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Future Ubisoft Games to Focus on Emergent Storytelling

Ubisoft

Ubisoft will reduce the importance of traditional storytelling in the games going forward, according to the firm’s Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët.

Instead, upcoming titles will focus on world-building, and the creation of systems that will allow players to generate their own experiences outside the strictures of a predetermined narrative. In a recent interview with the French newspaper, Le Monde, Mr Hascoët aptly referred to this approach as the “anecdote factory”, though it is more commonly known as emergent storytelling, and is a central conceit of games such as Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto V, and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Mr Hascoët added that the next Assassin’s Creed title, reportedly subtitled Empire and rumoured to be a reboot set in Ancient Egypt, will most likely be the first Ubisoft title to reflect this new style, though it will retain a traditional narrative that the player will follow.

The comments come in the wake of mounting criticism that Ubisoft games tend to follow a formulaic structure, an issue that was also put to Mr Hascoët during the interview. He replied that the apparent homogenisation is not a corporate dictum, but the natural result of development teams following successful trends.

Given that the formulaic structure, in concert with technical issues, has been one of the prevailing causes of a slow but steady decline in the critical success of Ubisoft games in recent times, a major shake-up to the design principles may be exactly what the company needs.

Ubisoft’s most recent release is Watch Dogs 2, which has been well received thus far, and reportedly includes a tease for another unannounced game from the company.

Let us know your thoughts on Mr Hascoët’s remarks in the comments section below.

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