Ubisoft gets a lot of hate around the gaming community.
Many gamers are angered over a few titles that released with a massive slew of bugs and glitches that made them difficult to fully experience at launch.
Other gamers are frustrated with their general style of game development, which, for a time, seemed to be to cram as many game systems as possible into a single title. A good example of this was the crafting system in Watch Dogs, which enabled players to craft sub-items to use in the game world. The crafting system was poorly balanced and poorly paced. Crafting parts were remarkably easy to come by, and were essentially infinite by the time a player was halfway through the main story. All in all, the system clearly didn’t receive enough attention and as a result, was a poor addition into the overall structure of the game.
Many of these complaints are, based on past evidence, perfectly valid. There is an ongoing complaint, however, that Ubisoft seems to coast by on releasing the same two or three games over and over again. And from a conceptual point, I see where this might be coming from. There have been a lot of Assassin’s Creed games and a whole bunch of Far Cry games, this is true. Businesses are encouraged to release games similar to successful previous titles because they want to give investors a reason to fund them, and investors tend to prefer established names that have proven their worth. Thus, Ubisoft might design its titles with a bit of restraint on the innovation side, afraid to stray too radically from the experiences that players have grown accustomed to in fear that once-loyal fans might end up hating a radical new direction. So, for many of their larger releases, they do tend to stick to an established central formula.
But whenever they’re making something that the fate of their company doesn’t rest upon? They go wild. And it’s god damn fantastic.
The most obvious example of this was Far Cry: Blood Dragon. This standalone experience was built off the same engine and used many of the same assets as Fallout 3, but took players on the 80’s sci-fi B-Movie adventure of a lifetime – something to rival the likes of Kung Fury. This experience put fun first, and wasn’t ashamed to show it, boosting a miniature open world baked in thick neon lights and putting players in control of a cyber-commando wielding a shotgun from Terminator II, the pistol from Robocop, and much, much more.
And let’s not forget that, while the first game struggled with its own serious overtones and conflicting gameplay mechanics and themes, Watch Dogs was a new IP in a company that did not need to take a risk with a new IP. Ubisoft could have stuck to Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry titles for the next million or so years, but they did choose to take an unlikely risk that shaped up to a fairly solid game in its second iteration (Which is a lot like what happened to the first two Assassin’s Creed titles).
Adding onto this theme of wildness is the Mars DLC of Far Cry 5, which takes our heroes to the red planet where they can take on an alien invasion. This DLC offering comes complete with a brand new world, including new weapons and enemies that will be available for use in the Far Cry arcade mode for players to implement into their custom levels to their heart’s content. Because why not, I guess. Sounds pretty fun to me.
There’s also plans for a Vietnam themed venture, as well as an upcoming Zombie DLC by the name of Dead Living Zombies. Not much information has been released on either of these yet, but you can check a trailer for the Vietnam DLC here.
There are some people who lament Ubisoft for making the same game over and over again. And, yeah, to some degree that is what they do. But any chance they get to do something crazy, they do it. They do it well.
So Ubisoft, please, go wild. When these short little offerings give your designers total creative freedom, it’s always interesting to see what you’ll come up with.