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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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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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