Ubisoft Singapore’s 15th Anniversary: A Fresh Studio & Leadership!

Singapore’s games development scene is rich with talent in the indie sphere, but when thinking about AAA titles, Ubisoft Singapore is one of the first to come to mind. Indeed, the video game giant has had a hand in big games such as Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon for several years, and this year marks its 15th anniversary, which they are celebrating with the launch of their new studio space.

Ubisoft Singapore still operates out of the Solaris building in Fusionopolis at one-north, but they have made the short move to a larger 5,000 sqm space that spans three storeys. A key point for the change is collaboration — previously, the old studio area was separated between different floors, and the brand-new space now has two storeys linked together via a staircase, providing convenience for its over 450 developers to gather together within the various departments.

But there is more to offer from the studio. Amidst the celebration of 15 years since its operation, we were given a tour of the new Ubisoft Singapore space, so join us in seeing how the next big games are being made!

Touring The New Studio

We start at the first level of the studio space. After passing through the reception area, you’ll be in the studio’s Event Space — a large open area with a projector screen at the forefront.

Ubisoft Singapore notes that this multi-functional space can host various events, ranging from project updates to town halls. On the day we visited, it was turned into a pseudo-networking area for the media to mingle around. 

Ubisoft Singapore 15th Anniversary: Event Space
Ubisoft Singapore’s Event Space hosted members of the media for its 15th anniversary

After a quick toast to the milestone, we begin the tour! On the left of the Event Space is one of Ubisoft Singapore’s game development areas — you can imagine what kind of stuff they are cooking up here! Within the space, there is a staircase that leads to the second floor of the studio. The Communications Director leading the tour noted how this linking staircase solves many of the pain points of collaborating between the different departments; now, people just need a short climb to whoever they need.

At the top of the stairs, you’ll see the Studio Library in view. The library provides much-needed inspiration for the developers working on the Ubisoft titles, particularly for the Assassin’s Creed series, where all its games are based on different historical settings. 

Ubisoft Singapore 15th Anniversary: Library
The Studio Library is at the epicenter of the studio’s second floor

Beyond the library, the second floor also holds scrum corners for teams. Scrums are an agile development framework used to review the development progress of a game, and the modular space allows personnel to converge for such sessions easily. 

When it is time for lunch, everyone heads over to the pantry on the same floor. The communal area features an open space for people to mingle and socialise during breaks, with a mural crafted by local artist Sam Lo putting a vibrant touch to the spot. 

Ubisoft Singapore 15th Anniversary: Cover Image
The second floor’s pantry has a local flavour, with Sam Lo’s mural artwork as the centrepiece

Unfortunately, there isn’t a staircase that leads directly to the studio’s third floor, but an elevator nearby swiftly brings people up.

The third floor is home to Ubisoft Singapore’s playtesting area and audio department. Starting with the playtest area, playtesters can make use of the multiple desktop machines housed in the space whenever the studio sets up a playtest session. The Head of the Playtest Team notes that each station has been designed to look like a typical home setup to ensure as authentic a gaming experience as possible.

Next to the playtest area is another room for the Playtest Team to monitor the players. Not only can the team see the reactions through the large television in the room, but they can also observe the players in real-time via the one-way glass screen. 

Ubisoft Singapore 15th Anniversary: Sound Studio
Studio Red at work helping with audio design for Ubisoft’s titles

Exiting the playtest space brings you to the audio department, with the highlight being the specialised audio facility inside. The sound studio is made of two rooms, Studio Red and Studio Blue — named after the colours seen on the walls for each room. Studio Blue is for recording voiceovers and foley, while Studio Red facilitates the sound design work. If you’ve played Assassin’s Creed Mirage, the Muslim call to prayer you hear in the background was created here with the help of both studios!

A New Managing Director Arrives

Ubisoft Singapore’s studio space isn’t the only new thing. After shepherding the studio for the past few years, Managing Director of Ubisoft Singapore and the Philippines, Darryl Long, is moving to Ubisoft Toronto. Succeeding him is Jean-Francois Vallee, who arrives from Ubisoft Shanghai. 

Ubisoft Singapore 15th Anniversary: Jean-Francois Vallee
With 18 years of managing studios and teams in Asia, Jean-Francois Vallee continues the journey at Ubisoft Singapore

In truth, Singapore is no stranger to him after he visited the local studio many years back, commenting that the experience brought about a personal connection to the country. That connection grew more profound when he met his Singaporean wife while working in China. And now, the stars have finally aligned for him to work and helm Ubisoft Singapore. 

Jean-Francois Vallee will be starting his post on 1 January 2024. Still, he was present for the studio’s 15th anniversary celebration, and I had the pleasure of speaking with him after the tour. Vallee was cautious about revealing his goals, as he was still amid his relocation plans. Nonetheless, he’s “super excited” to be at the Singapore studio — a phrase he repeatedly emphasised. 

Ubisoft Singapore 15th Anniversary: Interview
Speaking with Jean-Francois Vallee on his new role

In addition to Ubisoft’s Singapore and Philippines branches, Jean-Francois Vallee will take charge of the newly formed network of Ubisoft studios in Southeast Asia and India, including Da Nang, Pune and Mumbai. 

When asked about the formation of this new zone network, Vallee explains that it is the continuation of a legacy from Ubisoft of having multiple studios working together to create the best product it can, and the company is keen on leveraging the talent within the region that is steadily growing.

“Southeast Asia and India are promising regions for the gaming industry. Ubisoft Singapore has been working closely with its regional network of studios in Manila and Da Nang to expand its AAA production core teams, optimise its specialised technology expertise, and scale production capacity and capabilities with a mobile strategy. As we prepare to welcome the India studios next year, it is an exciting time ahead for our company and industry. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the talented teams in this region,” he shared.

While this year may be a milestone year for the studio, Ubisoft Singapore has another big occasion to look forward to very soon. Skull and Bones, the team’s first game as the lead development studio, is planned to be released by the end of Ubisoft’s fiscal year in March 2024.

It’s been a long and bumpy road for the title — a journey we chronicled ourselves — so here’s hoping the game sees a happy ending next year!

For more information on the studio, visit its official website. You can also get updated on the latest happenings through its socials on Facebook and Instagram!

Photos by Russell Loh of the DANAMIC Tean. Additional visuals courtesy of Ubisoft Singapore.

Russell Matthew Loh

Watcher of films and player of games. Dabble with writing in between.

Related Articles

Back to top button