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For years, Ubisoft was building open world games, which didn’t really feel that ‘open wold’ really. They were small playgrounds, created on the top of story narratives, which followed a set of different characters. It was fine at a time, but as the market matured, the company had to come up with something more alive. And so it had.
For some time Ubisoft has been testing a new approach, focusing on game worlds rather than on scripted stories. The next Assassin’s Creed will explore this direction a little bit more, according to the creative officer Serge Hascoet (Le Monde).
Hascoet stated that he’s more interested in creating virtual worlds, more than games. He wants to create virtual worlds, which will be interesting to visit ‘even as a tourist’. Hascoet believes that as long as the characters that players meet in those worlds are also interesting, gamers will be able to amuse themselves independently with no obvious storylines to follow.
Ubisoft’s plans to design an “anecdote factory,” which will make games generate interesting stories on the fly. It’s not a new concept, Ubisoft has been talking about it since 2014, when they the company was working on Far Cry 4.
I don’t want the player to go through a story created by someone. We have games like that still, but I ask more and more that we let the player write their own story — that they set themselves a long-term goal, identify the opportunities that are open to them and choose not to follow a path that was decided for them.
Serge Hascoet, Ubisoft
The new approach sort of follows the more general trend of the way users approach games today. With lets-players, massive amounts of GIFs and other content posted on the web, gamers seem to me more likely to invent their own ways to play rather than follow an established route. It’s a very interesting approach. Nothing new, again. There were hundreds of indie projects, roguelikes like FTL, which basically follow the same path. They are cheaper to build and the lack of story there, is sort of the effect of the financial constrictions.
It does sound a lot like ‘Westworld’ to me. Interesting how Ubisoft is going to fix their open worlds to make them feel really alive. People been fighting with this problem for a while, and it seems like only Morrowind managed to solve it. I guess, we’ll just have to wait and see.