Ubisoft Montpellier is a French video game developer and a subsidiary of Ubisoft based in Castelnau-le-Lez. Founded in 1994 as Ubi Pictures, it is best known for developing the Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil series.
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Michel Ancel (creative director)|
Number of employees
At age 17, Michel Ancel conceptualised the game Rayman, which he developed from his home in southern France with a team of five people. Ancel and Rayman publisher Ubisoft (then named Ubi Soft) formally established the studio in 1994 under the name Ubi Pictures. The studio's primary focus initially laid on video game art production. As the team grew for the development of Rayman 2: The Great Escape, the team moved to an apartment, and later to a 400-years-old farm house (referred to internally as "La Villa") located in the centre of Montpellier, close to the Opéra national de Montpellier. The studio remained in that house until at least May 2011. By December 2000, Ubi Pictures employed 25 people.
In late 2003, when the studio was known as Ubisoft Pictures, Ubisoft acquired Montpellier-based developer Tiwak and consolidated it with Ubisoft Pictures, which was rebranded as Ubisoft Montpellier. By 2007, Ubisoft Montpellier's staff count had risen to 80 people, led by Xavier Poix as producer and Ancel as creative director. By July 2009, Ubisoft Montpellier and Tiwak collectively employed 250 staff members. Tiwak, as well as other Ubisoft-owned properties in the Montpellier area, were formally merged into Ubisoft Montpellier, which also adopted the "Ubisoft Montpellier" name legally, in March 2011. Ubisoft Montpellier later moved to offices in Castelnau-le-Lez, a neighbouring town to Montpellier.
In July 2014, Ancel opened a new development studio, Wild Sheep Studio, while simultaneously remaining with Ubisoft Montpellier. In May 2017, Ubisoft Montpellier announced that it was moving to new, larger offices located close to the previous location. The new offices were designed by Philippe Rubio Architectes and built specifically for Ubisoft Montpellier. At the time, the studio had 220 employees. The building was finished in September 2019; Ubisoft Montpellier had 350 employees then and planned to reach 500 within three years. A research and development project known as Uramate is financed by the regional council of Occitanie, which granted the studio €1.87 million.
Around 2009, Ubisoft Montpellier developed the LyN game engine for their game Rabbids Go Home. In response to Ubisoft Montreal's drive of developing games with photo-realistic graphics, Ubisoft Montpellier developed the UbiArt Framework engine, which the studio used for Valiant Hearts: The Great War. For virtual reality games, such as the internally developed Space Junkies, Ubisoft Montpellier developed the Brigitte engine.
In December 2012, Ubisoft Montpellier fired Alain "Gaston" Rémy, an artist of six years at the studio, over caricatures of the studio's management. Rémy insisted that the caricatures were intended to be humorous and were not publicised, and opted to challenge the firing; a French labour court was scheduled to make a decision on the matter on 26 July 2013. The court ruled in favour of Rémy and ordered Ubisoft to pay €55,000 in addition to compensation. A second, unnamed artist was also fired in 2012 for employing a "too Franco-Belgian" style; they challenged the decision and the court again ruled in favour of the artist.
|1995||Rayman||Android, Atari Jaguar, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, iOS, MS-DOS, Nintendo DSi, PlayStation, Sega Saturn|
|1999||Rayman 2: The Great Escape||Dreamcast, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita|
|2001||Rayman M||GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox|
|2003||Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc||GameCube, Game Boy Advance, macOS, Microsoft Windows, N-Gage, PlayStation 2, Xbox|
|Beyond Good & Evil||GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360|
|2005||Peter Jackson's King Kong||GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Xbox 360|
|2006||Rayman Raving Rabbids||Game Boy Advance, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox 360|
|2009||Rabbids Go Home||Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, Wii|
|2010||Michael Jackson: The Experience||PlayStation 3, Wii|
|2011||From Dust||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
|The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn||Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360|
|Rayman Origins||macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Xbox 360|
|2012||ZombiU||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox One|
|2013||Rayman Legends||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch|
|2014||Valiant Hearts: The Great War||Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One|
|2015||Rayman Adventures||Android, iOS|
|2019||Space Junkies||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4|
|TBA||Beyond Good and Evil 2||TBA|
- Gonzalez, Annette (10 May 2011). "Rayman Origins: Ubisoft Montpellier Studio Tour". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 23 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- "Studio Profiles" (PDF). Ubisoft. 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
- "Ubisoft (France) – Studio Profile". Develop 100: 22–23. 2007. Archived from the original on 11 September 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
- Guillaume, Grallet (15 February 2001). "Michel Ancel: Le Rayman d'UbiSoft" [Michel Ancel: The Rayman of UbiSoft]. L'Express (in French). Archived from the original on 9 September 2018. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
- Freeman, Will (25 January 2012). "Inside Ubisoft Montpellier: A Ray of light". MCV.
- Ramon, Jacques (13 July 2009). "Le secteur des jeux vidéo se structure en filière" [The video games sector is structured in the sector]. Les Échos (in French). Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- "Ubisoft Annual Report 2012" (PDF). Ubisoft. 2 July 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 September 2018. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
- Bonzom, Nicolas (29 May 2017). "Montpellier: Ubisoft se construit un nouveau studio "ultra moderne"" [Montpellier: Ubisoft builds a new "ultra modern" studio]. 20 minutes (in French). Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- Sarkar, Samit (31 July 2014). "Rayman creator Michel Ancel leading new indie studio Wild Sheep, will stay at Ubisoft (update)". Polygon. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- Chaigneau, Cécile (29 May 2017). "Ubisoft va construire un nouveau site montpelliérain" [Ubisoft will build a new site in Montpellier]. La Tribune (in French). Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- Sharouda, Islem (30 May 2017). "A new studio for Ubisoft Montpellier". Gamereactor. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- Ray, Anthony (17 September 2019). "Ubisoft déménage et vise les 500 salariés" [Ubisoft relocates and targets 500 employees]. La Tribune (in French). Archived from the original on 18 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- Bonzom, Nicolas (18 September 2019). "Montpellier : Vingt-cinq ans après "Rayman", comment Ubisoft mise toujours à fond sur l'Hérault" [Montpellier: Twenty-five years after "Rayman", how Ubisoft always focuses on Herault]. 20 minutes (in French).
- Casamassina, Matt (5 May 2009). "Why You'll Love Rabbids Go Home". IGN. Archived from the original on 2 June 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- French, Michael (11 July 2011). "Ubisoft's Ray of Light". MCV.
- Guarné, Michaël (17 October 2017). Beyond Good & Evil: Genèse et coulisses d'un jeu culte [Beyond Good & Evil: Genesis and backstage of a cult game] (in French). Third Éditions. ISBN 9782377840182.
- de Matos, Xav (12 April 2013). "Ubisoft Montpellier artist challenges dismissal over caricatures of management". Engadget.
- Creusot, Laurence (7 February 2014). "Ubisoft condamné à Montpellier suite au licenciement d'un dessinateur auteur d'un dessin "trop franco-belge"" [Ubisoft sentenced in Montpellier following the dismissal of a cartoonist author of a drawing "too Franco-Belgian"]. France 3 Occitanie (in French). Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.