Historically, Ubisoft has been largely content with being one of the biggest developers and publishers in the console games space.
But in an era in which it's nigh-on essential for a company of its size to have a mobile strategy, Ubisoft has stepped to up to the plate with the acquisitions of Ketchapp and indie sandbox MMO Growtopia.
Ubisoft has even thrown its hat into the ring in the increasingly competitive MOBA-lite niche carved out on mobile by Clash Royale, launching its own FPS take on the formula in Tom Clancy's ShadowBreak.
The Paris-headquartered firm has offices all over the world, but the one to watch on the mobile side is Ubisoft Abu Dhabi.
This studio, located in the heart of the United Arab Emirates, is responsible for NCIS Hidden Crimes and will soon be taking on live ops duties for Growtopia as part of its transition to Ubisoft stewardship.
Ubisoft Abu Dhabi also has a number of vacant positions, so PocketGamer.biz reached out to Managing Director Yannick Theler to learn more about the studio and its company culture.
PocketGamer.biz: Could you give us some background on Ubisoft Abu Dhabi and what you do/are currently working on?
Yannick Theler: We opened the studio in 2012 with the mission and vision to set up an international production and publishing studio for Ubisoft Mobile.
In five years, we have established a team comprising all the skill sets required to develop a mobile game right from conception to sustaining it during the live operations phase.
The expertise ranges from programming, design and art, to marketing and data analysis.
Over the years, the studio specialised in developing free-to-play mobile games and managing the operations of these games for all markets.
Three years ago, the studio developed and launched its very first game, CSI Hidden Crimes. This mobile title now has more than 31 million players around the world.
Building on this success, we launched last September NCIS Hidden Crimes.
We are always looking for talent from anywhere in the world and in every aspect of game production.Yannick Theler
Since March 2017, following Ubisoft's acquisition of Growtopia, we are currently working closely with the creators of the game to transition the live game operations and future production to our studio.
What specific areas/disciplines are you currently hiring in?
We are always looking out for talent from anywhere in the world and in every aspect of game production, which can help us create innovative and memorable gaming experiences.
The studio now leads the operations of three live games and we are currently working a few unannounced projects.
We are recruiting for various positions in all areas and for all levels, with the objective to double the size of the studio and reach 100 employees by 2020.
What do you look for in candidates?
It is necessary for all our employees (and hence all suitable candidates) to share our passion for mobile gaming and free-to-play games.
Our studio offers a friendly and multicultural work environment ideal for team-oriented candidates, with a positive attitude eager to go above and beyond to innovate, push our own boundaries and create memorable gaming experiences.
Our ultimate vision is to build a world-class studio and we are looking for people who would aim to achieve that vision with us.
Why do you think Ubisoft Abu Dhabi is a good place to work?
Abu Dhabi is a cosmopolitan city that offers an exceptional quality of life.
We have 27 nationalities and 21 spoken languages represented in the studio.Yannick Theler
The combination of international influences and local heritage has created an intriguing mix of new and old.
The city offers an unparalleled diversity of sporting, cultural and gastronomic activities to please an audience of all ages.
Its geographical location is ideal for exploring the Middle East region and is easily accessible for trips to Europe and Asia. And let’s not forget that we have the sun shining 365 days a year!
How will you be trying to encourage a strong company culture?
It starts with the diversity of our teams, and our belief that diversity in all of its forms fosters creativity and understanding. We’re not limited to one location or one perspective.
Our games are made by multicultural teams of many different creeds, who come from all over the world. We have 27 nationalities and 21 spoken languages represented in the studio.
Being able to tap into that breadth of backgrounds and experiences helps us create immersive, credible game worlds for our players, who are themselves an increasingly diverse group.
Then there is incredible teamwork. We do come from various places, but here at our studio, we are one team striving and working together to create the best experiences for our players.
What advice would you have for someone trying to get into the games industry?
At Ubisoft, passion is what drives us to create games for a passionate audience.
Therefore, the first advice would be to identify what generates the passion for games in you, whether it is programming, design or marketing, etc.
The games industry is one of the most innovative and creative ones and everyone can hope to make a contribution.
This passion must then be nourished with consistency and persistence in good performance, continuous learning and hard work.