Ubisoft Concentrating On Just Dance Instead Of Original IP For Switch

In contrast to their support of the Wii and Wii U, Ubisoft will not be bringing an original property to the Switch, let alone for the launch period. Xavier Poix, the head of Ubisoft’s French studios, revealed the rationale behind this strategy in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. Rather than develop something new, Ubisoft will position their Just Dance series as a game tailor made for the Switch’s portable hybrid, out-of-box multiplayer nature. That, and its broad appeal with just over 65 million units sold since 2009.

The Switch has been made for Just Dance. Just Dance has sold more than 65m units, it has had more than 100m players that have used it. In the Switch box today, you have two Joy-Con controllers, so right from the first day you can play two player Just Dance – with each person holding a Joy-Con. Of course you can play in front of the TV, and also play on the smaller screen, which means you can now have a Just Dance party almost anywhere. It’s the perfect match for that game.

The Wii saw the release of Red Steel, a first-person shooter tailored to the Wii Remote, and the Wii U’s ZombiU took advantage of the GamePad’s asymmetrical interplay with the TV. While Red Steel did receive a sequel that made use of the Wii Motion Plus, ZombiU’s planned sequel never saw the light of day due to low sales. The original game was also ported to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2015.

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In short, Ubisoft will be bringing games to the Switch that they feel fit the platform and its audience. This includes their recent release Steep, the downhill open-ended skiing title. Xavier believes it is a good fit with the Switch’s open-ended nature as a hybrid console.

Ubisoft didn’t just bring the original Zombi U to the Wii U’s launch, either. More than any other third party publisher, Ubisoft supported Wii U in a big way at the launch, with support gradually drying up when sales slowed to a crawl. As to why Ubisoft pulled their support, it was due to the Wii U’s muddled messaging. Xavier believes the Switch will not suffer the same fate.

The message of the Wii U wasn’t clear enough. I think what they really did well with the Wii is that they found a new system, a new way of playing and an easy way of showing that to every audience. In terms of the Wii U, the idea of playing with two screens, and with a controller that is bigger than usual, it is something that is very hard to explain. It is ok when you play games that use this feature, because you understand, but it’s not something you can understand very easily by just seeing it.

I think the Switch, from day one – which I think is why they introduced the Switch at first without any other information – is to see if the message is something that people can easily understand. And for me it is simple. You know the handheld console, you know the home console, the Switch is the bridge. It is a home console on-the-go. It is a very simple message that anyone can understand. Of course there are more features that you’d need to play to understand it properly, but I am really confident that the messaging itself – which was key to the success of Wii – is there for the Switch.

The full interview goes into more about Ubisoft’s excitement for the Switch as a whole, the French’s appreciation for all things Japan, and what makes the Switch port of Rayman Legends definitive.

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A man with a plan. My favorite video game franchise is Pokemon, but his favorite video game is Resident Evil 4. I can also tell you trivial cartoon factoids.