A Candid Community Chat with Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot

It’s too easy to say that this E3 was the biggest ever, but… E3 2013 was certainly among the most important shows of all time. With new consoles coming and innovative IPs being launched across the industry (including a few of our own), E3 2013 was a milestone for Ubisoft, the industry and most importantly, gamers around the globe.

A Candid Community Chat with Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot

Because gamers are who matter most, we wanted to put you front and center with an opportunity to ask our top dog and CEO your questions. For those of you who don’t know him, Yves Guillemot co-founded Ubisoft along with four brothers back in 1986, and 27 years later he’s still at the helm of what’s now one of the largest companies in the gaming universe.

When we announced our Yves E3 community Q&A on Facebook and Twitter, we (unsurprisingly) got a virtual torrent of queries, so our apology if we couldn’t get to yours specifically. We did, however, make sure to ask some of the big recurring questions, along with a few of the most interesting ones, when we sat down with the man himself on the final day of E3.

We heard a lot from gamers, fans and aspiring developers alike who’d all love to know: What does it take to work at Ubisoft?

First, we’re looking for smart people with a good education and collaborative spirit, because nothing is more motivating than working with a group of talented, accessible and friendly people. The second thing we want is passionate team members who want to change to world. The final thing is the ability to work hard and challenge yourself while having fun. These ingredients are really what it takes to bring energy and excitement to everyone across the company.

Probably the most common question we received was: What is Ubisoft’s policy when it comes to classic or established franchises? Why do we wait so long for some games and not others?

We have a strategy in place for each brand. Our goal is to work on each franchise until we see that it needs a break, and then down the line we’ll bring it back with a team that can make it shine once again. The power of our brands lies in the power of the people who work on them. So when we get to a point where we don’t think we can improve enough or bring something that fans haven’t seen before, we prefer to wait until we can identify a breakthrough – a fresh new angle that allows us to reinvigorate the franchise. So a lot of the time it’s about waiting for the right moment and the right team.

Yves Guillemot Community Q&A

This one comes directly from Facebook: Yves, you said last year that the future of gaming is social. How do you think this is shaping up with the next generation of consoles?

Most consumers want to be able to play with their friends whenever they like and wherever they are, even if they are not sitting in front of their TV and if their friends are not connected. The ability to send challenges and interact with friends is a key element of a game’s success. That’s something that we are focusing on with a lot of our upcoming games – Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed, The Division and The Crew – and it’s something that is changing the industry as a whole. I think you’ve seen that across all the big publishers and developers at E3 this year. This also means that a lot of the time we are heading toward games that have open worlds, as they give players the choice to do what they want and also the possibility to interact with other players to achieve great things together. I love this direction because the achievements can be for one person or three or five or ten people, but eventually they can become achievements for millions of people. I think the meta-games that will be made in the next few years will give us a chance to achieve amazing things – things that will potentially start to impact us in real life.

Another one from Facebook: Does Ubisoft have the capacity to create a whole new genre of gaming?

I really hope we managed to show that at our Media Briefing at E3. We want to get into RPGs, particularly in the online, open world space, and we know that our team at Massive is capable of creating something different and exciting; something that can help us make a mark in this space. They have a great pedigree as a studio and we know they can help us create an experience that lives up to the standards that everyone has come to expect from Ubisoft.

More from Facebook: With next-gen do you think games will focus more on action or stories?

I think what is very interesting is that with open worlds, you’ll be able to have both. You’ll be able to do whatever you want in these games and our goal will be to make sure gamers can find what they’re looking for. From there it’s also our job to look at what players do within the games and try to give them more of what they’re interested in. So that’s one of the big things about the next generation of games – more understanding of what the player wants to do, then determining how we can provide this for them.

A Candid Community Chat with Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot

When the E3 teaser video came out that showed you with a dog in your office, we got a bunch of questions all over social media: Is that really your dog? And does the dog come to work with you every day?

Yes, it is my dog! His name is Buddy. He very rarely comes in to the office, but when I knew I was going to be shooting the teaser video for our E3 conference alone I thought it would be nice to have a ‘Buddy’ there on camera.

Has Buddy ever helped you make an important decision?

I would say yes. I take him for walks a lot – almost every day – which is a great time for me to think about things. So, yeah, I think Buddy’s helped with some of my decisions!

Okay, let’s head to the lightning round! We have a bunch of quick-fire questions we received on Twitter. First, who is your favorite developer outside of Ubisoft?

Good question! At the moment I would say Blizzard. They really get it. They understand their strengths and what makes them unique and they are performing extremely well at the moment.

Which other companies impressed you most at this year’s E3?

This year, I really like what the Titanfall team has done. They’ve bought something new and exciting. I would also say that Destiny looks to be coming along really well. What I love about both of these games in particular is that they’re pushing the boundaries and really pushing us along at the same time. We love competition because we love that the industry is always evolving. It’s great to see games like this coming out as it serves as incredible motivation for us to push further and keep trying different things to offer fantastic experiences to gamers.

Yves Guillemot Community Q&A

Who is your all-time favorite Ubisoft character?

Wow, that’s difficult… I would say Rayman because he really made Ubisoft in a lot of ways. It was a launch game on the PS1 and Rayman was the first Ubisoft character that became popular worldwide. This really helped the company take off, and that’s why I particularly like him. In more recent years I would say the Assassins. I really like them all. I think they’re all unique, hugely charismatic and bring something different to fans.

Finally, what’s it like to be the CEO of Ubisoft?

It’s fantastic! Working with 8,000+ people who all share a passion to create the best games in the world is something that is very motivating. On top of this, having competition that is extremely active and always pushing us to do better really provides all of us with tremendous motivation to challenge ourselves and achieve things we are really proud of.