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Fall of Canada – A Ubisoft Story

Our current obsession with post apocalyptic settings found itself as the backdrop of yet another game and I have to admit – when I read  the tagline “Fall of Canada” things hit close to home.

I would love to write an essay on what it is that attracts us to the fall of civilization.  Maybe it triggers fantasies around the everyday corruption, or maybe it’s biblical.  These stories are certainly not new.

Tom Clancy imagined a flu pandemic that brought society to it’s knees.  When no reliable vaccine could be produced – we descended into a state of madness similar to those depicted by Goya.  The game doesn’t concern itself with the deterioration of society- but focuses on the secret task force assigned to recapturing the order that was seized in the wake of anarchy.  And that is how an interesting premise is made banal – by fitting into the format of every other established FPS franchise.

“Fall of Canada” was a marketing campaign – a call to artists, to realize this interesting backstory.  And I would say it was a successful campaign at that.  By Ubisoft’s own accounts – it received thousands of submissions from across the country.  Ubisoft dropped the trailer in time for the release of the game – but even though I was happy to see my work in the video – it left me feeling quite conflicted.

I took this opportunity to satisfy a curiosity.  Working as an animator never allowed me to produce the artwork myself.  So in a sense, I was satisfying a creative process, that professionally I was never really able to.  And while it was pretty cool to see my work as an artist animated by someone else, I was at odds with the means of its production.

Trends seem to be moving towards a reliance on community produced content but this is at odds with the profession as a whole.  While the marketing department might be patting themselves on the back – lauding the success of its community engaging campaign – this was one less job a agency acquired and one less job that a professional got paid for.  Large companies that bank on the good will of the community are proving their own obsolescence.  For once the consumer becomes the producer, any one else is just getting in the way.

Oh, I also did a test animation for the scene myself – you can check it out here.FOC_ALupu_lweb