Jade Raymond has been out of the spotlight for a while, heading up Ubisoft's new Toronto studio - but speaking at DICE she revealed that the studio, in addition to working on Splinter Cell 6 with Maxine Beland, is also hard at work on a new IP that may focus on the social aspect of gaming.
It's an interesting project. Many developers aspire for their game to be discussed around the water cooler, in the way that, say, Lost was - to become that in-vogue piece of media that inspires debate and word of mouth. Raymond, however, would prefer that this new IP be the water cooler itself.
"Games aren’t just what you talk about around the water color," she claimed, "they’re becoming the water cooler itself... I would hope our next new IP would become the neighborhood bar.”
It seems that Jade Raymond is looking for a game that works more as a social space than a video game. Arguably there are popular online titles that already serve this purpose: World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, Halo: Reach, Call of Duty... all games that operate as a social meeting ground, in addition to working as a place where players compete and play with each other.
We like this idea. thatgamecompany's current work in progress, Journey, seems to be working around the same concept, creating an online space unbound from the usual competitive rules, like lobbies, matchmaking and the need to stab/shoot/kill one another. Journey creates a space where players can exist together, but engage in different ways. Hopefully we'll see different types of gameplay emerge from this new approach.