A BBC video report has let slip that Ubisoft is currently at work on a new addition to the Driver franchise, although the developer is so far refusing to say a word about it.
During a brief tour of Ubisoft facilities in Newcastle, presenter Rory Cellan-Jones described the company as “best known for this game, Driver, and they’re working on a whole new version of the game here in this studio.” As part of his time in the studio, Cellan-Jones then got a look at the work of two artists in the process of modeling cars, one a high-end sports car and the other an older muscle car.
In response to the revelation, Ubisoft issued a statement to videogaming247 that was simply a copy of comments made by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in 2006. “We are thrilled with this acquisition which will allow us to add a prestigious title to our catalog and to enter into the driving games segment, one of the most important segments in the gaming industry. With more than 14 million units sold throughout the world, Driver is one of the most successful brands in the history of video games. We look forward to leveraging the unique knowledge of the Ubisoft studios to ensure that Driver will be one of the leading brands of the next generation of consoles,” the statement said. A note included with the statement said only, “Nothing more specific than this has been said.”
Perhaps more interesting than the announcement of the Driver franchise, which has been expected ever since Ubisoft acquired the property from Atari, is the question of how the announcement was handled. While Ubisoft has been firm with their “no comment” response, it’s difficult to imagine Ubisoft allowing the BBC to tromp through its studio without laying down ground rules, particularly with regards to unannounced projects.
Did Ubisoft use the BBC for some pre-announcement publicity, similar to the way Blizzard acquired the Diablo3.com domain but has thus far said nothing about a new Diablo game? It seems likely, or at least possible, especially given the presence of studio head Gareth Edmonson, who was present for virtually the entire piece and would presumably have enough sense to keep genuinely sensitive information under wraps.