Tag Archive: Montreal

Former Assassin’s Creed producer and Ubisoft Toronto managing director Jade Raymond is opening a new studio with EA, the two jointly announced yesterday.

The new studio, named Motive, will be located in Montreal. EA has a strong presence already there with EA Montreal and Bioware Montreal, the latter of which will now share a space with Motive.

Motive will be purposed with creating its own original IP, while also assisting on other projects. Besides launching Motive Studios, Raymond is also taking over leadership of Visceral Games, located in California, while Scott Probst will still act as general manager.  The first project for Raymond and Motive will be to help Amy Hennig at Visceral with her new, still unrevealed Star Wars game.

While it should be interesting to see how Raymond balances her time between Montreal and California, this is a huge coup for EA and we can’t wait to see just what Motive brings to the table for Star Wars and whatever original projects it may cook up.


There were a lot of good games in 2013. For me, however, there weren’t a lot of great games, ones that were clearly head and shoulders above the pack and got me excited every time I talked about them.Aside from some Nintendo titles, the end of the year was surprisingly dull, due to the less-than-stellar launch lineups of the PS4 and Xbox One. Because of that, half my list is comprised of games that surprisingly came from the first six months of 2013. But when I look back, these are the five games I’d sit down and play again more than any others. Enjoy!

Ray’s Top Five Games for 2013

#05: Fire Emblem: Awakening

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Platforms: 3DS

Ray’s Take

Until Marth and Roy made their appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee, I’d never heard of Fire Emblem, since it had only been released in Japan at that point. I personally didn’t get into the series until Path of Radiance a few years later, but since then, I’ve been hooked. The story and strategy is everything I could ever want from a game, and Awakening miraculously finds a way to raise what was already a high bar. Elements like character customization are also introduced to the States for the first time here, and pairing units adds another nuance that can’t be ignored when playing.

#04: Remember Me

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Ray’s Take

Some games take you by surprise so much that you can’t help but fall in love with them. Remember Me is one of those games for me. From futuristic high rises that pierce the clouds to the seedy sewers comprising Neo-Paris’ underbelly, Nilin’s world pulled me in, with no small effort from our dear protagonist herself. The unique memory remixes and combo-creation gameplay elements stoked my fire as I spent way too much time exploring every second of people’s pasts or playing with my Pressens in the Combo Lab.

#03: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Ray’s Take

Few games were able to just straight up impress me more than Assassin’s Creed IV did this year. The amount of freedom I felt on the open sea was unparalleled, and I’d lose hours on end just boarding enemy ships or diving beneath the waves to unearth some long-sunken treasure. I’m genuinely amazed at the progress made between this and Assassin’s Creed III, and I’m of the opinion that Black Flag is the best Assassin’s Creed since we first met Ezio back in Assassin’s Creed II.

#02: Injustice: Gods Among Us

Publisher:Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Platforms: PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, PC

Ray’s Take

I have to play a lot of games over the course of a given year. I’m not complaining, but the only bad thing about this is that I rarely can find the time to go back to the games I truly enjoy. The one game I constantly found myself coming back to when I did find the time, however, was Injustice. I loved the story, I loved the mechanics, and I even loved playing online with other people—an activity that usually has me smashing controllers and living-room furniture left and right.

#01: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: 3DS

Ray’s Take

A Link Between Worlds is simply the best handheld Zelda game ever. Sorry, Link’s Awakening, but your 20-year title reign is at an end. The subtle changes to the classic Zelda formula, like having all the items at the beginning of the game, admittedly took some getting used to. But in the end, none of those changes stopped me from enjoying the game—and I couldn’t put my 3DS down until the adventure was over. In regards to the greatest Zelda games ever conversation, I wouldn’t put A Link Between Worlds past A Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time, but it’s not far off either.

Ray’s Off-Topic Awards for 2013

The Razor Ramon Award for Best Bad Guy
Jacob Danik
A lot of games this year tried to offer up some shades of gray to the black-and-white conflicts we normally expect. And while plot twists and grandiose questions about morality are fun, sometimes you just want someone you can hate. A bad guy you love because he’s bad. This year had a few candidates, but in the end, I chose Jacob Danik from Dead Space 3. He was a religious zealot willing to sacrifice the entire human race for what he believed to be salvation, and Simon Templeman played him brilliantly, projecting a cold ruthlessness akin to space itself.
Popsicle’s “The Colors, Duke! The Colors!” Award for Most Colorful Game
Super Mario 3D World
This one’s become sort of a tradition, so I figured I should continue it. It was a close call between several games this year, but I had to go with Super Mario 3D World. This particular Mario outing may have been a bit too easy and a bit too short for my tastes, but there’s no denying how gorgeous it was because of the variety of levels Mario was able to traverse for the first time in full HD. From purple ponds of poison and snowcapped summits down to the shine on the buttons of Mario’s overalls, a Mario game has never looked so good.
The Best Co-Op Gaming with Your Girlfriend Award
BattleBlock Theater
I play a fair amount of games with my girlfriend, but she only ends up happy that she joined in on a few of them. So, I figured I’d give a little recognition to the game she had the most fun co-op marathoning this year: BattleBlock Theater. She still talks about that game to this day, and it remains the only game where it’s OK to tell your significant other to go kill themselves, as we’d often sacrifice one another on floor spikes to serve as makeshift platforms to get across gaps.

No assassination without representation

The American Revolution is one of the most significant moments in the history of the world. And I don’t just say that because I’m an American; I say it because it set off a chain reaction like few other events in history. It marked the beginning of the end of British Imperialism. It would inspire other countries to similar revolts. It would also completely change how trade could be conducted. But we’re not here for a history lesson. After all, it might be moot; as Assassin’s Creed III shows us, the history we know and true history may not be the same thing.

