Yes, I’m aware of the many memes about Ubisoft as a publisher/developer and doing the same thing over and over with Assassin’s Creed or releasing games with issues at launch. But, I think they’ve come along way in their approach to design and respect of fans. I am at the point where I trust spending money on Ubisoft games because they all end up good eventually.
I think that change starts a few years ago with a few different games and fending off a takeover from an outside company.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Ubisoft has been developing for over 30 years by now, but the first Ubisoft game I played was Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time in 2003. I didn’t pay attention to developers at the time so I didn’t understand certain aspects of a game or how you can see through lines between different game series by the same developer, like with Prince of Persia and Assassin’s Creed. In my mind, Prince of Persia is the precursor to Assassin’s Creed. The game takes place in a specific time period with a focus on action gameplay.
Sure, you could say that with a great many games. I think you can see the makings of Assassin’s Creed in Prince of Persia as we look back.
There are quite a few Ubisoft games that many people love that I just never played, Rayman, Beyond Good & Evil, and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell come to mind.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
My real experience with Ubisoft begins with Assassin’s Creed and more realistically Assassin’s Creed II. The first game in that series was cool for a lot of reasons such as creating an alternate history to play in and allowing us to see the world as it might have been during a different time period. I like Assassin’s Creed but it didn’t quite stick like the next game. There was just something about the first game that didn’t resonate with me.
AC2 put me on a track of appreciation for Ubisoft games from 2008 to now. I have faith that their single player games are going to be good at launch and if their multiplayer games aren’t good at launch they will get better over time. Yes, of course, some of their singleplayer games have spawned countless memes because of the variety of bugs, even those games get better eventually. I feel like it’s important to note I am picking out specific examples from my own experience that doesn’t take into account the entire library of Ubisoft’s offerings.
From Assassin’s Creed, I’ve come to expect a curious jaunt through history while slashing, bashing, shooting, and, in general, mercilessly killing in-game bad guys for hours on end while being told a story within history with a giant open world to explore.
Far Cry 5
From Far Cry, except Far Cry Primal, I’ve come to expect pretty much the same as Assassin’s Creed just with gun combat instead of using blades or hand-to-hand and the game takes place in the contemporary world, sort of. Oh and there’s usually drugs.
From Ubisoft’s online-focused games, The Division, The Division 2, Rainbow Six Seige, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and For Honor I expect interesting combat, usually shooting, with the ability to play with my friends for a great many hours, just 6 or so months after launch. Generally, I fully expect their online games to have issues at launch because they’ve usually had issues at launch. And then the games get much better over time. Ubisoft maintains and fixes their games over time, so much so that I am completely fine with buying a game at launch even if it has issues.
Now, I’m not saying that bugs and connectivity issues are acceptable for a full release. I am saying that I can look past the issues because I get to play a big game with my friends for a long time and then return to the game later when it gets updated. To me, it’s like getting to play two different games for the price of one. I loved The Division when it first launched and then loved it again a couple years later when I played with a different group of friends with the updates and changes. I don’t know if it’s possible to release a game, that’s online multiplayer focused, without issues. I really can’t recall a game that launched in a perfectly fine state. They are just too big.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
I’d love to hear examples if anyone has them.
And when people got tired of the annualized Assassin’s Creed games Ubisoft stopped the practice. Now we get AC games every two years, with Origins and Odyssey as an exception. The next AC game will come in 2020 and I am fine with that. I love the series, but I got tired of them year after year like many other people. I didn’t really play all of Ezio’s trilogy and I didn’t play 3. I played AC4, Origins, and Odyssey while skipping everything else. I wouldn’t be surprised to see many people with similar experiences. I think people will start playing more AC with breaks between the games.
Overall, Ubisoft seems like they listen to feedback and actually involve the community in the process of making games. They respond to issues and it feels like they have an honest approach to communication. They don’t just release a game and abandon it, from what I can tell. If they say they are going to fix something, they fix it. If they say they are going to communicate with the players they do so. It just seems that Ubisoft has a certain respect for people’s time and wants to keep players involved in their games for years to come.
I’d love to hear other companies who treat their communities well or listen to feedback. I am familiar with AAA development, but I’m not so familiar with anything smaller. I’m sure smaller companies have excellent community involvement. Who or what comes to mind?
Thanks for reading.