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Ubisoft's boss thinks you don't want new ideas until next-gen. Borderlands' dad thinks he's dead wrong. But which is it?

New IPs are scary. They're unfamiliar and different. People fear change. That's probably why The Last of Us got very little public attention until E3 this year when everyone saw it running at Sony's press conference and suddenly got excited about 'the new game from the creators of Uncharted'. Even though we'd been showing you and showing you for months already before E3. But while new IPs are undoubtedly hard to get people excited about (even from a studio as amazing as Naughty Dog), is it possible there's a science to releasing them at a specific time in a console's lifespan?

Above: The Last of... who? Never heard of it mate. Uncharted 4 though, now you're talking...

Yves Guillemot of Ubisoft reckons there is, absolutely. So much so that he says the lack of new consoles in the past couple of years has 'penalised' his company. The cynical among us could argue that a shinier version of Rayman 2 can be released at any time and get people just as excited for the game (read: not at all), but Yves isn't actually talking about sequels and re-releases. He's talking about proper, brand new intellectual properties.

He said: "I understand the manufacturers don't want [new consoles] too often because it's expensive, but it's important for the entire industry to have new consoles because it helps creativity. It's a lot less risky for us to create new IPs and new products when we're in the beginning of a new generation. Our customers are very open to new things. Our customers are reopening their minds – and they are really going after what's best.

"At the end of a console generation, they want new stuff, but they don't buy new stuff as much. They know their friends will play Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed so they go for that. So the end of a cycle is very difficult."

It's a theory, certainly, and does go some way to explaining why Ubisoft has had several titles ready for hardware launches recently. But even though Yves looks very much like John Lithgow, not everybody can agree with him. Randy Pitchford of Gearbox and Borderlands fame completely disagrees. His argument is backed up with actual facts, too. How fiendishly clever of him.

Above: Brothers in Arms, back in March, 2005. When the world still wanted WWII shooters

He told trade magazine MCV:

"Part of the reason there are lots of sequels is because that's what people are investing in. I've never understood that. We launched the first Brothers in Arms in March 2005 and we sold 3.2 million units. Xbox 360 launched in November 2005 so that's about as end of the lifecycle as you can get. And you know what else launched in November 2005? God of War."

And Mr Pitchford hasn't finished his argument. He concluded:

"You can create IP at any time. You just have to make something that people want."

Then there was talk of how Call of Duty is vanilla ice cream and that Battlefield 3 is also vanilla ice cream and then everyone would kill for a rocky road. So expect Gearbox to make a new IP called Boulder Highway and release it whenever the hell they want, and for Ubisoft to offer something new at the launch of the next-gen consoles. Along with another version of Rayman 2, natch.

Source: MCV

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13 comments

  • lawman2593733 - July 24, 2012 1:41 p.m.

    I was fully engrossed into any news that may be coming forth for the Last of Us from the moment I heard of it. It's Naughty Dog. When it's naughty dog, I get excited.
  • ObliqueZombie - July 24, 2012 11:37 a.m.

    I ALWAYS want new IPs, but I'm very content with the same IP as long as it freshens itself up, or it just insanely good in my opinion. But, I can see where Yves is coming from. It's hard to invest yourself in a new IP, especially one that may or may not have sequels and especially one that lasts you a long time, whether through multiplayer, collectibles, or you just plain draw it out, knowing that there's a whole new generation of consoles waiting for you, with resources barely tapped. Still, I don't entirely agree. A good, new IP is a good, new IP. Not everyone is going to buy the Xbox 720 or PS4 (and especially not the Wii U) Day One, so you have to think about that large majority who just simply can't throw away a few hundred bucks.
  • NullG7 - July 25, 2012 8:38 p.m.

    I agree and add on the fact that at the end of a generation is when you have the largest base of potential consumers with the consoles in their hands so you have more potential sales so long as you get their attention you have the potential to have more sales then the rest of the generation and more sales until the nest gen gets itself underway. Also ad in the fact that even when you come out with a new Generation the people who can afford it like myself just don't chuck our old consoles away my original Xbox got quite a bit of play even after I got my first release Xbox 360. I mean what else are you going to do when your waiting for the games you want on the new console Answer- Play with the old one.
  • Woosie5000 - July 24, 2012 9:05 a.m.

