May 31, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Watch Dogs’ review: Ubisoft techno thriller compels until guns drawn

Central to the narrative of “Watch Dogs” is a character by the name of Aiden Pearce, a baseball-cap-wearing vigilante whose greatest weapon is a cellphone. As Aiden walks the streets with his head buried in his phone, the emails, text messages, bank accounts, salaries and police records of strangers within his proximity are made available to his hacking delight. When he uses his phone to sneak into the network of the city — in this case, modern-day Chicago — he has more power than former Windy City Mayor Richard M. Daley ever had during his 22 years in office. Though the theme of spying is certainly topical, work on the new Ubisoft game “Watch Dogs” began five years ago, long before most of us were concerned with what the letters NSA actually stood for. But the real world has caught […]
Nov. 06, 2013 | 12:18 p.m.

‘Assassin’s Creed’ writer: 11 women who need their own games

Ubisoft writer Jill Murray has a simple piece of advice for game designers who are struggling to find compelling female protagonists. “There’s a trick to finding inspiring women,” Murray said at a game industry conference on Tuesday. “You just type anything, and then you type ‘women’ into Google. So if you want women warriors, just type ‘women warriors.’ This is a piece of cake.” But scan the launch titles for this month’s Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and you’ll find lots of sports titles, lots of action games and lots of dudes. “I hope that we can fix this epidemic and oversight that’s been existing in games,” said Murray, “and when we do, it’s going to be fun.” Murrary, whose credits include the just-released “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,” the female-centered “Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation” and the young adult novel […]
Oct. 15, 2013 | 12:30 p.m.

‘Watch Dogs’ delayed until 2014, Ubisoft announces

“Watch Dogs,” which had been one of the most anticipated new games of 2013, just became one of the most anticipated new games of 2014. Ubisoft announced Tuesday that the release of the title has been pushed back until at least spring of next year. “Our ambition from the start with ‘Watch Dogs’ has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next-generation of gaming,” read a statement attributed to the “Watch Dogs” development team. “It is with this in mind that we’ve made the tough decision to delay the release until spring 2014.” Set in Chicago, “Watch Dogs” presents a world in which governing forces are spying on citizens with hidden surveillance systems and guns are easy to come by. Gamers play as protagonist Aiden Pearce, who has the ability to hack into the […]
Aug. 20, 2013 | 1:08 p.m.

‘Watch Dogs’: Sony plans movie based on Ubisoft action game

Sony Pictures and New Regency are teaming up with Ubisoft to bring “Watch Dogs” to the big screen. The “Watch Dogs” movie, announced today during Sony Computer Entertainment’s news conference at Gamescom, is based on Ubisoft’s highly anticipated action-adventure game due out in November. “The themes and open gameplay of ‘Watch Dogs’ lends itself perfectly to the big screen,” Hannah Minghella, president of production for Columbia Pictures, said in a news release. “The game has intense action and adventure, but the story focuses on information and the control of information, which we think will lead to an exciting thriller. It has tremendous potential as a motion picture.” Minghella added that the studio will work closely with Ubisoft’s internal creative team to develop the film. “[Sony and New Regency’s] willingness to allow us to maintain a strong creative voice in the […]
Feb. 07, 2013 | 7:18 p.m.

New ‘Assassin’s Creed’ hero, new time period, coming soon

The next installment of “Assassin’s Creed” will come out by April 2014, and will take place in a new time period, with a new hero, Ubisoft Chief Executive Yves Guillemot announced Thursday during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. A representative for Ubisoft told The Times that the company had no additional details to share at this time, but that there will be more information coming soon. REVIEW: ‘Assassin’s Creed 3,’ an alternate history, with footnotes The last installment of the franchise, “Assassin’s Creed III,” was released in October 2012. That game takes place during the American Revolution, and features protagonist Connor Kenway, birth name Ratonhnhaké:ton, the son of a European colonist and a Native American woman from the Mohawk nation, or Kanien’keha:ka, as they prefer to be called. It features cameos from Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin […]
Oct. 30, 2012 | 9:00 a.m.

‘Assassin’s Creed 3’ review: An alternate history, with footnotes

Long before “Assassin’s Creed 3” gets going – multiple hours before players even meet the part-Native American protagonist Connor – players have the opportunity to play a board game. Fanorama, as “Assassin’s Creed” informs players, is an ancient game native to Madagascar.  In Ubisoft’s historical fiction series, it’s played on a ship sailing the Atlantic to the American colonies. While Fanorama is a great example of what this game does best — pay attention to historical detail — it also highlights an aspect of the game that’s ultimately lacking. In the wide-screen “Assassin’s Creed 3” world, this  interactive board game is one of the few places players can strategize outside the confines of an otherwise convoluted, rigid plot. Playing through “Assassin’s Creed 3” is like flipping through the pages of a screenplay. Forget puzzles, there are directions. Mount the horse, the […]
June 08, 2012 | 8:58 p.m.

E3 download: Six gaming trends to expect over next six months

It’s game over for this year’s E3 but what’s the final score? We put the question to Yves Guillemot, the chief executive of Ubisoft Entertainment, a French company he co-founded in 1986 and guided to its current ranking as the world’s third-largest game publisher (after Activision-Blizzard and Electronic Arts) with franchises such as “Assassin’s Creed,” “Rayman Raving Rabbids,” and “Splinter Cell.” From his perch in Montreuil-sous-Bois, an eastern suburb of Paris, Guillemot has built a reputation as an astute trend-spotter who was nimble in capitalizing on the Wii and DS craze then heard a hit in the dance-game craze and delivered “Just Dance,” a franchise that has sold more than 28 million copies. Here are six major trends that will affect the games players will see in the coming months. 1) THE SECOND SCREEN: “Video games played on home television sets will increasingly incorporate another mobile screen,” Guillemot […]
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