Future Ubisoft games will move away from prescripted busywork dotted around open-world maps, instead focusing on interacting systems that create moments which feel unique to a player. It’s what’s called ’emergent gameplay’, where players make their own stories by toying with these systems, hence why Ubisoft call it “the anecdote factory”.
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In an interview with French site Lemonde, Ubisoft director of editorialSerge Hascoët spoke about this change in direction. “I do not want to undergo [a] story created by someone,” says Hascoët, via Google Translate.
“We still have games like that but I demand more [that we allow] the player to write his own history, he [sets] himself a long-term goal, identifies the various opportunities open to him, and chooses not to follow a path set for him. It’s called the anecdote factory internally.”
You can see the first steps of this new approach in Watch Dogs 2 when it releases on PC, with each mission taking place in part of the open-world, instead of being a separate map. This means you can use the open-world in missions, perhaps getting a gang to follow you into a rival gang’s territory, or forcing a truck to veer into an enemy compound.
This is the sort of thing they want to expand upon.
These watercooler moments, Ubisoft think, will lead to more people talking about their games. As Hascoëtsays, “Nobody wants to share a nice cutscene.”
He goes on to say that the first game to show off this new approach properly will be 2017 Assassin’s Creed – a game rumoured to be set in Egypt. The new approach was born because of both current trends, with linear games sales dropping off, and because he believes in player expression.