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 Assassin's Creed  Producer Jade Raymond To Lead Ubisoft Toronto
Assassin's Creed Producer Jade Raymond To Lead Ubisoft Toronto
August 31, 2009 | By Kris Graft

August 31, 2009 | By Kris Graft
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    58 comments
More: Console/PC



Jade Raymond, the highly-visible producer of Ubisoft's multi-million selling Assassin's Creed, is heading up the publisher's recently-announced Ubisoft Toronto studio, the company said Monday.

Ubisoft said it would be founding a Toronto-based studio in a major announcement in July. The government of Ontario is investing CAD$263 million ($226 million) into the development studio over the next 10 years.

Raymond will lead day-to-day operations at Ubisoft Toronto, and will report to Yannis Mallat, CEO of both Ubisoft Montreal and Toronto.

Raymond had been with Ubisoft Montreal since 2004, where she had been a producer on Assassin's Creed. The third-person action game released to much anticipation in 2007, and has sold 8 million copies to date, according to Ubisoft.

She is currently executive producer on Assassin's Creed II and other projects, Ubisoft said. Raymond has also worked at Electronic Arts, IBM, and Sony Online.

Mallat said in a press statement, "I’m excited to have Jade managing our Toronto studio. With more than 12 years of experience in the video game industry, Jade’s knowledge and leadership as an industry veteran are major assets in building the Toronto studio and expanding Ubisoft’s presence in Canada."

In July, Ubisoft said the Toronto studio in particular will help bridges video games with other media, "including books, comics, short films, and other products."


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Comments


Lo Pan
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It is an amazing rise to the top for Producer with such a short resume...

Michel McBride-Charpentier
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Her resume is short? 12 years in the games industry and a CV that includes SOE, EA and IBM seem like solid credentials to me.

Lo Pan
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Since I have 16 years in the gaming industry at major publishers, I should be up for consideration to head up their Ubisoft-Honolulu studio...

Michel McBride-Charpentier
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Were you a producer on an Ubisoft game that has sold 8 million copies recently? If so, yes, I agree you should have been considered for an internal promotion.

Mac Senour
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Promotions within this industry have as much to do with timing and who you know, as they do with experience. One company I worked with recently hired a CEO who had virtually no experience actually producing titles, but his family knew the chairman of the board.



Ultimately her success or failure will come down to her leadership skills. If it were me, I'd hate to know that I got a job based not on my skills but on my looks... so lets hope she successfully leads the team to turning our great products.



If not... I have 28 years experience... :)



I talk all about this kinda stuff in my blog...



http://aboutmakinggames.blogspot.com/



Mac

Lo Pan
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Good points Mac, I have to the think looks, fan following and personality played a major factor here. @Michel, games I have worked on have cumulatively sold over 35 million. Ubisoft Honolulu and Tokyo are in my future!

Erik Harg
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Would a "highly-visible" hot-shot *male* producer get the same kind of "I bet it's the looks and not the skills" treatment, if he was suddenly moved to the executive level? I doubt it, although it's sad.



I say we're quite unqualified to question the motives of Ubisoft here, unless we have worked with Jade, or know who else was considered for the position. And I haven't and I don't, so I'll shut up too. :)

Greg Frame
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I think it is an insult to Jade and the Ubisoft senior management team to suggest that she is being promoted because of her appearance. I have followed Jade for a while because of her relevant industry experience to Kaneva and I believe she will do a great job in at her new post. Congratulations Jade. (send free beta keys to Atlanta!!)



--G

David Rodriguez
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She clearly has skill and worked her ass off to get to that spot. But please don't take my word for it, it's impressive to read so many jealous and whiny comments to this story.

brandon sheffield
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Rebecca, if you've shipped 35 million games, shouldn't your name be in mobygames at least once?

Samuel Fiunte Matarredona
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I think that all of you have some point fo reason, looks....have their influence, and make jade a fan favourite even before the creed came out, and her influence in the media is important! so these points could have been important for the people that took the decision, it can turn the balance on her favour agains whoever else was being considered...but is quite sure that her resume was good enough to be at least considered!



Rebecca, I don't know how you manage to do it, but you're always controversial ;)

Kevin Reese
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I also think it is pretty lame to suggest her looks were a primary cause of her promotion. She would not have been promoted if the Ubi decision-makers didn't think she wasn't completely and totally up for the task. This isn't a Popsicle stand we are talking about here; or a secretarial position at an advertising agency.



