Ubisoft is very happy with how its open-world games perform, enough that it doesn’t see a return to the old style of making these games.
For the entirety of this generation and a bit towards the end of the last one, Ubisoft has been expanding its game worlds more and more with each game.
This push turned series previously known for offering scripted experiences and bespoke worlds to these mega, 100-hour games whose worlds dwarf most others in the business. Franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, and now Ghost Recon have all caught the bug, and more is yet to come.
This isn’t a new revelation, of course, and Ubisoft attests that this shift wasn’t an accident. “Our goal is to make sure you can have [Assassin’s Creed] Unity within an Odyssey,” Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told Games Industry.
“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.”
Asked bluntly if Ubisoft plans to return to that more focused format, Guillemot simply answered, “No.” In fact, the veteran CEO also believes this model is financially sustainable, despite the constantly ballooning costs necessary to produce such massive games.
“It is sustainable, because the world is big and the number of players that can play our games is immense. What we’ve seen in the last few years is the number of players that play our games is constantly growing,” he added.
“New markets are opening up and games live a lot longer than before. So at the moment we see that we can continue to increase the investments because we know we can have a return on investment that can be quite long[-tailed].”
The average Odyssey player spent 60 hours of game time in that world, which is more than previous games. This is partly why Guillemot believes players are comfortable with spending money on microtransactions, if it means getting more of that world.