Ubisoft seem committed to making sure the next Assassin’s Creed is worth the wait. They’re even willing to skip next year if it means delivering another stabby open-world sequel with a whole extra jar of polish. The same goes for Far Cry – if they feel like the two series will benefit from another year off, to put it in their words: “f*** it”.
I wonder if any of our upcoming PC games list would have benefited from another year of polish.
In a sweary interview with IGN,Ubisoft VP of Editorial, Tommy François, spoke candidly about the new focus.
“I’ll tell you what,” François said, “We believe alpha for these games needs to be one year before release. We’re trying to achieve that. That’s super f****** blunt, I don’t even know if I’m allowed to say this. This is the goal we’re going for: alpha one year before, more quality, more polish.
“So if this means biting the [bullet] and not having an Assassin’s game, or a Far Cry [in 2017], f*** it.”
When he’s talking about alpha, that’s not necessarily a public testing phase like with For Honor – it could be just more in-studio testing. More time to get a feel for the game – what works and what doesn’t – as well as more time to iterate.
In the interview,François insists that the decision to rest their franchises isn’t a marketing one, as sales for the Far Cry series in particular have only been climbing. It’s more like a new creative direction and an attempt to step back a bit from the Ubisoft open-world template that forms the backbone of so many of their games.
“I do think we need to break that formula,” he said. “This year we’ve given Far Cry and Assassin’s some time to decant, innovate, and polish. The objective behind this is exactly that. You’d be surprised – there are so many prototypes of alternatives.
“It’s always the same thing, the player is king, so we play-test it and people are just like, ‘What the f***?’ And we’re like, ‘Oh no! We just spent a year prototyping this new macrostructure for an Assassin’s or other type of open world game and people are telling us it’s s****.'”
This is the kind of quality alpha feedback Ubisoft will be looking for as they reinvent these established series and bring them to a hungry audience.