Linear games "going to suffer" in the market - Far Cry 4 dev

Alex Hutchinson says open-world and emergent games will have a leg up going forward thanks to video sharing

Video-sharing services like YouTube and Twitch are changing the gaming industry, right down to the kinds of games that succeed. That's according to Far Cry 4 creative director Alex Hutchinson, who told OXM recently that such services will only highlight how repetitive linear and story-based games tend to be, where different players frequently have more or less the same experience as they play through.

"I'm really interested in emergent games and where that's going with video sharing and Twitch," Hutchinson said. "I think linear story games are really going to suffer in the modern marketplace. They're already super high-quality, and we're already seeing their audiences migrate to the big open-world games. If I open my friends list and see everybody on the same mission, doing the same thing... I think that's nowhere near as strong a sales pitch as opening your friends list and seeing 40 people doing completely different things."

Like many of Ubisoft's big franchises, Far Cry 4 is an open-world game where players can pursue the main story or entertain themselves with a slew of side quests and diversions, from hunting exotic animals to crafting equipment to taking out military outposts and disabling communication towers.

Ubisoft has been pushing its development toward open-world titles for some time. Last year, CEO Yves Guillemot said the publisher was banking on its experience in open-world games as a differentiating factor in the new generation, saying, "Open worlds are the clear direction where game genres are evolving."

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Latest comments (10)

James Coote Independent Game Developer 4 years ago
This is even more so for indies, who don't have the resources to necessarily overcome that with other, more expensive marketing efforts
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Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios4 years ago
well, Alex, if you said it, it must be true. Thanks for predicting the future, and informing us all about the demise of linear single player games.

You're like the Nostradamus of the games industry.
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Adam Campbell Game Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
Open world games definitely have an advatage in my opinion, though getting them right is difficult.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 23rd October 2014 10:36am

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Shane Sweeney Academic 4 years ago
It would be refreshing to hear a developer criticise the long term viability of the type of game they specialise in versus criticising every other genre. I like Alex, but it is very little shock to me that the lead designer of Spore and the Sims 2 has any other view.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago
I think it's worthwhile to note that Open World prevents a more finely tuned narrative. Alan wake is a good example of this, where they canned it in favor of a tight flow on their story.
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Richard Vaught Studying B.A. in Game Design, University of Advancing Technology4 years ago
Why is every article about the future of gaming exclusionary? Did the rise of games kill cinema, or the rise of cinema kill books? No. There is room in this world for everyone, and any and every play style will have its place. When I was a kid (and my kids now seem to be very similar in this respect) I loved the tightly woven stories and beautiful surprises and twists. Now, as an adult, I prefer to have more agency in the games I play, even in games with a fairly strong story line.

I'm glad to see more open worlds, emergent gameplay, and less linear narrative appearing, but I don't see that in any way diminishing the capacity for linear games. I find it ironic that the same people that argue that including new demographics into the game space will not decrease or alter the content of existing games fail to use the same logic when discussing new styles of game design.
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James Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago
I agree with you on this one Richard! I don't think any one platform has to mean the death of another or that one form of gameplay has to mean the end of another.
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Emily Rose Freelance Artist 4 years ago
I think it's worthwhile to note that Open World prevents a more finely tuned narrative. Alan wake is a good example of this, where they canned it in favor of a tight flow on their story.
I'll play the games that work to the strength of games, if I want a tight narrative I'll read a book or watch a movie. I'm glad to see that I may be more catered to in future.
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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop4 years ago
Why is every article about the future of gaming exclusionary?
Because "Dev says there's room for everyone and all types of games" isn't newsworthy material, in the way that someone proclaiming the death of a thing is.
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where did he say that linear games are going to go away? He simply said they will suffer, and I think he is 100% correct. When game players are given the choice between playing in a linear environment and playing in an open environment, the choice is clear as sales for such games as GTA show.( and even GTA has a lot of room to become even more truly open)

As for me personally , linear story telling games holds little interest to me anymore, all I see it is jumping through hoops in order to have a story told. therefore I look forward to gaming advances in which each player are free to discover and create their own adventures and tales. To me this is where gaming was always meant to aspire to.

I think upcoming games such as No Man's Sky is going to change the whole landscape of gaming.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 25th October 2014 5:38pm

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