You need only look at Assassin's Creed to see how Ubisoft's ambitions for open world games are growing.
Five years ago, the publisher's major Q4 release was Assassin's Creed Unity, a title that, while open, is confined to one city and (if you focused purely on the main missions) can be polished off in around 15 hours.
Meanwhile, last year's Assassin's Creed Odyssey takes place across the entirety of Ancient Greece, plus all those nearby islands, and the average playtime for its users is 60 hours.
This year, Ubisoft's tentpole title for Q4 is Ghost Recon Breakpoint -- following the success of Wildlands, the series' first open-world entry -- with two vast adventures to follow in early 2020 with Gods & Monsters and Watch Dogs Legion. Ubisoft is now synonymous with open worlds, yet is there any chance it would ever return to more focused outings like Assassin's Creed Unity?
"No," CEO Yves Guillemot tells GamesIndustry.biz. "Our goal is to make sure you can have a Unity within an Odyssey. If you want to have a story of 15 hours, you can have it, but you can also have other stories. You live in that world and you pursue what you want to pursue. You have an experience, many Unity-like experiences."
"Our goal is to make sure you can have a Unity within an Odyssey. If you want to have a story of 15 hours, you can have it, but you can also have other stories"
The disparity between Odyssey and Unity also highlights how the scope of development has grown. Both titles had around ten studios working on them, but the amount of work required increases with the size of the game world (plus the sheer level of detail Ubisoft strives to present).
Yet as budgets have increased, the price point for end users remains the same -- roughly $60/