Ubisoft wants to alter Assassin's Creed for your kids, according to an panel with Yannik Spagna at the GameON Finance conference in Toronto, Canada. Assassin's Creed is a highly successful brand for Ubisoft, with the franchise now on an annual release schedule and two brand new games released this month. The games have all held an "M" rating from the ESRB but that doesn't stop the marketing minds at Ubisoft from wanting to put a series about murders by definition in the hands of children everywhere.
IGN reported on the comments by Yannik Spagna, who manages the Splinter Cell brand for Ubisoft. When the conversation on the panel turned to sharing revenue with branded activities across Ubisoft's different IP's, Spagna said that the publishing giant dd not enter into licensing deals for only the bottom line, but primarily to increase brand awareness. After dismissing advertisement as a source for additional revenue, he made comments that are sure to raise the eyebrows of engaged and concerned parents.
"For big IPs, smart brands are the best partners. They do a line with Mega Bloks together. On their side, it's nice because toys are looking for the hype around video games. And we are looking for a new audience: kids, children, it's more like that."Mega Blocks, a LEGO competitor, already holds licensing deals with Microsoft for the Halo franchise, which is also rated "M." Some could make an argument that Halo as a kids toys is not as bad as the violence depicted in the game isn't against other humans, but rather evil aliens bent on the destruction of the human race. Assassin's Creed is another matter, as the game features not only thoughtfully planned out assassinations but prostitution, sexual encounters and a healthy amount of blood and decapitated heads with the most recent release of Assassin's Creed: Unity. These items are not exactly the elements you find in, say, a Disney family movie.
Spagna went onto clarify his comments with GamesIndustry.biz.
"This quote is not about Assassin's Creed the game," Spagna said. "It's about Assassin's Creed the brand. It's the same way you have The Lord of the Rings brand, the books, Shadow of Mordor, the LEGO. It's a huge franchise, a brand, and within that you have different experiences that are tailored to specific audiences."
Spagna's clarifications are not without merit. Properties like Lord of the Rings and Pirates of theCaribbean both feature a good deal of violence but have been made into highly successful kid friendly properties, such as LEGO Lord of the Rings and LEGO Pirates of theCaribbean. Altering Assassin's Creed to a kid friendly presentation would be a smart marketing move. However, with the name of the brand itself referring to someone who is a professional murderer, the face value of such a move may raise a few eyebrows.
[Image Source: Mega Bloks]