Fashionable recreation improvement is absurdly costly. Creating the huge, detailed open worlds which have turn into the staple style of this era is a big drain upon cashflow, assets, and other people. Builders and publishers have other ways of dealing with this.
Some depend on crunch, though this apply is more and more within the highlight for the hurt it causes to the individuals who make the video games we play. Others, like EA, have tried to standardise its tech throughout the corporate, making certain everyone seems to be working with the identical engine and thus making it simpler to share information and assets between tasks. As demonstrated by the technical points encountered by Anthem throughout improvement, nonetheless, this too has its drawbacks.
Ubisoft tries to make life simpler for itself not by sharing common tech, however particular methods. You’ll typically see an concept, system or object from Murderer’s Creed crop up in, say, Far Cry or vice-versa. Usually these components are small, just like the drone from the Division showing in Watch Canine and Ghost Recon. Often, they’re a lot greater, such because the topographical map from Far Cry four being re-used in Far Cry Primal.
In precept, I’m in favour of this sort of cross-game asset sharing. Finally, it’s the core expertise that issues, and if adopting concepts and even complete methods from one recreation into one other contributes to enhancing that have, then what’s to complain about? There are many examples in Ubisoft video games the place that is the case. Take Watch Canine 2, wherein considered one of your key devices is slightly RC automobile that you should use to remotely hack gadgets. This RC automobile is customized from these used throughout the planning part of Rainbow Six: Siege.
It’s this automobile, alongside the drone Watch Canine 2 borrows from the Division, that makes the sport sing. Utilizing these distant gadgets to hack into safety methods, all whereas sat in a pleasant San Francisco park, communicates the sport’s fantasy of being a hacker in a manner the unique Watch Canine by no means did. It makes much more sense to strategy the sport’s many environmental puzzles by way of utilizing devices fairly than weapons, and the best way Ubisoft use these already-existing belongings and methods is what makes Watch Canine really feel distinctive as an open world recreation.
This solely works as a result of the adopted belongings and mechanics are harmonious with the sport’s theme. However Ubisoft tends to re-use concepts and mechanics ad-nauseum, with scant regard for what works, what doesn’t, and what a recreation truly wants. Murderer’s Creed went ten years with out a correct sneak button, wherein time Ubisoft added weapons, a co-operative mode, and pirate ships to the sequence.
Ubisoft’s recycling of concepts just lately reached its nadir with Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Breakpoint already had its work minimize out as a result of mediocrity of Wildlands, which was about as generic an open world recreation as it’s attainable to make. The thought of an open-world tactical shooter is an efficient one, however, as with a number of different Ubisoft video games, the main focus was on making the open world as giant and stuffed stuffed with actions as attainable, fairly than constructing a world that suited the premise.
That is the issue that Breakpoint wanted to repair. As a substitute, Ubisoft principally launched the identical recreation once more, solely with further methods scavenged from different tasks and awkwardly stapled to Breakpoint’s head. These included the dialog system from Murderer’s Creed, and the loot system from The Division. I can’t converse for everybody however, as a fan of tactical shooters, conversations and loot ranked fairly low on my listing of issues I wished to see in Ghost Recon.
Ideally, Ghost Recon would supply a brand new expertise distinctive to itself. However what’s notably irritating about Breakpoint is there are a number of video games Ubisoft might have borrowed from that may possible have improved it. One in every of these is inside Ubisoft’s personal secure, Rainbow Six Siege. A improbable tactical shooter, Rainbow Six siege has a number of concepts that might adapt properly to an open world, corresponding to its breaching mechanics, and the flexibility to deploy cowl and barricades.
The opposite main reference level is Metallic Gear Strong V, which might be the very best tactical shooter ever made. Except for having a ridiculous stage of depth and nuance to its methods, among the finest issues about MGSV is its “tactical ops” idea. As a substitute of being persistently embedded within the recreation’s open world, you’re primarily based on a distant oil platform, and fly into every mission individually. Every mission begins with a planning part the place you choose your gear, companions, autos and so forth, after which you’re deployed into the map for infiltration.
Then, when you’ve efficiently accomplished the target, you name for an extraction, and it isn’t till you’ve efficiently extracted that the mission ends. In different phrases, it treats each mission like a mission, fairly than a degree on a map to be checked off. It creates mechanics that match the theme, fairly than taking an current construction and making the theme match round it.
That is the place Breakpoint, and lots of different Ubisoft video games, fall down. Borrowing mechanics and belongings from different video games solely works in the event that they’re thematically constant within the recreation in query. Even good Ubisoft video games endure from this drawback. Murderer’s Creed Odyssey was considered one of my favorite video games of final 12 months, however I nonetheless wrestle to know why a recreation about assassinating folks incorporates a level-gating system that usually makes it unimaginable to truly assassinate folks. If I drop onto any person’s again and stab them within the jugular with a spearhead, the suitable response to that’s to die, not “Hulk-out and alert every other guard in the camp to my presence”.
I’ve loved a lot of Ubisoft’s open world video games. However “open world” shouldn’t be a baseline from which a recreation ought to be conceived. As a substitute, the open world ought to be handled like a mechanic in and of itself, a selected device that facilitates and communicates no matter broader idea you had within the first place. Finally, for this reason so many Ubisoft video games really feel the identical regardless of having very divergent settings. The open world appears to return first, and every thing else comes after.