Jade Raymond, director of Ubisoft Toronto, recently spoke to Eurogamer about the gaming industry
"It's time for our industry to grow up," she says, in a quiet but determined voice. "Why is it that so many topics that are dealt with in other media are off limits or taboo in video games? Why can't we deal with the things that matter? I can think of so many examples of topics that could be interesting, issues that could be addressed in games or that could be integrated into existing big IP if we don't want to make them the centre of the experience. It's our responsibility; doubly so for people like me who can make a difference, or push for something getting funded."
It's Raymond's recent journey into motherhood that has brought about this determination to create games that carry greater meaning. "I am generation X and a parent now, so I don't think I am really the target market for games any more," she says. "We tend to think young people just want explosions. But I don't think it's true. Perhaps even less so than when we were children. I believe we are underestimating our audience by creating the same experience over and over again. We think that this is what they like but I think we are deeply mistaken.
"More and more people come to me at Ubisoft and say, 'I love games. I came into this industry with so many ideas. But I can't continue to make shooters over and over again. I'm not even in line with the messages.' I have that meeting a lot these days. Yeah, it's time to give our teenage medium a kick in the balls."
"Beyond that? What about the way the way the system is stacked against the poor? If you lose your job, especially in the States where there's no healthcare, your debt can grow out of control very quickly. It's remarkably easy to become homeless. That meta-gameplay loop could easily be brought into a game I think. Sexism, too. That could easily be brought into a franchise like Call of Duty. If you could play as a woman you could bring in some perspectives to what that might be like.
"I don't know when we decided as an industry that in order to sell five million copies of a game you have to make a Michael Bay film. There are other options."
These are just a few aspects she touches upon, but her point remains throughout. She and many other Ubisoft employees are tired of the same stuff and want to change the gaming industry. Thoughts?