As part of its Game Dev Panel at the recently concluded Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS) 2023, Ubisoft Philippines announced exciting news: the studio will be moving to Bonifacio Global City in 2024.
The move from its Laguna campus to Taguig will open a brand-new horizon for Ubisoft fans and aspiring talent alike. They can look forward to more events and career opportunities now within Metro Manila.
FILIPINO TALENT SHINES IN ASSASSIN’S CREED MIRAGE
Ubisoft Philippines drove several key aspects of the level design, worldbuilding, and gameplay programming in the latest release in the Assassin’s Creed (AC) franchise, AC Mirage. The game marks the studio’s 11th AAA game, following the release of fellow flagship titles Far Cry 6 and AC Valhalla.
From the militarized district of Sharqiyah to the game’s arsenal of Assassin Tools (the largest assortment in franchise history to date) and the innumerable architecture, points of interest, props, gameplay objects and animations that bring the dense and vibrant city of 9th century Baghdad to life – these were all masterfully designed and developed from concept to completion by the studio’s homegrown talent of designers, artists, and tech experts.
Co-developed with lead studio Ubisoft Bordeaux and several other Ubisoft studios across the globe, the Ubisoft Philippines team drew on years of expertise in the AC franchise, to put players in the shoes of the cunning street thief turned Master Assassin Basim.
WORLDBUILDING EXPERTISE, ARTISTRY, AND MASTERFUL CODING
“The challenge was in taking a world that people have only read about in historical texts and translating that into a satisfying player experience,” said Lead Level Designer Michael Sean Tan, echoing remarks from his team.
Sharqiyah is one of the four main regions of the game and a prominent location in the main questline and Level Designers Nicolas Dela Cruz and Edmund Cruz said that working on a district this big, they aligned their design intentions with fellow Level, Quest, and Cinematic Designers from partners studios, ensuring that Sharqiyah was properly integrated with the rest of the city infrastructure.
Beyond Sharqiyah, the world-class level of Filipino artistry is present throughout the whole of 9th century Baghdad, where the team successfully brought the city’s rich history to life.
Associate Lead Artist Philip Nery recalls how for example, ensuring the domes of the Palace of the Green Dome were just the right size and proportion for Basim to see from a distance and climb over took hours upon hours of work.
Gameplay objects made by Associate Lead Artist Jerrol Cadores’ team on the other hand, allow Basim to seamlessly flow across the city, whether through carefully placed rope swings or intricately fashioned sets of items that let him slide above or roll over.
In developing the largest assortment of Assassin Tools in franchise history, Lead Programmer Dennis Li said that part of their goal was to give players a myriad of options to fulfill the ultimate Master Assassin fantasy, whether by hurling knives at enemies or deploying smoke bombs to escape tight situations. And from a technical perspective, Li noted that the challenge was to take into account how these tools worked together and their combined effects.
Besides the tools, the local studio’s programmers also owned the technical aspect of the Pickpocket mechanics, where Basim can use sleight of hand to steal from unsuspecting non-playable characters (NPCs).
“The resulting situation and how the NPCs react depend on whether the player succeeds or fails in the pickpocket – if you’re caught in the act, the NPCs may call nearby guards but if you’re fast enough, you may just get away with it,” explained Gameplay Programmer Charles Lim who worked on the feature.
AN EXCITING TIME FOR FILIPINO GAMERS AND GAME ENTHUSIASTS
The release of Mirage marks another milestone for the Ubisoft Philippines studios. “I couldn’t have been prouder of our team,” said Nery. “The fact that together with our co-dev partners we were able to build a dense and vibrant city of this size shows not only that Filipino artistry is world-class but also that the team is capable of growing and training that level of talent.”
“We don’t design in a bubble,” Tan added. “You have to realize that for a game this big, you have to rely on a lot of people and be truly part of a team. So, seeing players finally enjoy the game – something we made beautiful together – was the sweetest acknowledgment of all our hard work.”
Assassins’ Creed Mirage is a testament to how far AAA game development has come in the country, with Ubisoft Philippines taking the lead in bringing more and more local talent to the world stage.
The studio brings together a diverse team of developers from across disciplines, Philippine provinces – from Baguio to Laguna, Bicol, Aklan, and Cagayan De Oro – and a wide range of industries, from architecture to advertising, research, accountancy, public health, and more.
With 11 AAA titles and 5 flagship franchises under its belt, Ubisoft Philippines will continue to Create the Unknown, staying committed to growing the local industry and further inspiring the next batch of game developers. And with its upcoming new home in BGC, Ubisoft Philippines welcomes aspiring talent to embark on this fresh new journey with the studio.