Massive Entertainment sits at the heart of the development of Tom Clancy’s The Division – building the bulk of the game in Malmo, Sweden using its stunning proprietary Snowdrop engine. But one of the things that makes Ubisoft unique is its cadre of international teams, each with their own unique specialties, that are often tapped to work together on various projects. Since the beginning of the development process, Massive has partnered with Red Storm – a studio with a long history of working on Clancy games – and Reflections, who you may recognize from their recent work on The Crew. Now they are proud to announce Ubisoft Annecy has joined these amazing teams in the ranks of associate studios, and have been collaborating with them on The Division.
“We are very happy that Ubisoft Annecy is part of The Division’s family,” says David Polfeldt, Managing Director at Massive Entertainment. “They are highly experienced and talented developers, adding much value to the project. Being able to work with other studios offers fantastic creative opportunities during development and, in the end, strongly benefits the overall quality of the game.”
“The team in Annecy is delighted to be collaborating with Massive, Red Storm and Reflections on Tom Clancy’s The Division,” Rebecka Coutaz, Studio Manager at Ubisoft Annecy, tells us. “We are bringing our previous experience in multiplayer online games and this project is allowing us to build our technical knowledge in other areas and become experts on this incredible brand. The collaboration with the other studios is going very smoothly, and we’re working together to ensure we meet and exceed the high expectations players have for this new title.”
A Storied Past
This isn’t Annecy’s first time collaborating with other teams on a project; in fact, the studio has built up quite the impressive résumé since it opened 19 years ago. They got their start with the much-loved Rayman 2 on the Nintendo 64 and continued to assist with the development of Rayman until 2004 when they joined the Clancy Universe for Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow.
Though Ubisoft Annecy started building its online expertise with Pandora Tomorrow, Chaos Theory and Double Agent, many people may be more familiar with their work on Assassin’s Creed – specifically its multiplayer – which they began working on in 2009 with Assassin’s Creed II.
The multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed gave them the chance to really stretch their level design limbs – ensuring easy readability of the paths in the maps, emphasizing different tactics and providing the best possible experience for a group of players.
Assassin’s Creed also offered Annecy the opportunity to prove its ability to create true living worlds beyond the online realm and into the main single-player game. Remember the Villa in Assassin’s Creed II? That was Annecy’s doing. Through linking game systems to actual physical changes in the world (upgrading buildings to change aesthetics and affect the surroundings) Annecy was able to provide a greater sense of life in the world.
Most recently, this returned in Assassin’s Creed Unity with the Café Théâtre. Not only did Annecy design the structure and visuals for the player’s hub, they also developed a “living and breathing” area where you can watch plays and debates. This space continued to evolve as the game progressed and the player completed the five Café Théâtre missions (also delivered by Annecy). As you explore this space, you can also find little things that just add to the realism and credibility of the world the team created – newspaper stories, plays, poems, revolutionary songs, etc..
While the exact details of Annecy’s involvement with The Division are being kept secret for now, we’ll have more to reveal soon – so keep an eye on the UbiBlog.
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