In a move to expand its ongoing publishing partnerships, video game developer Ubisoft is launching an in-house publishing initiative with plans to release two titles in the fall.
In November the new Ubisoft publishing line will release Assassin’s Creed: Heresy, an original novel by Christie Golden set in the universe of the same-title video game franchise, along with a second book, Assassin’s Creed: The Essential Guide. The games are set in a fictional history that follows two warring groups--the Assassins and the Templars.
The new publishing line is launching with Assassin’s Creed-branded titles in advance of the December opening of an Assassin’s Creed feature film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. (The film is co-produced by Ubisoft Motion Pictures.) Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise is one of the most popular games on the market, having sold more than 100 million units worldwide.
Ubisoft president Laurent Detoc said that Ubisoft already has ongoing publishing partnership with such houses as Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Titan Comics, Scholastic, Prima Games and Insight Editions. Those partnerships, Detoc emphasized, will continue.
The number of titles to be published by the new line is still to be determined. Detoc said the company plans to bring more its most popular brands "into the publishing fold" next year. He said he also intends, in the books, to build on the existing universes in the games. He explained that the Ubisoft in-house publishing line will allow the company "to delve into new narratives, explore themes and characters at greater depth,” and expand into “other forms of entertainment, such as movies, comic books or novels.”
The Ubisoft in-house publishing initiative will be directed by Detoc and will leverage the company's writers, editors and artists.
Ubisoft has offices in San Francisco, Paris and Montreal. Book production, Detoc said, will also be largely handled in-house except that, in certain situations, the company may rely on book packagers. Ubisoft is working with design firms that have expertise in book production to produce some of the titles.
The Assassin’s Creed titles will be distributed by S&S in the U.S. and Canada, and by Penguin Random House in the U.K. and other international markets. Detoc said Ubisoft will rely S&S sales reps, as well its existing relationships with retailers, in marketing the titles.
“We’re supporting these books with the same marketing teams that launch our blockbuster games to millions of gamers,” Detoc said.