Ubisoft is allegedly planning a huge overhaul of its editorial creative team in order to help ensure its games become more distinct from one another.
“We are reinforcing our editorial team to be more agile and better accompany our development teams around the world as they create the best gaming experiences for players,” Ubisoft told VGC.
The critical mauling and poor sales of Ghost Recon Breakpoint in October, following hot on the heels of The Division 2’s tepid sales, has seen Ubisoft delay a raft of titles and attempt to course correct. Now, VGC claims Ubisoft will be restructuring its editorial department with the aim of creating more unique titles.
Unsurprisingly, Ubisoft has discovered that saying a whole lot with the intention of saying nothing hasn’t resulted in a particularly interesting narrative output. What is surprising is to hear that a single small editorial team was responsible for the sweeping themes between all of its games. There are around 100 narrative designers and producers situated within Ubisoft’s Parisian hub. This core group is responsible for the narrative vision across all of Ubisoft’s games, as well as the big push toward open-world systems, co-op gameplay and RPG mechanics.
Ubisoft is certainly guilty of releasing extremely similar games one after the other, borrowing elements while blending in new additions. VGC claims there was a core of just one or two people who ended up getting their key ideas represented in each and every game. The ultimate result was Ghost Recon Breakpoint, a tedious mashing together of The Division, Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed that lacked any distinct vision.
When the message from up high is to develop games which explore potentially interesting ideas and themes and yet avoid taking any political stance whatsoever, it’s sadly predictable the end product feels homogeneous and lacking in narrative weight. Throw in a lack of gameplay ambition and innovation, and you’ve got a financial disaster on your hands.
Ubisoft’s plan for its editorial overhaul is to give each vice president a single franchise to oversee, rather than a group of people having an influence over multiple games. Each franchise will then be given the opportunity to head into its own unique direction, regardless of what’s happening with the others. The next Ghost Recon could, for example, hark back to the ultra-realistic, tactics-based gameplay of the original series, rather than its current pivot to ‘The Division but in the woods’.
As a result of all of this, we can probably expect to see a bit of a slowdown on Ubisoft’s output for the foreseeable future. Watch Dogs Legion, Gods & Monsters and Rainbow Six Quarantine were all delayed late last year and there are reports of several games being reworked at Ubisoft in an attempt to make them feel more unique.
Have you been satisfied with the direction Ubisoft has headed of late? Do you think this could spell trouble for the next Assassin's Creed?