Open world gaming is here to stay. Open worlds are the trend this generation, similar to how linear, cinematic action games were the last generation. Most of the big games last year – Fallout 4, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Batman: Arkham Knight – were open world titles. And it only looks like that trend is set to continue this year.
Ubisoft themselves have been pioneers of the genre, ever since Assassin’s Creed took off. With good reason, too- at a financial meeting, Ubisoft confessed that they think that open world games are a major driver of financial growth and returns. They also pointed out, rather correctly, that Ubisoft is the only company that has been able to deliver open world games with any degree of regularity, something that they attribute to their massive, 9,000+ strong workforce.
Ubisoft is promising many more open world games this year- Far Cry Primal, The Division, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands, just to name a few. There is also the rumored Watch Dogs 2.
Of course, while Ubisoft does indisputably deliver the most number of open world games to the market, there are many who would – rightly – argue that Ubisoft open world games are often lifeless, feeling as though they came off an assembly line, with no content that actually leverages the strength of the format, and the open world just being used for excessive padding- leading to their games feel almost procedural in nature. In a lot of ways, these people would have a point- compared to just how well the open worlds are crafted in something like Grand Theft Auto, The Witcher, or Xenoblade, Ubisoft’s games feel flat by comparison.
Hopefully this is something they can look into going forward.