Since the end of last generation, fans and critics have noticed Ubisoft games tend to resemble one another quite often. This generation especially witnessed its titles primarily focus on massive open-worlds and live-service gameplay. Such a unified vision was intentional, due to Ubisoft’s editorial team which has influenced developmental decisions across the publisher’s titles for two decades. Following last year’s fumbles with The Division 2 and Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, however, Ubisoft intends to restructure the way editorial works. With the revamp, the company means to vary the types of games it produces.
Video Games Chronicle’s report on the matter details how Ubisoft’s editorial team typically functions. The Paris-based team consists of about a hundred designers and producers, all of whom participate in advising studios on effectively everything in their games, from game design and scriptwriting to world maps and live-service elements. These influencers, so to speak, aren’t developing the games themselves. Yet, their decision-making, according to VGC, explains Ubisoft’s emphasis on open-worlds and live services. Supposedly, this same team also warrants credit for the apolitical stance the publisher so often touts, while grounding the themes in real-world elements that so often make them appear political.
VGC reportedly received a statement from Ubisoft briefly outlining how the editorial team will change going forward. The statement reads, “We are reinforcing our editorial team to be more agile and better accompany our development teams around the world as they create the best gaming experiences for players.”
Anonymous sources expanded on the statement, informing VGC that in revamping editorial, the company aims to produce a more varied line-up of titles. This aligns with what CEO Yves Guillemot said late last year when announcing the delay of three big 2020 releases. The way the changes are described, it appears the revamp will have a trickle-down effect of sorts. Notably, Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoet will maintain his role as editorial lead but more teams will have autonomy so that decisions for games aren’t made by a select few people.
VGC’s sources hint that the number of vice presidents beneath him will increase to seven. Each VP will lead the creative vision of one franchise and receive more autonomous control over those specific projects, giving them the ability to freely make decisions. Consequently, Hascoet won’t be as hands-on with every game. Rather, his tasks will involve checking the progress of every project at “key milestones.” If true, such a move could indeed lead to a greater variety of creative voices influencing Ubisoft’s products.
Reportedly, a few Ubisoft veterans will transition into these roles. According to what VGC’s been told, editorial VP Tommy Francois is to take on one such position. Canada-based Creative Directors are also allegedly being implemented into Ubisoft’s restructuring plan. Child of Light’s Patrick Plourde counts as one incoming vice president, while Splinter Cell’s Maxime Béland represents another. The latter recently returned to the company following a year-long stint with Epic Games.
Confirmation on if and when all of the above will begin currently remains under wraps. Should this prove true, it certainly seems a drastic step in the right direction towards helping Ubisoft diversify its lineup.
[Source: Video Games Chronicle]