Interviews// Industry Insights: Theo Sanders, Ubisoft Singapore

Posted 27 Mar 2013 16:30 by
As part of an ongoing series, SPOnG gets the unedited, open and highly informed opinions of developers, producers and more in the vast world of computer games.

Industry Figure: Theo Sanders
Job Title: Lead Producer
Company: Ubisoft Singapore
Best Known For: Ghost Recon Online

Theo Sanders is the man behind Ubisoft's free-to-play PC FPS, Ghost Recon Online. Taking a prestigious franchise to the online space has been no simple task, but the guys at Ubisoft Singapore pulled it off. The game features a strong community whose feedback constantly help improve the experience.

SPOnG interviewed Sanders previously just after the launch of the game, which you can read here. Today, he talks up the prospects of an online future, and how important indie and fresh IPs are in today's industry.

Do you feel that an always-online future would be a positive one, for both developers and gamers?

In the long-run, I think so - despite the challenges we've seen with that model in the past few weeks. There are two main challenges that need to be addressed that I think will take us there:

First, enjoying ubiquitous, affordable, and high-speed connectivity which is not true everywhere yet (as I can attest writing this offline, 12km above the South China Sea). The other, more important, is that there must always be a crystal-clear value proposition for the player. I've never heard anyone in the Ghost Recon Online community question why the game requires you to be connected. That's because without other players, there is no game to play in GRO.

When the reasons for always-online are opaque, players become suspicious. When the value is obvious, there are no questions.

Following Sony's PlayStation 4 reveal event, how successful do you think next-generation consoles will be in capturing the indie and mobile gamer?

The PS4 looks promising. It'll be interesting to see whether the players whose first gaming experience was on mobile will be compelled to explore what gaming on the big screen is all about.

How important is it to create new intellectual properties for existing platforms? Should the final years of a console generation consist of already-established franchises?

Ubisoft's CEO, Yves Guillemot, has spoken a lot about the opportunities to innovate and take risks with new IPs at the beginning, rather than the end, of a console cycle. I think for big-budget, high definition games he's right about that.

There may be something to be said for testing new IPs on various other platforms, regardless of where in the cycle you are. There have been some very compelling IPs in the past few years like Minecraft, Clash of Clans and Angry Birds that could evolve onto any number of other platforms in the future.

Thanks to Theo for his time. Check out SPOnG's recent industry insights below.

Industry Insights Series:
Mar 2013: Dan Webb, X360A
Mar 2013: Stewart Gilray, Just Add Water / Oddworld Inhabitants

Mar 2013: Alex Neuse, Gaijin Games
Feb 2013: Blazej Krakowiak, Techland
Feb 2013: Gina Jackson, Women in Games Jobs
Feb 2013: Stewart Gilray, Just Add Water & Oddworld Inhabitants
Feb 2013: Dominic Matthews, Ninja Theory
Jan 2013: Dan Webb, X360A
Jan 2013: Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynx
Jan 2013: Andy Payne, O.B.E.
Jan 2013: Gordon Midwood, Different Tuna
Jan 2013: Andrew Smith, Spilt Milk Studios
Jan 2013: Theo Sanders, Ubisoft Singapore
Jan 2013: Paul Rustchynsky, Evolution Studios

Jan 2013: Peter Molydeux, Genius
Jan 2013: Andy Payne O.B.E.
Jan 2013: David Jaffe
Jan 2013: Jon Lander of CCP
Dec 2012: Martyn Brown, InsightforHire
Dec 2012: Steve Lycett, SUMO Digital
Dec 2012: Theo Sanders, Ubisoft Singapore
Dec 2012: Ted Price, CEO Insomniac
Dec 2012: Paul Rustchynsky, Evolution Studios
Dec 2012: Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynx

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