And not just any kind of development; Japanese-style RPGs aimed at a Japanese audience in particular. Executive director of Ubisoft in Europe, Alain Corre discussed with Famitsu magazine as part of an Assassin’s Creed 2 interview:
Our mission is to create hit games on the same level as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. We’d like to see everyone in Japan root for us. Perhaps someday our efforts will result in a major hit on the level of a Dragon Quest. We have never made any RPGs, a genre Japanese people love. We’ve made shooters, strategy, sports, action, and adventure games, but not any RPGs yet. Still, we’re open to all possibilities. If we can get a quality team of RPG-oriented developers, I’d love to release one. If we have a chance to work with Japanese creators, then I’m sure we can make a game that appeals to the Japanese audience.
Corre goes on to mention that Ubisoft are investing in Japanese development studios and that their Nagoya studio is currently developing a casual game for the DS.
I’ve always thought of Ubisoft as the western publisher who were closest in terms of design sensibility to Japan. Games like Red Steel, My Japanese Coach and their publishing deals for No More Heroes and Tenchu are part of the reason for that, but also because a lot of Ubisoft’s games are very artistic. It would be interesting to see them collaborate on a RPG with a Japanese team.