Ubisoft‘s agreement with them was already controversial with Beyond Good & Evil 2, but this partnership continues…
Ubisoft announced in June 2018 that HitRecord, founded by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, will allow artists to get a chance to be included in Beyond Good & Evil 2 with their music, story elements or art. The twist here is that if they did not get picked, they will not get paid, and the budget for the contributors was a ridiculously low amount in AAA game development levels: merely fifty thousand dollars. That’s nothing in a major title’s budget…
Now, if Ubisoft wanted to go with an ordinary model, then they’d hire specific artists for specific elements in the game instead of making it a contest between all the artists doing the same thing, with the winner being able to sell the rights to his work. The HitRecord deal is not a winning one: many people might be working on something to no avail if they lose, as they’ll effectively waste their time and money on this project.
Yet, Ubisoft still announced that their partnership with HitRecord will continue with Watch Dogs: Legion‘s soundtrack. „Whether you’re a musical composer, writer, singer, player, or someone with big ideas and a lot of passion…we are super excited to hear your music composition,” the post says, and it mentions passion several times.
From an industrial point of view, this approach makes no sense. Ubisoft can allow hiring a professional composer, such as Jesper Kyd, who happened to contribute to the soundtrack of the first Assassin’s Creed, which means he already worked with them before. (And he’s still sought after – he’s involved in Borderlands 3’s soundtrack, too.) If Ubisoft wants to find new talent, there are better ways to do so than using HitRecord.
Watch Dogs: Legion is out on March 6 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and a Google Stadia port is also in the works.