Assassin’s Creed III sees us relive a new ancestral life of protagonist Desmond Miles as the remnants of the Assassin Brotherhood continue to try to stay ahead of the Templars and unlock the remaining puzzles revolving around the Pieces of Eden. After jaunts in the Crusades-era Middle East and an extended run through Renaissance Europe, we find ourselves learning how Desmond’s bloodline traveled across the pond and settled into the American Colonies—and just how much an effect Connor Kenway, his half-British, half-Native American ancestor, had on the American Revolution and what role he played in the Assassin-Templar war.

Much like the previous installments of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the clear emphasis in Assassin’s Creed III is on the conspiracy-laden plot as Connor tries to use a steady hand and a clear moral purpose to guide history in favor of the Assassins, while Desmond tries to learn from his ancestor key clues in order to unlock advantages for the Assassins in the present day. More than ever before you will be blown away as this newest chapter in the franchise is chock full of twists and turns that quickly turn everything you know on its head both in terms of actual history and the canon laid out thus far in the series. The only gripe I can see some folks possibly having is that in order to introduce and establish a lot of the new characters this go around, the game starts off a bit slower than you might be used to with an Assassin’s Creed title.

A lot has changed though besides just a new protagonist in Assassin’s Creed III and some plot twists. In terms of game play there is a marked improvement in both variety of missions and the hand-to-hand combat system this go around. In regards to variety, the new naval missions are the prime example as you explore the waterways around the Colonies as the sea battles of the American Revolution were integral to the Colonies winning the war. You get to pilot your own ship around key strategic ports and carry out specific missions as you order your crew to blast away at various British ships that impede your quest.

Most of your time will still be spent on land, however. And if you are to make any progress, you need to be well versed in the tools of the assassination trade. Channeling his Native-American heritage, Connor uses traditional weapons like his bow and arrows and tomahawk to wreak havoc on British troops. The fluidity you now have in combat is at an unprecedented level though as you can counter and kill multiple enemies at once and perform killing strikes in quick succession with everything in your possession including the new rope dart or pistols or weapons in your enemies’ possession. And don’t worry, Connor still has his traditional hidden blades as well, although this was the first Assassin’s Creed game where I found other weapons, specifically the tomahawk, to be more to my liking.

So, you’re definitely going to get your combat fix in with this game, but there is so much more to do besides just hack your way through red coats (although that is my personal favorite element of the game). The new frontier affords so much exploration that you could get lost in it as you get in touch with Connor’s roots and get back to nature. From hunting animals for their pelts to trade to helping other folks around the frontier in order to procure their services later, the open world frontier affords you a bevy of side quests that could occupy just as much of your time as the main story if you let it.

But if you don’t want to occupy your time in the single player (you might be a few feathers short of a headdress though), there’s also the top-notch multiplayer. The Assassin’s Creed multiplayer has always had the benefit of being unique compared to what’s out there, but now they’ve decided to put their originality to the test by incorporating their versions of classic versus mode Domination and a co-op mode called Wolf Pack. Domination was thrilling in Assassin’s Creed III because it requires you to think more than your standard-take on the mode. Wolf Pack though was the real eye-opener as you and three friends must perform assassinations in unison in order to score points within a time limit and only by truly working together to get the highest scores do you have a chance of advancing through the mode’s 25 levels.

When all is said and done, it’s hard to argue with how polished and deep Assassin’s Creed III is. From new game play elements like the naval battles, the expansive frontier, new multiplayer modes, and the smoothest combat to date, any fan of the franchise will not be able to put this down and newcomers will be awe-inspired by the world laid out before them.

SUMMARY: The more fluid combat system and diversity of gameplay combined with the series’ most expansive setting and a still-engrossing story makes this the best Assassin’s Creed yet.

  • THE GOOD: Bigger world, better combat, and more diverse gameplay.
  • THE BAD: A bit of a slow start to the story.
  • THE UGLY: Have you actually ever tried to skin a bear?

SCORE: 9.5

Assassin’s Creed III is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.   

THE BUZZ: In an interview with Peter Nowak of Canadian Business, Warner Bros.’ new Montreal studio’s head Martin Carrier and VP/Executive Producer Reid Schneider let loose that there are plans for more DC Comics inspired games on the way.

“We’re definitely working closely with DC on different titles, yet to be announced. It’s one of the reasons we talk to Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on a regular basis,” said Carrier. “It’s a good time to be working with DC. There’s so much energy going on there. So yeah, we’re in the triple-A space and the casual online space.”

Schneider and Carrier also alluded to these games not being movie tie-ins due to the success of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City showing that fans want more original stories based in the rich lore of the DCU and not just other media spin-offs.

EGM’S TAKE: Look out EA and Ubisoft, it looks like you’ve got some new gaming neighbors up there in Montreal. It’s no surprise really that Warner Bros. would be looking to devote a large force of employees to working with the DC Comics license considering the potential there and the fact that they’re working with Jim Lee and Geoff Johns, guys who drew and wrote some of the more prolific Batman and Green Lantern stories of the past decade and have moved up the DC management hierarchy, only bodes well for future titles. With plans to double the studio’s 150 employee work force by 2015 as well might mean a lot of work in the near future for these guys, which is good news all around for any and all DC Comics fans.

What games and heroes besides those that are Batman related would you guys like to see? Where does Warner Bros. go with Batman from here? What more for online could they do with the DC brand? Let us know your thoughts with comments below!