Ubisoft: Bigger Isn't Always Better In Game Design
Games don't specifically need to be bigger as a rule, but some games will benefit, Ubisoft exec says.
Some of Ubisoft's games, like the newest entries in the Assassin's Creed and Far Cry franchises, have been criticized for being too big, so much so that people feel intimidated to get started. So when Ubisoft announced a new game development technology, Scalar, that can help games grow even bigger in size with "limitless" worlds, some might have wondered if Ubisoft believes bigger is better as a rule.
That is not the case, according to Ubisoft's Patrick Bach, who is heading up the team in Stockholm working on Scalar and a new IP using it. "Do we need games to be bigger? No," Bach told GI.biz. "Are some games going to benefit from being able to be bigger? Absolutely. It depends on that game, and the goal of that game and its creators."
Bach said he believes the Scalar technology will give developers the ability to make bigger games--and some might benefit from this--but it won't be all of them.
"No part of a game should be driven by 'more is better.' This is technology, and that does not dictate what games you build, but there are games that will definitely benefit from being bigger, more detailed, being able to scale and being greater than they are today," he said. "I don't think there's a real connection between games being bigger and them being better or worse. It depends on the creators and how they want to spend their energy achieving their vision."
Ubisoft's new Scalar technology is a cloud-based production tool for developers to build games faster, more efficiently, and at a scale previously impossible, according to Ubisoft. But what does this look like in practice? We still don't know, and Ubisoft's team in Stockholm isn't ready to show the fruits of its labor on its new IP using the technology.
"We wish we could show it to you, but we can't right now. I don't want you to take our word for it that we have it and others don't," Bach said.
The developer added that Scalar is not a new engine that Ubisoft will license to other studios in a way that Epic does with its Unreal Engine. "We're not trying to sell you anything, we're just talking about what we want to do. Ubisoft doesn't want players or other companies to buy this technology, we're just hinting at what the future will be like," he said.
Ubisoft's teams in Malmö (Ubisoft Massive), Helsinki (Ubisoft Redlynx), Bucharest, and Kyiv are also working on new projects with the Scalar technology that will be announced later.
With Scalar, Ubisoft is trying to create a "development framework focused on crafting the ideal game design and experience, rather than working around traditional production constraints."
For more on Scalar, check out the video above and GameSpot's extended Scalar coverage.