Cursed for some unknown slight, Far Cry 2 and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory designer Clint Hocking has been doomed to wander the game Earth until the second coming of Ouya. Since leaving Ubisoft Montreal after FC2, he's joined then left LucasArts, Valve, and Amazon Game Studios. As curses often compel people to, he's come full circle.
Hocking today announced that he has joined Ubisoft, this time their Toronto studio. What he's working on is a mystery, but he seems keen to set down roots.
He says in a post on the Ubisoft blog:
"I can't say specifically what I'm working on yet, but I’m working with a great team on some things that I think are interesting, challenging and innovative. They are going in the direction that I think games need to go in, for both players and for Ubisoft in the future."
It's not Splinter Cell, though:
"When I stopped working on Splinter Cell after Chaos Theory… the honest truth is I didn’t think I could make a better one. I feel like I had made the very best Splinter Cell I could ever make and the best thing for me to do for Ubisoft and for Splinter Cell fans was to hand it off and let someone else try to figure out how to make that game differently or better and bring a new vision and a new flavor to it. Maybe one day, 5 or even 10 years from now, it will be the right time and the right place for me to make another Splinter Cell game, but that time is not now."
Over on his personal blog, Hocking says after five years of "interesting and challenge work" and wandering, "I realized I had not shipped a game in seven years, I started to become anxious and depressed. I am not a patient person, by nature." Struggling with US immigration, he looked back to Mother Canada - and Ubisoft. Walking in there "was like a reunion", he says.
"But it was more than just familiar faces. It almost felt genetic. Interviewing with people I had never even met and getting drawn into discussions about process and design... it made me realize how much my own design and development thinking had been shaped by the culture here, and perhaps - just maybe - how even some tiny fragment of my own thinking had managed to work its way into Ubisoft's approach as well."
I do wonder what he'll be up to. And for how long.