And if her "personality" played a big role in landing her the job, then that's certainly beyond reproach as well. I can't claim first-hand knowledge, but presumably, having a great personality is a very beneficial -- and if not requisite -- personal asset to employ in her chosen capacity.



Congrats to J. Raymond for her ability and success, I say.

Jamie Ottilie
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Building a hit game has always been the fastest way to find sucess in this industry. She built a successful original IP at an Ubisoft Studio and is finishing up the sequel. Is there a more logical progression of her career track? It makes sense that Ubi would give someone who has found success in their studios a shot to run one and that a person like this would be given preference over an outsider - regardless of number of years of experiance.

Marc Merrill
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Tenure means little - results are what matters. 8m units sold on a major next gen title and a demonstrated track record of success is why she rose rapidly. Does being attractive help her be effective in her job? Yes. Is that a bad thing? No.



Strauss Zelnick was on the cover of Men's Health - did the peanut gallery question his leadership and effectiveness because of that?



She's an overachiever and from all reports a good person. Uninformed criticism reflects poorly on those throwing the stones.



Congrats to Jade.



Marc Merrill

President

Riot Games

Dan Saundberg
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She is 34, experienced in production and management, the latest projects have been successful. She probably has great people skills and is a good communicator. In 12 years in the game industry she accomplished quite allot. Are there more experienced people? Sure!



There are plenty of people with 8m million title under their belt. Personally I think Ubisoft management is taking a risk. Sometimes it's good when people take risks.



Much success to Ubi Toronto, we need new studios opening to culminate the thousands of job losses we had these past months. Ubi is the only big name publisher that is adding staff, i hope this strategy pays up for them.

Bob Stevens
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I imagine her looks are a much bigger deal outside of Ubisoft than inside of Ubisoft. I also doubt they'd give an important position to someone just because they happen to be attractive.

Jason Weesner
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I worked with a guy once who admitted that he got hired for most upper management positions because he was tall.

Bryan OHara
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Congrats to Jade and best of luck to the Ubisoft Toronto Studio.



Reading about Jade's history and experience, I am sure it is her leadership ability and drive that got her to this position. However, I am also sure that randomness played its own role, as it does with almost everything business. So don't fret it you feel you should have the position instead :)



Leonard Mlodinow's book The Drunkards Walk does a great job of explaining this.

JB Vorderkunz
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@Daniel MD - should you praise Ubisoft or the Canadian Gov? 226Mil is no small amount of investment. I think a lot of companies would be adding staff if they got a gov bailout!

Christopher Corbett
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I suspect there is still some time, but wonder when they'll start posting positions? Ubi is one of the more consistent developer/publishers and the culture strikes me as one dedicated to creativity rom the top down (having yet to work there). Plus Toronto is a great city. I thought Assassin's Creed was a great game, although it spoke more to what's to come than what was. Not a bad thing by any means.

Andrew Grapsas
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"Good points Mac, I have to the think looks, fan following and personality played a major factor here. @Michel, games I have worked on have cumulatively sold over 35 million. Ubisoft Honolulu and Tokyo are in my future!"



Do you know the lady? No? Then, lay off. You're just coming off as... dare I say it? Jealous. Relax.



You're name is attached to your posts, consider that before you criticize a peer in the industry for an accomplishment!

Christopher Wragg
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Congrats to the lady, I don't doubt she worked hard and deserves the position. Also people should lay off her for being attractive and successful, if anything be annoyed at the people who insisted she be marketed that way. I don't doubt she'd be just as effective, and assassins creed would have sold just as well, if Ubisoft hadn't decided that it wanted to loudly tote the fact it had an attractive woman in a lead role....hell I can't even tell if it was Ubi who started it, or if as soon as her face appeared in a magazine it became a media sideshow (they'll make a story outta anything these days), either way Ubi didn't turn away the press (can you blame them really?).

Kumar Daryanani
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Congratulations Jade! I'm happy to see that hard work and successful titles have paid off for her.



As to the naysaying, I agree with Andrew. It does nothing for your image to rile off about other's success.

Mac Senour
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@brandon, please don't use MobyGames as a resource for anything.



Mac

Shawn A
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Wow...didn't realize this had turned into a fanboy site

brandon sheffield
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Mac - there's unfortunately no better archive of game credits, and if one has shipped 35 million games, that is at minimum 7 games. Any game that popular is guaranteed to have credits in mobygames, and if one is a senior producer, there's little chance of getting left off the list. While it's certainly imperfect, when we're dealing with that scale (even if it were 35 games at 1 million each) it is extremely likely that some data would turn up.

