If you’re a fan of Splinter Cell or Far Cry 2, then chances are you’re familiar with Clint Hocking, who served as Creative Director of Far Cry 2, and was instrumental in its development.
Now, after spending a few years with Amazon Game Studios, Hocking is now back with Ubisoft, though at its Toronto arm this time. Hocking answered a few questions about his return and whether he’s working on yet another Splinter Cell game (nope) in a Q&A.
So I need to ask the question. Are you working on the next Splinter Cell?
I am not. When I stopped working on Splinter Cell after Chaos Theory… the honest truth is I didn’t think I could make a better one. I feel like I had made the very best Splinter Cell I could ever make and the best thing for me to do for Ubisoft and for Splinter Cell fans was to hand it off and let someone else try to figure out how to make that game differently or better and bring a new vision and a new flavor to it. Maybe one day, 5 or even 10 years from now, it will be the right time and the right place for me to make another Splinter Cell game, but that time is not now.
Can we talk at all about what you are working on right now?
I can’t say specifically what I’m working on yet, but I’m working with a great team on some things that I think are interesting, challenging and innovative. They are going in the direction that I think games need to go in, for both players and for Ubisoft in the future. It’s great that Ubisoft is so forward-looking and so interested in developing the medium and the industry and the community of players. Ubisoft is also working on building a community of game development responsibly here in Toronto. These are all things I’ve always been interested in, and so those are the things I’m focused on.
What are your thoughts on the future for Ubisoft, your team and the industry in general?
I wish I could say, ‘The industry is at a major transition point and there are a lot of things for everyone to figure out going forward and the future is a big unknown and the unknown is bigger than it ever has been before.’ But I think that has been the answer ever since I started making games. Every day, every month, every year, every project… Everything is always completely new and you are always starting from scratch. You’re cutting your dress out of whole cloth. The future is always going to be unknown.
You can check out the official Ubisoft blog for the full Q&A, but be warned though, it’s not exactly a trove of riveting announcements.
Now, if you’re wondering why Hocking left Amazon Game Studios in the first place, it’s due to not having shipped a game in over half a decade! Here’s what Hocking wrote over on his personal blog:
Just over five years ago I left Ubisoft in Montreal and set out in search of new challenges and to find my own fortune making awesomer games. I have been very fortunate over this time to live and work in both San Francisco and Seattle; two very different and unique game development hubs that have consistently produced many of the best games in the world. I met a lot of new people, and I worked at a range of different companies on a few different projects, each with their own unique cultures and approaches. I have done some interesting and challenging work and I have learned a lot.
But, as the five year mark approached, and I realized I had not shipped a game in seven years, I started to become anxious and depressed. I am not a patient person, by nature. I was on my third visa, and had still not managed to secure a greencard. It turns out that being an ex-pat is not as glamourous as Hemingway would have you believe – and I was definitely following his prescribed dosage of mojitos – so that was not the issue.
In the end, for me at least, five years is just too long to be rootless. As a result, I decided at the beginning of the summer to return to Canada. At first I was not sure where I would land – whether I would return to Montreal and the development community I came of age within, or whether I would continue my adventure elsewhere in Canada.
Whatever game you’re working on, Hocking, PlayStation LifeStyle wishes you success! And let’s hope it doesn’t take you seven years to ship a game this time.