Nintendo

Ubisoft Says It Wants “Less And Less Storytelling” In Their Games

Ubisoft isn’t content with the current state of storytelling in video games and wants to shake things up in a dramatic fashion. The company says it wants less storytelling in their games and want to let players experience “their own story”. They point towards games such as Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed as examples of games that included a lot of traditional storytelling but say that was “the usual way, the easy way” of making games and they want to end it.

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37 comments

  1. If they just said that they’re throwing out all of the super boring Abstergo/Animus parts of Assassin’s Creed games, I’d be thrilled. After all, the only FUN parts are the historical parts. All of the modern Abstergo crap always felt like a punishment.

    1. They’re not saying they don’t want any story in their games. They say they don’t want traditional storytelling.
      The way I understand this, they want games where the player can interpret the story in their very own and personal way, so the game can have a kinda different meaning for each individual who plays it. Basically, a story that’s open for interpretation, instead of just being openly presented to the player.

      1. ||I’d prefer if they meant less cinematics and more gameplay storytelling like Metroid does and similar…||

        1. That’s just what I was thinking- building it so you could as much or as little story as you wanted.

          Or they could take the route Valve used in games like Half Life and Portal- very few actual cutscenes, most story happens while you still have control of the protagonist so you can choose to pay attention or not.

          1. ||Indeed, but they will probably sell themselves like always once they see that the corrupted filth don’t buy their garbage…||

      2. If thats what they mean it could be both good and bad because of the expectative of what the player want to happen, and the expectative of what is going on in the story. Some would want to know for certain what transcure in what way and some would rather interpretate in their own way.

  2. Looks like I won’t be buying any of their games then since I mostly buy games to play the story! Sure the game play is important as well but then again so is the story (to me anyways). As a result, games with a “game play only” mindset feel significantly stripped down compared to games that have good stories AS WELL AS good game play. Taking the easy way out my arse!

    1. Yes, both good story and good gameplay are very important in a viedeogame. I hope the other third parties don’t do this.

  3. Good. If I wanted a story I’d watch a film or a read a book, I play games for the GAMING aspect, not the poorly written, badly acted cinematic crap that surrounds it all.

  4. The only game that comes to mind (where a story would have made a world of difference) is the latest Smash Bros. game on Wii U. I hate the way it’s catered only towards multiplayer. And how they didn’t give much effort for the single player. It literally became just a typical fighting game, with no explanation of why all of those fighters are in the same world together etc. Those kind of games lose my interest FAST!

    1. That’s definitely something I’m trying to avoid in my own fighting project… It’s hard to make characters relatable when it’s not revealed what they’re fighting for.

  5. One of my favorite videogames is Zelda: Twilight Princess. Not only because of the gameplay and action, it is also because of the story. I also like the story of Metroid Prime Trilogy with Prime 2 and 3 being my favorite because they tell you more details than Prime 1 which most of the story can only be know by using the Scan Visor.

  6. Well they already stripped away any sort of story from Rayman Origins and had what was left of it be confusing and never explained in game.

  7. The thing that Ubisoft (and also many of you guys above) seem to be missing is that there is no one size fits all. Some games benefit from a traditional story, others do not. Blanket statements like this betray a very narrow-minded view of gaming.

    I do think that it is time for video games to start properly exploring emergent story-telling though, which Ubisoft seem to be hinting at. Currently the way stories in games are being presented I don’t see how games are any better as a storytelling medium than films or books (indeed they are perhaps worse). Emergent storytelling is something that those other mediums can’t do, and could be incredibly immersive if executed well. However, I recommend they dip their toe into this one series at a time, rather than trying the same thing with every single property they have simultaneously as they seem to imply here. There’s still a place for traditional story and there is still a place for no story.

  8. Their stories is the only thing they have going for them, and even then their stories aren’t that good, as for their gameplay mechanics it’s boring shyte that’s laughable at most. I truly don’t see Ubisoft being around for another 5 years, they are a garbage company that spew out mediocre content with no real substance to hold them afloat. The last greatest hit they ever had was Beyond Good and Evil, and that game was how long ago!?

  9. The only reason Beyond Good & Evil is a Cult Classic was for the Story, World and Characters. The gameplay was mostly just average and unremarkable (though I seem to remember staff combat feeling pleasantly fluid early on).

    “Make your own story” games like Bethesda games are good, not because they tell LESS story, but instead because they don’t force you down the one Central story, but let you interact with a THOUSAND smaller stories along the way.

    I feel like most of the Ubisoft games I’ve enjoyed were made good by having a rich story behind its world and why your character is in it, doing what they are doing.

    This is reminding me if how not long ago FPS developers were all talking about how no one plays the single player campaigns so why even give a game one … yet, every game review now rates and compares them to each other by exactly that, and Titanfall 2 is PRAISED for having one when the first did not.

    Even games like Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch are as popular as they are in part to the backstories and personalities behind the characters, even if you are not “PLAYING” those stories. (Though I have no doubt creating 3-stage mini campaigns for each character in Overwatch as supplemental DLC that told well written and entertaining ‘stories’ about each of of them would be enthusiastically recieved)

    I’m not sure Ubisoft gameplay is good enough to stand on it’s own if they don’t take their storytelling and worldbuilding (just another form of “storytelling”) seriously. Strip away the story and the world and the jank and repetition really starts to show.

  10. anyone here is actually playing games for the z list storys needs to f78k off back to there playstation

    melenials actually think watchiong cut scenes is videogaming SJW FOOLS

  11. I don’t agree with this. While the unique part of a game is the interactivity (gameplay), it and story can also compliment each other very well. A touching or dramatic story segment is even more effective and personal if crafted around interactivity, able to bring the player directly into the story. So while some games may be better off without a narrative – a simple Mario platformer doesn’t really need a deep plot to be fun – to dismiss narrative as a part of games entirely is to miss out on a lot of unique opportunities.

  12. This is probably because of how much they get criticized for their cutscenes like in Assassin’s Creed for example. If less of those means better gameplay, then of course I’m all for it. This would likely mean more customization options in their games too. I think a lot of people here are just misunderstanding.

  13. :/ I don’t like the sound of this. I hope they just did a shitty job at wording this. Assassin’s Creed games after 3 are confusing enough as is right now with so little explained of what the fuck is going on with Juno & Aita! And now they are saying they want to leave the interpretation up to the gamer!? Ugh! As much as I love Zelda & Metroid, I don’t want other games treating the main character as just an avatar for the player like those games tend to do. I can get into the video game characters I play just fine even if they do have their own personality & shit. Not to mention most people that play for the story actually like to have things explained & revealed to them. For those that don’t like that about Assassin’s Creed & others like it, clearly you should stick with video games that are like the old NES games where you simply tried to get the highest score possible. Maybe Ubisoft is doing this because they think their games will sell better on Nintendo consoles to the “gameplay only” elites that plague most Nintendo games. *shrug*

  14. The headline makes this sound bad. I like them going against status quo. There’s way too much fluff in video game storytelling nowadays, and way too many cutscenes. JRPGs have it right; I hope they do storytelling in a similar fashion.

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