If you’ve played Ubisoft games over the past decade, you’ve probably noticed a lot of parallels between their titles. From how the player character gets around to how a map is opened up, there are usually striking similarities to be found between franchises whether playing Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed, The Crew or a Tom Clancy title. It’s like an artist who paints in a particular style, or a writer that relies on certain narrative structure. This isn’t to say Ubisoft doesn’t break from their own mold at times (Child of Light, the Rayman series), but most times you can almost tell just by seeing a little bit of gameplay what’s an Ubisoft game.
And like any other art form, games can inspire people, and lest we forget, that can include other game developers. In an interview in the most recent EDGE magazine (issue #311), Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot talked about how two of the year’s most acclaimed games—Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild—seemed to utilize several gameplay mechanics that Ubisoft popularized.
“It’s interesting, because The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild took a lot of things that existed in Far Cry and other Ubisoft games, but did them perfectly,” Guillemot said. “I think the most important thing is not the systems as they are, it’s how they can be perfected; how they can give the player the best experience possible.
“The same system can be in two games, and not be seen as the same thing. The job, really, is to make sure that you have a certain number of possibilities and that you are able to combine them in such a way that provides a great experience. When systems are similar, it’s because developers have not been able to take full advantage of what those systems could bring.
“When a system is really good at providing fun, the team knows that that will work—and at the end of the day what counts is the experience. But we are taking more and more time on our games so that they are very different from one another. That has always been the objective. But if you look at many of the games that are being launched—even the last Sony game, Horizon: Zero Dawn—again, they took some of the same systems that we have. Because, in the industry, we always look at other games and other publishers. A game is very complex, so it helps us to provide a good experience.”
Of course, Ubisoft did the same thing themselves recently with Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which saw many of its game mechanics inspired by 2K’s XCOM series. Much like how Breath of the Wild and Horizon: Zero Dawn made Ubisoft’s bread-and-butter gameplay their own, though, Ubisoft did the same by adding their own touches to differentiate and even improve on certain systems. So, it should come as no surprise really that someone took inspiration from another game and made it their own; arguably improving on things that weren’t perfect, as Guillemot insinuates. After all, this has been going on in games for a long time, even leading to the rise of certain genres, and permeating how we, as gamers, describe them. Metroidvania anyone?
Before he was finished, Guillemot also commented on Ubisoft’s recent shift towards more multiplayer driven experiences, adapting to changing times, and trying to show there’s more to them than just climbing towers in open-worlds.
“It’s the kind of game that is more and more in demand from players. As a company, we have to adapt to this evolution in demand,” explained Guillemot. “So it’s a question of generation: some people have been playing linear adventures, and they tend to want to continue to play that kind of game, even if they’re starting to open to other types of games.
“For each revolution or disruption, there are steps where you are in the middle and the new thing is not yet very interesting. The first people that try the game might say ‘It’s good, but it’s not as good as I expected’ and sometimes they don’t want to try it again.
“But after a while you improve the quality of this new experience, and you arrive at a level where the new people who try it love it. It always takes time to change mentalities. For us, we had no choice but to introduce the types of product that most of the customers, most of the players, wanted.”
Ubisoft will be getting back to their open-world roots a bit before the year is over, however, with the latest Assassin’s Creed set to release on October 27th, and dip their toes back in familiar waters next year with Far Cry 5’s planned release for February 27th, 2018.
Source: WCCF Tech