'GTA is nothing compared to Titanic,' Assassin's Creed creator says

"The goal is to someday build the Titanic for games. For that, you need characters that are not assassins."

GameSpot staff
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GameSpot staff
2 min read

Video games are already big business, but the industry has not even come close to realizing its full potential. That's according to Assassin's Creed creator Patrice Desilets, who said in the July issue of Game Informer that his ultimate goal is to build "the 'Titanic' for games."

James Cameron's movie is one of the most commercially successful films in history, generating billions at the box office back in 1997. Video games have made billions before, but have not achieved as much widespread appeal as that film, Desilets said, and he thinks he knows why.

Patrice Desilets
Some have suggested that the commercial appeal of video games is held back by their interactive nature. Not everyone can manipulate a controller, but just about anyone can sit in a theater and watch a movie.

Desilets thinks the video game industry, which is still very much in its infancy compared to film, can grow to new heights if games take on new subject matter and if developers can leverage the power of consoles and PCs to better match the kinds of subtleties we see in film.

"I believe video games are not there yet," he said. "We feel like Grand Theft Auto is big. GTA is nothing compared to 'Titanic,' where a billion and a half people saw that movie. How come so many people watched that movie? Because interactivity can scare off a lot of people -- but also because of the subject matter."

"We can't have the same subject matter in movies in video games because of the nature of the medium," he added. "We ask a lot from the machines, and it's tough to portray subtleties from with those machines. But the subject matter comes from the human condition -- that interests a lot of people. The subtleties cannot be portrayed well in games yet, so we're stuck with some subject matter."

If there is to be a "Titanic" of video games, the story and characters must be more fleshed out and nuanced, Desilets said.

"The goal is to someday build the 'Titanic' for games," he said. "For that you need characters that are not assassins. It's all about trying to come up with subject matters that are more than, 'I'm shooting stuff, but I have emotion' that I feel games are stuck in."

The most recent entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, Grand Theft Auto V, has sold nearly 52 million copies.

Desilets, who was fired from Ubisoft in 2013, has opened his own studio and is currently working on a new project called Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey.

Be sure to read Game Informer's full story for lots more on the fallout between Desilets and Ubisoft, as well as new insight on the 1666 project. It's a fascinating, wide-ranging story well worth your time if you're at all interested. The July issue of Game Informer is available to buy now.