Ask Yves Guillemot how this E3 went, and he’s quick to share the credit for what he calls a “fantastic” show. First he mentions the creativity, the talent and the drive of Ubisoft’s development teams. Next, he points to the power of some of Ubisoft’s biggest brands. Finally – and perhaps most importantly – he credits the gamers themselves, whose passion has helped push Ubisoft and the entire industry forward.
But, even if he’s not directly spelling it out, Guillemot’s vision for gaming’s future was very much on display at this year’s show (and was a reason for the nearly 200 awards and nominations from the worldwide critics and press). The founder and CEO of Ubisoft has some very clear ideas on where he wants the company to go and how he wants to get there. As E3 2014 was winding down, we chatted with the big boss to get his insights into a wide range of topics. In the first part of our discussion, we cover new-gen development and open-world games. And in The Yves Guillemot Interview – Part 2 we tackle movies, indies and the return of Rainbow Six.
Welcome to Your World
Assassin’s Creed Unity. Far Cry 4. The Division. The Crew. Four of our top games at this year’s E3 are open-world. Considering the hefty costs and challenges involved in producing any open-world game, why the huge investment in this genre? Why not take a smaller risk with more linear gameplay experiences?
According to Guillemot, it’s because this is the future of gaming. And not just due to the bigger and more immersive experiences these titles offer – but also because this genre does the best job of allowing players to experience games much in the same way they experience life.
“We live in worlds that are systemic,” Guillemot says. He hones in on games’ potential to mimic the many different kinds of systems that are part of our daily lives – both natural and man-made – and the rules upon which those systems are built. “When we create games, it’s very important to recreate systems that we can interact with like it happens in our real life.” Open-world games offer players more choices, letting them do more of what they want, when they want, and all within an environment that responds in increasingly believable ways. Guillemot also notes that open-world games allow for more inherently social interaction, so that a player’s individual game can be influenced by the game’s community as they participate in a shared game world.
Which brings us to another key point about Ubisoft’s E3 2014 lineup: these open-world games also incorporate seamless online experiences in wholly innovative ways. Whether we’re talking about co-op adventuring in Far Cry 4, open-road exploration in The Crew, or seamlessly integrated four-person missions in Assassin’s Creed Unity, Ubisoft’s lineup is all about removing the boundaries.
“You want liberty,” Guillemot says. “When you want to play solo, you play solo. If you want to play with your friends, then you let them come join you. The seamless solo/multiplayer is something that we’ve developed and that will continue to grow in the next few years.” The growth of choice that gamers crave means open worlds should get bigger, better and more prevalent, he notes “All those elements are so aligned with what people want that I feel it’s going to grow quite dramatically,” Guillemot says.
We’ve Got Next
Ubisoft also has been at the forefront of every transition to a new generation of consoles, and this one is no different. In fact, many of our games that were at this year’s E3 are new-gen only, including two being released this year: Assassin’s Creed Unity and The Crew. Why this relentless focus on the new hardware?
“What I saw from the beginnings of this industry was, during those console shifts, there are lots of opportunities,” Guillemot says. “Each time a new console is coming, there are lots of opportunities to create new brands or new types of gameplay – to change the worlds players are spending their time in.”
That’s why games like Assassin’s Creed Unity, The Division, and Rainbow Six Siege are all exclusively new-gen. And while Assassin’s Creed may be an established brand, the team is leveraging new-gen to bring a hefty helping of innovation to Unity.
“It’s a game that takes full advantage of the new gen,” Guillemot says. “It’s really a good demonstration of what those machines can do. And people are amazed. They didn’t expect those machines to deliver that level of graphics and animation quality, the depth of the number of people that can move in the environment, and so on. It’s helping the brand to have a new beginning with totally different possibilities.”
As for the others: The Division will redefine the Tom Clancy brand for the new generation. And Rainbow Six Siege is heading back to its roots while delivering a unique asymmetrical multiplayer experience.
“In our industry, each time a new console arrives, it gives us a chance to actually create new brands, or to push forward some of our legacy brands,” Guillemot says. “That’s why at Ubisoft, we have always been there early with the arrival of new consoles. Because after that, you have five or ten years with those brands – even 15 years for some of them.”
The new generation was also a big part of Watch Dogs’ success. While the recently released game is cross-generation, it was built from the start to deliver a next-gen experience. And that vision paid off: The game sold four million copies in one week and was the top-selling new IP of all time for the entire industry.
“That is tremendous for a new brand,” Guillemot says of Watch Dogs. “It shows that people want something new. They want to experience new types of gameplay and new game worlds.”
