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Ubisoft focusing on open world and live service games, continues to invest in generative AI



Ubisoft will now focus on open world and live service games, as it invests in AI to assist development.

The strategy was outlined in the company’s latest financial report, which claims record annual sales – in particular for the Rainbow Six and Assassin’s Creed franchises.

The company’s next games slot neatly into this strategy: namely Star Wars Outlaws, the newly-revealed Assassin’s Creed Shadows, and free-to-play shooter XDefiant.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows Official World Premiere TrailerWatch on YouTube

“We have made the choice to play to our strengths and are sharpening our strategic focus on two verticals, Open World Adventures and GaaS-native experiences,” reads Ubisoft’s latest financial report.

“This focus not only offers profitable growth and recurrence prospects but also allows us to leverage and better cross-fertilise Ubisoft’s established brands as well as ongoing targeted investments in proprietary technologies to reach and sustain a competitive advantage.”

For open world games, Ubisoft specifically mentions Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, The Division, Ghost Recon and Star Wars.

Notably, open world series Watch Dogs appears to be no more, after the mixed response to the London-set Watch Dogs Legion.

As for live service games, Ubisoft cites the success of Rainbow Six Siege alongside the forthcoming XDefiant, Rainbow Six Mobile and The Division Resurgence.

Ubisoft also quietly announced the cancellation of free-to-play shooter The Division Heartland. Little was known about this game, though presumably it somehow did not fit into this new strategy as the company focuses on “bigger opportunities”.

To achieve all this, Ubisoft is relying on both its “proprietary cutting-edge technologies” to enable innovation and facilitate sharing across studios, as well as using generative AI.

At GDC earlier this year, Ubisoft unveiled NEO NPC that uses generative AI to create characters in its games. “It is designed to transform the way players interact with non-playable characters and create more immersive gameplay experiences,” said Ubisoft in this new report. “And beyond several ongoing internal projects, Ubisoft also partners with leading AI companies on joint initiatives.”

NEO NPC remains something of a prototype, so it’s unclear if this technology has been used in Assassin’s Creed Shadows and Star Wars Outlaws, or if it will be employed in future games instead.

In a Q&A following the report’s release, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot provided further details on the AI strategy. “We have two groups working on gen AI,” he said. “One pool to the different jobs that we have – marketing, sales, IT, legal, and all the other jobs – where we look at how we can be more efficient, and how we can automatise a certain number of things. That’s coming along quite well, with good systems to improve our efficiency there.”

The second group is focused on “how we can improve the quality of our games, in making those games more alive. So we did present a new NPC at the last conference. It was well appreciated, and it showed what we will be able to do in our games that will make them more alive and richer. So I expect a lot from gen AI in our games, to make our games more interesting and for people to really have a personalised experience.”

Looking ahead, Ubisoft will reveal more of its forthcoming games at its Ubisoft Forward event on 10th June. We’ll likely get further looks at both Assassin’s Creed Shadows and Star Wars Outlaws.

The showcase takes place the same week as the next Xbox showcase, and Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest.

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