Mac Senour
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brandon, I agree that there is no better archive of game credits. But since it's accuracy, in my opinion, is less than 1% it really can't be used as a resource even if there is nothing better.

Aaron Casillas
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Wish her all the luck.

Dan Saundberg
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@J. Bronaugh Vorderkunz - Both, Canada is known for being a supporter of the short film animations, and giving many other incentives to the film and games industry. Canadian governments support is not a bailout in any way IMO, it's a very smart investment in job creation in a high demand area.



I know a few countries in Europe hat had huge amounts of cash that they did not use to support the creation of new jobs in the arts, specifically computer arts/game studios.

Andrew Heywood
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I guess one thing that may have helped her rise to near the top of her game is that she probably doesn't snipe at other successful members of the industry in a public forum. Or not. Just saying.



Oh, and congratulations Jade!

Peter Dwyer
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I'm pretty confused by this move. The canadian government is basically giving Ubisoft 22 million a year for 10 years in order to have them open a studio there. So what happens if the studio ends up creating crap games and making no money?



As for the Jade issue. Frankly after buying and playing AC1, I wouldn't touch AC2 without some major changes to the gameplay and a guarantee that she didn't produce it. In fact didn't Ubisoft have to expressly tell gamers that she wasn;'t the producer on the project before they would even take AC2 seriously?



Removing my developer hat for a second and sticking my gamer hat on. I would be reluctant to buy anything that Jade has produced. I felt genuinely ripped of when I played AC. More so by the false praise the journalists gave the game than by Jade herself. It looked great but, at it's heart was a repetitive and shallow game that I couldn't even be bothered to finish. Most gamers came to the conclusion (again maybe not Jades fault directly) that journalists were writing praise for the game because they wanted to get into her pants rather than because they actually enjoyed the game itself.



If anything I suppose the journalists who attended the demo sessions with Jade are the ones who ruined her reputation amongst gamers. After all it was they who drew more attention to her looks than to the game or it's gameplay and ultimately started the whole "she's only there because she's hot" issue that has plagued her ever since.



Looking at the posts here today. I think she still has a long way to go to get away from the whole AC1 fiasco.

Andrew Heywood
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/edit taking my own advice...

Samuel Fiunte Matarredona
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well.....I will not call AC1 a fiasco in any way at all...how many copies did it shipped? did it become a famous IP from the scratch or didn't it? even if some people dislike it it still managed to have good scores in most of the reviews...it has an upcoming big profile sequel...so....what else do you want? wich criteria are you following to call it a fiasco? then go to see what happen with (for instance) Mirror's edge (a game that i actually like!)....it underperformed, but even with that I will not call it a fiasco...for me fiasco...is something like "terminator: salvation", no sells, no good reviews etc...

Kevin Cardoza
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@Peter Dwyer: I always love how gamers take their own personal and extremely subjective opinion and continuously extrapolate it as if it has some kind of factual basis. For the record, the common perception when the game first came out was the opposite of what you claim. Reviews for Assassin's Creed were mixed, and the overall response from gamers was that game critics were too snobby to enjoy something that was fun and overly critical of parts that didn't matter, as well as the odd claim that they were just being negative to be cool. (For example: http://www.penny-arcade.com/2007/11/26/#1196144640)



Of course, this is how it usually goes. During the hype, game reviews are unfairly harsh and being critical for no good reason. Then once hindsight sets in, those exact same reviews are taken to task for being hype-driven and overly glowing. Kind of funny how people who perceive bias all around them tend to be the most biased people of all.

Fiore Iantosca
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Sounds like Rebecca is a bit jealous.

Ryan Jones
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congratulation Jade!!!



As to the looks comments, if good looking producers assureed selling 8 million units GDC would be the best looking convention in the world. Unfortunatly it means nothing when making selections at checkout! Does anyone think she would get the role if the game sold say 900K? Probably not.



The game sold well, she was I assume deemed internally responsible and is given a chance to take on more responsibility. Seems like recongnition of a good job and loyalty to current employees in taking a chance at a time with experience people available. Congrats to ubisoft for promoting her. I hope you make the naysayers eat crow and this becomes a cultural example hard work pays off at ubisoft.

