Ubisoft moving away from scripted narrative

Next Assassin's Creed will be first title emblematic of new approach to storytelling

Ubisoft is changing its approach to story in games. In an interview with French newspaper Le Monde published this week, Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoet said the company will use less narration in its coming games.

The first hints of the shift are visible in games already on shelves. Hascoet said one of the driving ideas behind the new Ubisoft approach is that each game should be an "anecdote factory." That phrasing was used by Far Cry 4 developers to talk about the game back in 2014, and also has been used to describe the just-released Watch Dogs 2. While both games have larger scripted narratives, they provide players with the freedom to engage in that story or go off on their own, and the worlds are designed to allow for unexpected things to happen to and around the player.

Hascoet said ideally, the worlds in Ubisoft games should be interesting to players, even if they just want to inhabit them as tourists. For Watch Dogs 2, that meant a San Francisco packed with activities and interesting people. Hascoet said the goal is to give players ways to express themselves that will be interesting enough to justify sharing them with friends.

While some elements of the new approach are visible in current releases, Hascoet said the first game to embody the new direction fully will be the next Assassin's Creed.

"For the next Assassin's Creed, the designers have created a system in which what I do not only has meaning just now, but also long-term," Hascoet said. "My actions will change the world."

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Latest comments (2)

Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia5 years ago
I'm really curious to see this develop, most likely with a huge focus on strong AI to create believable situations.

I hope they still keep an overall direction to the "main" story though otherwise it'll just be an endless sandbox without real purpose. Watching the people do funny things in Watch Dogs is fun for a while but without the main narrative it's only entertaining for so long. Also it completely loses its appeal when characters start acting weird and break immersion.
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Ron Dippold Software/Firmware Engineer 5 years ago
I'm with Hugo - I do want some directed story for when I get bored playing around. My GTA V experience: Goof around, okay do a mission. Maybe do another mission. Okay that's enough, let's goof around again and see what trouble I can find. That'd be a good title to emulate, really. There's just so much to FIND.

With AC, there's a huge city and/or wilderness, and tons of collectibles, but no surprises and the activities are all the same. If you're someplace you're there for the collectibles, and if you go there otherwise there's nothing like the fascinating setpieces you find in Skyrim or Dishonored 2 that make you really glad you came to this obscure corner of the map. If they can fix that and make it more opportunistic and less 'here's a cutscene' that'd be great! (But 'lots of activities' doesn't matter if it's all the same five things in different places.)

I'm really interested to see what they can do with this one given some time. Hopefully they can really slice out a lot of the bloated cruft they've accumulated and systems that work poorly with other systems.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ron Dippold on 17th November 2016 9:04pm

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