Ubisoft "absolutely passionate" about online, open worlds
Ubisoft's top brass are keen on open, connected worlds like that of Watch Dogs, The Division and The Crew, a trend the racing title's creative director expects to be industry-wide.
Speaking to Polygon, The Crew creative director Julian Gerighty said Ubisoft's "editorial" department of CEO Yves Guillemot and chief creative officer Serge Hascoet set the open world agenda.
"The editorial department and Serge is shepherding the creation of these things, and open world is something that he absolutely passionate about," he said.
"If you see certain similarities between the projects, it's because of the nature of open worlds, I guess, and it's also because there is an editorial department. It's a real editorial department that helps us prepare the projects."
Gerighty believes Ubisoft's top-down editorial policies towards open, connected worlds are indicative of a broader trend.
"I think you're going to see more and more projects going down that road in the years to come. I think even the console manufacturers are going down that road," he said, noting that just as HDTV defined the last generation, always-on experiences will shape the next.
"This generation for me is always going to be about this seamless online and what better way to make that live than open world games.
"It's one of those things where the online aspect, the seamless aspect, the living, breathing world aspect, that is provided by the online adds so much to the experience that it's a shame to be able to say, 'OK, you can play the game, but you can't have that part of it.'
"It's a really key part of it, much like World of Warcraft. I genuinely think the open world game without the seamless aspect to it is going to feel a little artificial, a little forced in a few years time. Today it can still work."