Since the series became truly open-world during the Ezio Trilogy, Assassin’s Creed has continuously broadened in scope. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey undoubtedly acts as the series’ most expansive entry to date, and it doesn’t seem Ubisoft wants to shrink the games down to size again. Yet, one must wonder whether such a model is sustainable, especially since the publisher produces more than one open-world franchise. Apparently, CEO Yves Guillemot does not consider sustainability an issue, due in large part to the world’s vastness and the continuously growing market.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Guillemot addressed the topic head-on. He explained that the number of consumers worldwide is immense, allowing for the gaming industry’s continued growth. Guillemot told the publication,
It is sustainable, because the world is big and the number of players that can play our games is immense. 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].
In a way, consumers are greatly benefiting from their investment, too. According to Guillemot, the average player spent about 60 hours in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. As such, “players got a lot from their investment in the game, a lot more than they got before.” This isn’t solely because of the core experience, either. Ubisoft’s live-service model keeps new content flowing into the game, and ensures at least some of the audience continues to return.
Our teams don’t stop after launching the game. 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.
With Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, this model definitely worked in the publisher’s favor, thanks to a healthy mix of free and paid post-launch content. But does this work for all of Ubisoft’s open-world titles? So far, Ghost Recon: Wildlands is the only one that seemed to have a “tail” as long as Odyssey’s. Perhaps the latest AC entry will be used as a template, since, at the very least, it appears to prove Guillemot right in many respects.