and that's what the next generation of consoles," he added. "We can't give you positive dates, but what we see is that there's lots of energy to improve the consoles that will be available in the next few years, and we are already working on some of the elements that will appear in the next few years." The company's fiscal 2010 lineup, for the period ending March 2010, includes Assassin's Creed 2, Wii exclusive Red Steel and the next Splinter Cell in the third quarter along with Rabbids Go Home and the game based on James Cameron's Avatar film, for which Guillemot says Ubisoft is working "hand in hand" with the movie production team. In Q4, Ubisoft plans I Am Alive, R.U.S.E and a new Ghost Recon, and plans to unveil new casual brands at E3. When asked specifically about fitness games, Guillemot and CFO Alain Martinez both spoke: "We are already participating... we will have something to show in a few days."

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