    Guillemot is making excuses. Persona 4 and Odin Sphere were at the very end of the PS2 life cycle and both were well received. Persona 4 was so good in fact they made a fighting game spin off on the PS3. Console release cycle will not have an effect on how well an IP does. That's like saying, because no new guns have come out in a long time, the sale of bullets suffer.
  • usman-jin - July 24, 2012 9:03 a.m.

    Analyst Michael Pachter was wrong, and he knows it. He and other analysts believed that 2009 would be a significantly better year than it turned out to be. However, recent NPD data shows that they were wrong. Dead wrong..... <a href="http://www.goldminerjogos.org/" rel="follow">gold miner</a>,<a href="http://www.guitarheroonlineflash.org/" rel="follow">guitar hero online</a> ,<a href="http://facebooktimelinecovers.in/" rel="follow">facebook timeline covers</a>
  • yonderTheGreat - July 24, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    Yeah this has NOTHING to do with UbiSoft turning their back on PC gaming and treating every PC Gamer like a friggin criminal.
  • kevinw729 - July 24, 2012 8:50 a.m.

    The big publishers shot their bolt at E3 2012, and made themselves look incredibly stupid showing teasers of games that would not run to the same level / quality of Gen-7 hardware. No wonder the over paid executive structure is worried for their jobs and down playing Gen-7 with eyes on promises from Gen-8. In reality new IP is new IP, if you can get players to play then all the better - why make statements like this if there is not another reason. I just wonder that we have heard little from Atari, while THQ is playing twister with the stock market, and Ubisoft is attempting to avoid questions about the reality of their game line-up quality. All this and EA hemorrhaging cash, while Activision is looking at a management buyout - you have to wonder if these guys are going to be driving the future of consumer game in the first place? They have been good at creating debt!
  • Bloodstorm - July 24, 2012 7:37 a.m.

    It's not the right time for new consoles. not yet. That said, I'm mostly a PC guy anymore, so I don't necessarily live within generational restraints. I think gaming is going to get stale if they all keep waiting for the next gen and in the mean time keep pumping out old and tired concepts.
  • Redeater - July 24, 2012 6:16 a.m.

    "They know their friends will play Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed" I laughed. Nice plug.
  • Darth Olds - July 24, 2012 5:48 a.m.

    Yeah I have to agree with Randy Pitchford. If the IP is interesting and done correctly it doesn't matter when in the console cycle it launches. As for me my interest in The Last of Us mostly ended the moment I found out it was PS3 exclusive, though I do keep an eye on it just in case that changes. As I don't have the money for a PS3 I don't pay much attention to their exclusives. Now If I had the money I would have a PS3 and therefore pay more attention to their exclusives. In all this talk about new IP's did anyone take into account system exclusivity and the like?
  • AbuBeats24 - July 24, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    Sorry to break it to you, but it will always be a ps3 exclusive....its made by naughty dog, which is a first party for sony........
  • Shnubby - July 24, 2012 4:29 a.m.

    I've been following the news about The Last Of Us since the day it first revealed it's beautiful face. Naughty Dog has been my life since 1996 and I'm quite looking forward to playing something from them other than Uncharted. ...I wouldn't have minded a new Jak and Daxter game either though...
  • fourteenaha - July 24, 2012 4:01 a.m.

    Completely disagree with Guillemot, completely agree with Pitchford. Sounds like excuses being made for a lack of new ideas. Personally, I love to see new IPs towards the end of a cycle as companies know what they are doing at this point. I hope the Last of Us sells well enough to show there is still a demand. Also, once you've mastered how to develop for a console, you can launch a really strong IP then use that to give you a boost to early sales on the next-gen whilst you are still getting to grips with it. So in the case of God of War, Santa Monica were able to release on a platform that people knew well, making the game extremely polished, meaning that when the next gen came around they had to fanbase to continue the franchise with. Similarly, I can see Naughty Dog building a fan base for the Last of Us due to their experience with PS3, then releasing a sequel on PS4 with very little risk of failure. Coincidentally, I just bought Borderlands GOTY for a bargain price, can't wait for it to arrive.

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