Ubisoft Blames Lack Of New Console For Generic Games

If you’ve wondered whether it’s just or, or if it really does seem like Ubisoft has of late become nothing more than the producer of endless sequels, it’s not just you. Why, a check of their 2012 slate shows only one game – the Wii U launch title ZombieU – that isn’t a sequel. But before you get too tsk-tsk-ee on them, make note: it’s totally not their fault, it’s because console makers are slipping.

At least, that’s the word from Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. Talking to Gamasutra, he suggested that the long length of the current console generation – 7 years and change as of this writing – has led to creative decline among developers. “What we missed was a new console every five years,” Guillemot said. “We have been penalized by the lack of new consoles on the market. I understand the manufacturers don’t want them too often because it’s expensive, but it’s important for the entire industry to have new consoles because it helps creativity.”

Why is this? “It’s a lot less risky for us to create new IPs and new products, ” he continued, “when we’re in the beginning of a new generation. Our customers are very open to new things. Our customers are reopening their minds — and they are really going after what’s best. … At the end of a console generation, they want new stuff, but they don’t buy new stuff as much. They know their friends will play Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed so they go for that. So the end of a cycle is very difficult.”

I see his point. People may indeed be reluctant to invest in a new IP on the current generation so soon before they’ll have to blow a ton upgrading to the next. Still, there’s something to be said for developers doing their bit. The God of War series launched its second game for PS2 some 5 months after Playstation 3 debuted. That sounds kind of dumb, but it also suggests the current generation may continue to enjoy life well into the next generation. Hell, Rockstar’s Bully launched 2 weeks before the Playstation 3 launched. Which is to say there’s no reason that developers couldn’t continue to innovate no matter the moment in the development cycle, other than willingness.

Which is to say, this sounds more like a nice sounding excuse. Perhaps one with a lot of truth, but an excuse nonetheless. Thoughts, Game Fronters?

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9 Comments on Ubisoft Blames Lack Of New Console For Generic Games

R.J.

On July 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm

There is some merit to this. Right around the time where every big seller is yet another sequel is when we hear about new hardware. And normally we would have at least heard about the next generation of consoles by now.

Jonathan

On July 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I love how every game developer/publisher is blaming the hardware that is out now for games being generic, even though Watch Dogs doesn’t look generic at all.

Derek

On July 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Or Ubisoft could just focus on designing a product for the best game console, which is always evolving and doesn’t have a generation gap. The PC.

Most console games I have interest in are available for Windows. They always have better graphics and often cost less, have more features, free DLC, community mods, cloud saves, multiple input options including xbox 360 controllers, better cheat protection, and always a much more mature player community.

If Ubisoft designs a great game for the PC it can be ported to next generation consoles later.

Anathemize

On July 25, 2012 at 1:28 am

The problem with sequels is that they decide not to evolve their product. They make the same game in a different setting with new features, most of which are steps back or lateral moves.

In a world of social media and viral everything, a great idea gets support. The mainstream publishers try to give sequels, but rather give expensive dlcs.

I think with the free to play, kickstarter, and indie surge will change the industry.. People see an idea that has potential and customers flock. Look at dayz. It has the worst ui in a game since text based adventure games. It also has more bugs that an episode of hoarders. Despite this it has a huge following and has made arma 2 one of the best selling games on steam in the past few months.

Games are meant to evolve over time from customer feedback and testing. A well conceived free to play model can make all players feel equal but give the developers a bigger window to get the game right. Kickstarter gives companies a chance to make games that publishers see as a stock value threat.

Only until the bigwigs at the major publishers understand that timelines on games and metacritic bonuses, only force devs to be safe, will this ever change.

CatmanStu

On July 25, 2012 at 3:52 am

Greed, plain and simple.
The only truth in Guillemot’s statement is that it is less of a risk releasing new IP’s on new hardware, but to lay the responsibility on the consumer is laughable to the point of offensive. The reason there are more adoptors of new IP’s on new systems is down to nothing more than lack of choice and that is why most of the early releases from third party devs are shockingly bad. Why give a starving person a three course meal when they will gladly eat a burger.

JawaEsteban

On July 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

As has already been pointed out, nothing is stopping developers from creating IP for the PC. Games are originally designed and created on PC, so there shouldn’t be an issue with releasing them on same. They can be ported back to consoles later.

Problem is, if the in-game video and screenshots for reviews that get out first are from PC, it’s going to become painfully apparent how much consoles suck after the reverse port. That would be unfortunate from a profit standpoint.

bob

On July 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

it is ubisoft that make generic games, there is no merit into what they claim it is pure laziness and fear of creating a new ip that wont work or is actually fun, assassins creed 1 was a terrible and repetitive game same as the new driver brilliant story for driver, but i dont want to do 4 pointless things before i can unlock a mission thats terrible game play it forcing a player to not have fun in what they want and do things they dont like to do its the same with ac1 it gets very boring very quickly. indi games is where its at untill companies like this will get it through their thick skulls and listen to the public. watch dogs looks good but i bet you the same old same old occours and i hope for once from ubisoft a working properly pc title its not too much to ask now is it?

wesker1984

On July 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm

The fact is we are not all rich as them and a 5 years timespan is too expansive and too short for the customers. I’m glad that the curent generation have lived for almost 8 years.

Axetwin

On July 26, 2012 at 12:48 am

Im sorry but what a crock. Companies like Ubisoft better get used to longer console lifespans because graphics hardware is obviously starting to plateau. In order for there to be a vastly significant leap in graphics ability, we’d have to invent a new visual medium. BTW, what I consider to be “vastly significant” is the difference between a PS1 game and a PS3 game. I suspect Sony and Microsoft already know this which is why theyre both trying to turn their next console into a PC replacement. Theyre hoping to distract players from the fact that next gen games wont look much better than some of the best looking stuff from this generation.

Also, speaking of Microsoft and Sony, considering how the first year of each current gen console left a bad taste in the mouths of the majority of their playerbase, Im not surprised that either company isnt too eager to push their next console out on the market.