Shawn A
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jeeeeez, you fan boys are soooo transparent. I'm guessing she already has a boyfriend so you can stop fawning over her. Look, people have an issue with this because its just wrong. Making games is a team effort and not the work of just one person. I know more than a few producers who have fumbled and bumbled their way to big sellers because of the team behind them and because of the marketing spend, not because they were awesome. If this had been an ugly chick or a guy, a lot of you would be saying how stupid Ubi was. Why should I support this just because its someone in the game industry? That's a stupid argument. A better one would be, why is someone with no track record put into this position? I've heard she has been in the industry for 12 years and worked on 5 titles, 2 as a producer. That just doesn't seem like the body of work you look for in a studio head. If they needed to hire a woman for this spot I can think of many, many more who are much more qualified. But that just doesn't matter in this case. I think the comic may have been dead on.

mr jasler
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You would have to be a fool to think that a womans looks plays no significance in a male dominated gaming industry. That being said, for her to be in such a position, she is no goof and must have some smarts. Assasins creed must be one of the most over hyped and underwhelming games, but it came out at a time when the public were craving a new big ip.

j kelly
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I don't think her face hurt her rise to power. In my limited game dev experience, I have come to the conclusion that the producer is nothing but a rah rah shish-koom-ba position held by people with very limited game development experience. I have respect only for the guys in the trenches pushing the pixels, or the producers who are now producers because the pixels they used to push around were big and fat and came in only 16 colors. Assassins Creed was nothing but hype, the game play was repetitive. Nothing wrong with that if you're making a casual game, of course. But for this game, stabbing people then hiding in hay stacks just doesn't make it an exciting game to either play or watch.



And, since I am such an idiot, who holds no position other then owning my own company (with me as sole employee)...when are game studios going to start paying attention to single player games having a freaking GOOD story, like Gun??? AC bored me to tears as my son played it. Gun kept my eyes mostly tear free. So screw Jade, and screw the industry trying to glam itself up. We're not making music, or movies, people. We don't need Brad Pitt headlining the latest release. We make games. Hype up the characters within them, they're the stars...not us. Or, in the case of the forgettable Assassin, the B-list non-stars. The Dolph Lundgrens, if you will. It would not surprise me if Robot Chicken made a reality tv show this slacker is featured in with his silly white bathrobe.

Mike Breault
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@ Mac: I think Moby takes the credits directly off the games themselves, not including folks listed in "thanks to" sections. They've got me listed for about 70% of the games I've worked on, with no prodding on my part. If you see inaccuracies or missing info, write in to them. There's a link to do so and can only improve the site; if it's the best archive currently available, why not help it improve? ;)



As far as Ms. F's credentials, I'm guessing that it's either a pseudonym or she's not really in the games industry. A claimed 16-year career with 35M shipped games (which sounds more like 10+ titles to me) would be hard for MobyGames to completely miss, IMO. Maybe she's been a tester or support staff all this time; don't know that those credits go into Moby.

Andrew Heywood
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I'm pretty sure Ms. F is not a real person; either the name is fake or the resume, such as it is, is grossly exaggerated, or completely made up. Given the amount of crowing and trolling the account gets up to, I would tend to favour the latter, but either is possible.



I don't *think* it's possible for someone to work in any position - let alone any kind of production role - on 35 million SKUs worth of games and have the only google results for their name be their Gamasutra comments... I guess maybe as a tester/pa, but all the testers, pa's and technicians I've worked with are listed on MobyGames. Moby also detects hirings etc too - in my experience, it's pretty conclusive.



Still, I'm genuinely surprised by the amount of trolling itt. Given the general tone and orientation of Gamasutra, I'd kind of prefer comments to be moderated if that's possible. It's not like there's *that* many...

Simon Carless
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Andrew and others, we're talking to Rebecca about her comments in this thread because we're concerned about misrepresentation of this person's persona (if not her game industry experience.) This isn't acceptable to us and we're going to remedy it.

Andrew Heywood
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Thanks Simon - of course, I would apologise to Ms Fernandes if I'm wrong about her.



I've always liked the way you guys care about the integrity of the site in this regard.

Sarah Thomson
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I think this is awesome! Congrats Jade. You have been a big inspiration for me, that's for sure. Can't wait to see what you're up to next. =)

Mark Morrison
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What an entertaining thread ;)



Go Jade!



...and go Simon!

Mark Harris
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Innocent until proven guilty, eh?



Congrats to Jade. Let's see what comes out of the new studio before we throw her under the bus.

steve roger
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@ Brandon/Mike B. maybe? See: http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,24151/*



According to posts by Rebecca Fernandes, she is a republican from California, has a soft spot for Eidos, worked on the Tomb Raider Games, has been in game development since at least the 1990's, and recommends that when looking for work list yourself on Linkedin.com.*



Sims, Tiger Woods, Tomb Raider games. I suppose that could be stretched to mean I worked on games that sold over 35 million. It is possible that game business experience could be stretched to 16 years with major publishers if as the first game on that list was published in 1997.



