Jade Raymond is currently head of Ubisoft's Toronto studio, which is hard at work on the next Splinter Cell game. And yet, while she clearly enjoys games as a blockbuster spectacle, Raymond wants games to strive to be more.
Speaking with Eurogamer in a lengthy interview, Raymond calls on the industry, her own studio included, to broaden their horizons. "I don't know when we decided as an industry that in order to sell five million copies of a game you have to make a Michael Bay film," she laments, adding that real-world political and social situations could make excellent fodder for games:
What about the way the way the system is stacked against the poor? If you lose your job, especially in the States where there's no healthcare, your debt can grow out of control very quickly. It's remarkably easy to become homeless. That meta-gameplay loop could easily be brought into a game I think. Sexism, too. That could easily be brought into a franchise like Call of Duty. If you could play as a woman you could bring in some perspectives to what that might be like.
Raymond adds that being "generation X and a parent" removes her from the "target market" for games, but the stats on players suggest that she's far from alone. The average player is in his or her thirties, and has greater than action-movie concerns and interests. Whether enough players would like to see their games go deeper, though, remains to be seen.
Kotaku's own Stephen Totilo spoke with Raymond earlier this year, where she posed many similar questions about the depth of content in big-budget games. She's not the only one wondering if games, having established their technical dominance, can now go a step farther into stories and themes that matter. With the conversation so heavily in the air, perhaps a few years from now we'll see a wave of games that begin to challenge our assumptions and perspectives, instead of just our skill.
Jade's Empire [Eurogamer]