CEO Yves Guillemot explains why the growing audience for games means the publisher's blockbuster model is sustainable
Ubisoft is now synonymous with open worlds, yet is there any chance it would ever return to more focused outings like Assassin's Creed Unity?
"No," CEO Yves Guillemot tells GamesIndustry.biz. "Our goal is to make sure you can have a Unity within an Odyssey. If you want to have a story of 15 hours, you can have it, but you can also have other stories. You live in that world and you pursue what you want to pursue. You have an experience, many Unity-like experiences."
The disparity between Odyssey and Unity also highlights how the scope of development has grown. Both titles had around ten studios working on them, but the amount of work required increases with the size of the game world (plus the sheer level of detail Ubisoft strives to present).
Yet as budgets have increased, the price point for end users remains the same -- roughly $60/£50 for a new release. If Ubisoft is trying to make bigger and better worlds, is this model even sustainable?
"It is sustainable, because the world is big and the number of players that can play our games is immense," says Guillemot. "What we've seen in the last few years is the number of players that play our games is constantly growing.
"New markets are opening up and games live a lot longer than before. So at the moment we see that we can continue to increase the investments because we know we can have a return on investment that can be quite long[-tailed]."
He adds that the 60 hour average play time for Odyssey proves that "players got a lot from their investment in the game, a lot more than they got before."
"Our teams don't stop after launching the game," he concludes. "We have huge teams that continue to create content for players to stay in those universes they love to be in. The fact that we have some players buying items in these games is giving our teams the chance to continue creating that extra content."