Jade Raymond doesn't have any immediate plans for revenge on Montreal despite her former comrades there nuking Toronto, her new home and base of operations, in their latest game Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
The Ubisoft Toronto director, who is originally from Montreal, laughs off the scene at the beginning of the post-apocalyptic shooter game. In the hilarious Blood Dragon, released on Tuesday, Russia is looking to invade the United States and has chosen to go in through Canada. A mushroom cloud is seen exploding behind the Toronto skyline.
Raymond says Dean Evans, the game's creative director, is a good friend and was even at her wedding. She originally worked with him at Ubisoft's Montreal studio, but she left in 2009 after being promoted to launch the Toronto operation.
"I emailed him when I saw that and said, 'So Dean, does this have something to do with me? Am I on your [expletive deleted] list or something?' He wrote back to me, 'Don't worry, Toronto will have its revenge!' "
Evans, for his part, has explained the attack as a matter of logic.
"Put your mind in the mind of a Russian military leader and you are looking to invade the United States. You would go through the back door, which is Canada," he recently told reporters.
"The reason that Toronto is the place that gets nuked is that it's the biggest city in Canada. It just makes sense. It's where the largest population of the Canadian cyborg army is."
Blood Dragon, perhaps the most oddball game released this year by a major publisher, has scored well with reviewers, garnering an overall rating of 79 out of 100 on review aggregation site Metacritic. The downloadable game spoofs the apocalyptic science-fiction films and games of the 1980s, but also uses the basic mechanics of last year's award-winning Far Cry 3 to create a fun and often uproarious adventure. (Check out a trailer here.)
Raymond, whose team of 300 is working on its first release – Splinter Cell: Blacklist, due in August – says she's in no hurry to get payback. She also doesn't think Blood Dragon is the start of a new type of game for Ubisoft, a light-hearted follow-up to a successful-but-otherwise-serious game. Blood Dragon was put together in six months on something of a lark by Evans, so trying to duplicate his success might feel inauthentic.
"This is a case where Dean had his crazy idea and his crazy vision and someone said, 'Okay, we'll support you and let you do that,' but it's not going to be like, 'Oh, okay, this is a commercial success, so rinse and repeat,' " she says. "It's got to be an authentic vision that the team has or else it's never going to feel right."