*I can't say with certainty that Rebecca Fernandes is AKA Rebecca Shearin, but the Linkedin connection raised my suspicion.



Perhaps Andrew H. will be offering an apology and Simon will be having an unusual discussion. The internet is a cold and unforgiving place. For all of us. Before careful what you write because any moron with an internet connection can play connect the dots their spare time.



@Andrew G., maybe? See: http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:fhNYhdmfUtsJ:www.mobygames.c
om/game/windows/there/credits+There+Jade+Raymond+Rebecca+Shearin&
cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=opera



And no, I won't be doing this on a regular basis.

Christopher Corbett
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Wow, the most epic thread I've ever seen on Gamasutra! But my first question...what is the take away from all of this? Second question (mostly to me), what was I looking for by reading all of these posts? It's become entertainment at this point I suppose.



As an aside and in the interest of transparency, I am not a games professional. I'm an Operations Director in an IT-based but nonetheless different industry.



A.C. may be overhyped (isn't that the point of selling entertainment products!). BUT...there is so much in that game that is done so well. The mechanics, the flow, the combat system, etc. All of it is top notch and comes together very, very well. If we played GTA III (as an example) now would we not have many criticisms not present when it initially came out? Again, I think A.C. was great; but more indicative of what's to come. In general part of the creative process of making successful games (as a non-games professional).



Don't hate on me simply because I'm not in the industry, but if my meddling comments warrant any interesting counterpoints...bring it! I buys lots o' the games (always new!).

Aaron Casillas
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hasn't been this exciting in a while!

Andrew Heywood
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@Steve, you're a legend! But obviously were that the case, I wouldn't be offering an apology, because:



> either the name is fake



...I would be right :)



I'm assuming that is indeed Ms Fernandes and that's what Simon was referring to in the above post re games industry experience. I'm not trying to be an asshole here - I just saw a cheap shot and a big claim from a name that I personally could not tie to anything at all; I think it's pretty reasonable to ask questions in that situation.



Anyway, nice dramabomb :p

Amir Sharar
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If looks really did matter in this industry I'd be the CEO of EA. *slicks back greased hair with fine tooth comb*



In all seriousness though, as a Canadian I'm happy to see some Provinces take the gaming industry more seriously.



And to Jade I wish her good luck. I can't comment on whether or not she is qualified as while I am familiar with her resume, I am not familiar with the resumes of those who are in similar positions in other companies. Ultimately I think it doesn't matter what any of us thinks...Ubisoft knows their situation better than any of us and they know Jade better than most of us here. Her experience has been touted but there could be other factors as well such as her familiarity with the company culture and the fact that she's Canadian and is perhaps familiar with how things work in Ontario. My point being that there are many factors that this discussion in this comments section probably hasn't considered.



Ubisoft has made many great decisions during the past half-decade and I don't see them making any major mistakes any time soon. They know what they're doing.

Panagiotis Ntafopoulos
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She is good looking, no wonder why the game was good looking, she has a taste. Let's hope she is actually good and Ubisoft produces a good game and stops following EA's footsteps in making goodlooking zero-depth games just for the bucks. Jade maybe you can break that wall of incompetence in game industry and bring serous gamers back to single player.

steve roger
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@Gomez, I had the same questions about moderation. I do wonder what the implications will be now that the identity has been uncovered. There have been no denials so I am going to fall on the side that it appears to be accurate. That blackl isting confession was fascinating. I am sure that these comments will continue to increase a few more companies to that list. One of the most troubling comments she made was about Gabe Newells weight and his likelihood of having a heart attack. That is something that never should be said in an open forum. It is chilling:



"Gabe, I love you, but you need to watch that weight. We want you around making great games for the twenty years. Mr. Heart Attack level 41 is waiting around the next mountain pass."

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=22378

steve roger
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Gomez, I better not jump to that conclusion on second thought. So, as it stands just don't know. And those are just some mighty coincidences.

Veronica Castillo
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Congrats, I say, and good luck. This thread is epic, btw.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Andrew Heywood
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> AC was made by people who had never played prince of persia



You cannot be serious; those games were made by the same studio. The most recent PoP game was made by the same TEAM as AC afaik.


none
 
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