CV

EDGE - - AN AUDIENCE WITH… -

In 1989, at the age of 17, An­cel joined Ubisoft’s Mont­pel­lier team as a graphic artist, and by 1992 was de­vel­op­ing his own cre­ation, Ray­man. That game was re­leased in 1995, with a se­quel in 1999. Be­yond Good & Evil (2003) fol­lowed, but de­vel­op­ment is­sues turned it into a longer project. Com­bined with King Kong’s (2005) nec­es­sar­ily speedy de­vel­op­ment, this seems to have con­vinced An­cel of the vi­tal­ity of well­man­aged small-team projects. Ray­man Rav­ing Rab­bids (2006) was turned around quickly, and when Be­yond Good & Evil 2 stut­tered, An­cel was able to pro­duce Ray­man Ori­gins (2011) and Leg­ends (2013) with a tiny core team. His new project, likely to be Be­yond Good & Evil 2, is be­ing de­vel­oped by the Leg­ends team. That Hello Games can build a galaxy with only four people is proof of the power of pro­ce­dural gen­er­a­tion. You work with a small team at Ubisoft Mont­pel­lier – com­par­a­tively small next to Watch Dogs, at least – so what are the ben­e­fits of a small team for you? Mainly, I think it’s the abil­ity of people to share, be­cause the main is­sue in de­vel­op­ing a game is hav­ing a con­nec­tion be­tween people. I think when you look now at some of the most suc­cess­ful teams – Naughty Dog, for ex­am­ple – the people who are leading those teams are ex­cel­lent com­mu­ni­ca­tors who have de­vel­oped other games, and they are able to con­nect people with their team. When you have a big team and you don’t have this con­nec­tion with the people, you try to make an en­gine or a tool that will be ca­pa­ble of fill­ing in ev­ery blank. It’s very com­plex, be­cause if I’m a pro­gram­mer and I don’t ex­actly un­der­stand the game [then] I’m go­ing to make a more generic graph­ics en­gine. But if you take the time to talk to the people and re­ally talk about what we need and what they want, then you can re­ally op­ti­mise and make some­thing unique. Can a small team com­pete with that big­ger, more un­wieldy team in the commercial space? I be­lieve tech­nol­ogy al­lows you to make good choices and see the cre­ativ­ity in your hands [more eas­ily] than you could with a lot of people, and for sure the tech­nol­ogy, and pro­ce­dural gen­er­a­tion, can help a small team make great things. I think it’s all about how you see the cre­ativ­ity in the first place and how you be­lieve in it. It’s im­por­tant when the team is re­ally in­volved in the kind of game we want to do. The core Mont­pel­lier team is around ten or 15 people max­i­mum. The good thing is we have a lot of

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