Thursday, July 5th 2018
Lionel Rainaud, Executive Vice President of Creative for Ubisoft's Canadian studios, shared via a blog post an interesting, albeit not novel idea, for games. The aim is to end the disparaging of resources that is the finite game experience: as in, the game that you experience once or twice, but that once you've seen the campaign's completion and finished all the end content, goes back on the shelf never to see the light of your interest again: all the development time (measured in years) and effort (and dollars) for what amounts to an 8-hour experience (or less). The goal, then, seems to be to take online experiences to a whole new level, where a game's content can be constantly updated so as to keep the credits from rolling.
"(...) the will to not give finite experiences. The idea was that you have this conflict, and the resolution, and then it's finished - you've killed the bad guy, for instance. We build a strong nemesis, and the goal of the game is to kill him or free the country, we've done that a few times in our games. But when you succeed, you have to leave the game, because there is nothing else to do. So the goal was to break this, and say that you will be the hero of a region or population many times, not just once. And if you get rid of a dictator or an oppressor, something else is going to happen in the world, and you will have a new goal.
But at the same time, I'm unsure. I'm unsure because game development is a business, and as a business, they (developers/publishers) will look to leverage the maximum amount of profit they can. And there are multiple ways to do that in these experiences.Take Lionel Rainaud's quote, for instance. If there's one thing I value is closure - story arcs that unfold and end organically, that have a beginning and an end - a challenge that is met by us and the characters of these worlds, the struggle to defeat conflict, and then the consequences of said conflict. There's such a thing as wanting to have an impact in the world - at least in these 3D ones. It's empowering. It feels right. Now imagine finishing Far Cry 4, defeating Pagan Min... And oh but wait. Now there's another one dictator taking his place. And then another one. And oh now there's a warlord vying for control. And now another one. There's such a thing as desensitization. If done right, the story has to move forward at all times - not be frozen in time with these cheap, almost automatic artifices and systems. The Nemesis system used in Middle Earth: Shadow of War is great in an enclosed campaign, adding a personal conflict to Talion, and for us, gamers, to surpass. Can you imagine a game that surpasses being finite by constantly throwing a new warchief at you? For me, that might be cool for a while, but it's tiring, and depressing - what am I doing with my time? There are infinite orcs here.News @ Ubisoft