Be sure to check out Part 2 of our interview, where Yves Guillemot shares his insights on movies, creativity and the triumphant return of Rainbow Six. And head over to our E3 2014 hub for all our coverage of this year’s big show
October 6th 2014 - (AC: Unity) "We decided to lock them at the same specs (900p30FPS) to avoid all the debates and stuff," senior producer Vincent Pontbriand
Guillemot, mind explaining?
The Ubisoft is the best selling game in India also, everybody knows and claims to be best in the world, but they thought the stories and gaming experience in our country are bit of lacked, eventually Far Cry 4 depicts. Beloved games Indians love to play is Open - World and that's what Ubisoft provides it. Games of Future if be some Indian Great Epics like 'Ramayana' & 'Mahabharata' would be the best also, and a modern Cricket Game, the best loving Sport game which every Indian loves to play. It is a never ending prospect if a step on Cricket game is taken. We are very eager to see Ubisoft in Action in Plotting in this varied country.
I am a really HUGE AC fan and I don't get it why people hate AC3 for me AC4 was the worst game in the series and I think the series could be ok if black flag didn't exist i mean AC3 was far better than AC4 and now I really, really like that they are going back the path AC1 and AC2 were. My favourite part of the series was AC Revelations and I think they should add more costumes and weapons. I is soo strange to be a DIE HARD AC fan because the thing is (only in AC games) GOOD MARKETING = OK GAME(AC4,AC3), BAD MARKETING= AWSOME GAME(AC 2, AC R)
I am really looking forward to ACU the only thing that I think should be changed is the name of the game from ACU to Assassin's creed V (5) UNITY.
Ubisoft, why don't you give importance to Indian stories like "Ramayan","Mahabharat".It will be a great pleasure if you all make games of Indian stories.......it will be awesome as many people around the world will come to know about Indian stories through games.
I've been playing video games ever since I built a ZX80 and fired full stops at descending W's believing it to be space invaders...and I loved it!
Now, we have access to games I could only have dreams of back in the early 80s. Assassins Creed has consistently made my mouth drop open, partly because of the graphics, partly the gameplay and partly the ongoing storylines. I've bought a PS4 now in the hope that the next installment ships early!
Uisoft have always had a quirky look at games and long may it continue. What's the problem with sequals? We love it when a new film sequals comes along, we love it when a TV serial announces another season, and we love it when our favourite artists record another album....so what's the difference? Maybe some get a misplaced sense of superiority from droning on about the video game industry, and how they make money. So take up a new hobby then, knitting perhaps?
Always great to hear Mr. Guillemot’s insight on the industry, as well as, the future of Ubisoft on Next-Gen.
Great article. I'm already looking forward to Part 2 because I 'really' want to know more about the movies that are in production.
This year bought some good advances to how we've been playing games. I give credit to Rockstar for GTA:O.
I want more games to offer such detailed realistic environments (that the player is free to challenge, abuse, test and wander through), and further embrace the effort to do it all without load screens in session.
Uncluttered game time.
Yves and Ubisoft are clearly forerunners in the field of open world game design and social gaming. I'm glad we have them.
AC:U is where I have hope for more advances with seamless, solo+coop, open world experiences.
Coop AC has win written all over it.
The Division and R6:S show great promise.
Too bad the Boss man is so short sighted, he can't see the value, in Ghost Recon Phantoms. It was on its way to becoming the E sports game. Now its just another casual shooter. But hey Profits over People that is the UBI way. Keep going for the easy cash, but remember, you have to produce quality across all platforms. Don't just dumb down your games for console players and phones....Hard to support UBI anymore, with the mad cash grabs, and poor quality of games you are producing as of late. Keep stepping over the dollar to pick up that dime Yves.
Your vision great for investors bad for gamers.
Somebody please give Yves a giant hug from all of us Ubi fans, he gave us a big dream we are living in. We are a family. All together.
I think Black Flag is also a good game, having this much of Open - World is enough to please a AC Fan. I agree some part of it you said, it lacks a Good Story, but has a good combat system and a Pirate features like ships and crew and loving Islands are the best thing a AC Fan needs. I Think it's not worst the thing it's not good as AC1, AC2, AC : BH, AC3, AC : REVL, but far better than AC : LB HD...!!!
Very rightly said, mate. India is a huge country, where 60% of the people are poor, but from 200 Cr, still 40% is way beyond a company think to sell his product. Yet some of the huge game companies mark India as a third world country, those stupids don't even searched about this Legendary Epics that India have, the BIG 'Mahabharata' & 'Ramayana'.
Dude you have no idea what your talking about .
us console players aren't always the reason and quit using graphics as the main excuse, it looks chilish. stop being a douche. plus it's annoying on how you pc ethlists think your better than everyone just because of high pretty graphics.
@Chris: Amen to that.
graphics aren't the main reason for a good game -_-"
I still play PSX games and enjoy them more than some of my newer games.... lol I really don't know how a graphic focused person can call himself a gamer O_o