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Video Games: Officially Art, In Europe
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Video Games: Officially Art, In Europe

January 29, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

So, does Ubisoft intend to bring some of its employees back to France? "What you need to know is that Ubisoft's success is directly connected to the fact that we are installed in many parts of the world," asserted the confident Guillemot.

"It is the synergy between all these international studios that make the French one strong. Many IPs created in France, or worldwide, may be developed in our French studios. It is because we have international studios that the French studios may expand. (In 2006) our French entities already had a 20% growth of their population. We recruit everywhere, and we will open studios in other parts of the world because we need to have more products to keep growing. These tax credits will give some fresh air and allow more creations in France."

According to de Fondaumière, "Independent studios working with Ubisoft are free to use or not the tax credits with their common production. At Quantic Dream, we're working on the biggest production in France (PS3 exclusive Heavy Rain) with Sony as a publisher. What interests me regarding Ubisoft is that they start new projects in France instead of abroad."

Which brings us back to the Ubisoft's studio visit by the secretary of culture. Before a quick and superficial chat with Yves Guillemot (pictured below) and six French studio representatives in front of the cameras, Ms. Albanel made a tour with four or five stops through the three-floor studio. She checked on the monitors how French creation Rayman: Raving Rabbids 2 was developed.

Then, always for the cameras, she was given a Wiimote and nunchuk to try out a game with the silly rabbits (which are originally baptized "lapins cretins" in French -- "cretins" having the same meaning in French as in English). Everybody had a smile, herself included, while shaking the controllers.

It was a strange, somewhat artificial show that probably served its political purpose -- but still raised some questions that would be rude to ask on this day of celebration.

One of them would be: can a secretary of culture really take this video game industry seriously when the highest profile game she is exposed to for the first time in her life is about some shouting, farting, funny, "raving" rabbits?

But, behind the financial and political issues which, after all, only truly concern the professionals. (Here's an example -- next to France, thanks to the European Commission, other European countries may have access to tax credits if they decide to.)

What really matters for everybody related to video games is that, in Europe, starting now, video game has the official stature of a "cultural activity" -- a cultural expression where art and artists are attached to video games as they are to music and movies.

Suddenly the French government agrees with us -- video games are nothing to be ashamed of working on, or playing with.

Pictures: bliss


Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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