Developing giant games with Ubisoft
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Developing giant games with Ubisoft
24 March, 2016
News

It is not that hard to develop small game with small team. But the more the scale is, the harder it gets to make a good title. It is no secret that Ubisoft can cope with one of the largest games industry has to offer. So, to understand the magic within development of monstrous scale games, Gamasutra talked to Ubisoft Montreal’s Chadi Lebbos.

Developing giant games with Ubisoft

In terms of scale and in terms of challenge, I need to say that productivity is the main challenge, I think, within the company. And it’s something the whole industry deals with, I think. Games are becoming bigger and bigger, more complex to do.

Chadi Lebbos, Ubisoft Montreal

Lebbos has worked at Ubisoft for nearly 20 years and now coordinates technology use overseeing 150 over employees.

Ubisoft is known for practicing co-development – they invite fellow developers to work on some projects. So, other developers can get a glimpse at one of the largest game development companies in the world – the way it lives and coordinates the work of its staff.

Developing giant games with Ubisoft

It’s hectic but fun. When we organize co-dev, we make sure that we aren’t using the other studios as plain outsourcers. We try to give them ownership of a part of a game, pure ownership. Yes, there’s a studio lead that makes sure everything being developed on different sides of the planet fits together. But at the end, you have to empower and support each studio individually.

Chadi Lebbos, Ubisoft Montreal

An example of this cooperation is a work of Ubisoft Singapore’s work on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Singapore was responsible for one of the most exciting aspects of the game: “boat staff”, which is the naval systems and ocean tech. Oversees cooperation can give you lots of amazing results, as team members think differently and, thus, can bring versatility to the project. Still, it can also mean headaches:

There’s a lot of communication, there’s a lot of trips that need to happen. And we do fail, still. We have a ‘fail often’ mentality, and we have no choice, because past a certain point we can’t do everything ourselves in Montreal; we need to have external help.

Chadi Lebbos, Ubisoft Montreal

Developing giant games with Ubisoft

Lebbos goes on to talk about changes over the years:

Releasing a game, a couple years back, you released the game and that’s it! But today, when you release a game, you need to maintain the game live. There’s this new ‘game-as-a-service’ aspect, and you need to attract players and make sure the players are always with you. You need to give them content, you need to interact with them all the time. This is what the game industry is all about today. So it’s like, Amazon is trying to keep its customers on its own services all the time. It’s the same thing for the game industry.

We are living through a big change in the game industry. Not just in Ubisoft, but across the whole industry, our games are becoming bigger and bigger. Because of that, let’s say it takes 10 level artists to do a five square kilometers open-world game. If we want to do 25 square kilometers, well, do the math. We can’t just add more and more people as our games get bigger. That’s where procedural generation tools are helping us.

Chadi Lebbos, Ubisoft Montreal

Developing giant games with Ubisoft

Experienced developer also talked about the way he sees VR’s and AR’s future:

Virtual reality – VR and AR — is going to be a major tipping point for the game industry. Not only games, but the entertainment industry as a whole. The other part, what scares me, is how VR is going to affect the social aspect. We automatically think of guys sitting in their den, using VR goggles, with people walking around them. So I’m sure we’ll leverage VR in an innovative way, but we need to be careful that we don’t lose our humanity in VR. And of course, porting a game to VR won’t cut it. We’ll have to figure out new ways to make games and experiences.

Source: gamasutra

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