In a further attempt to shake up the template of many of its key franchises, Ubisoft is reportedly restructuring its "editorial team", an influential group of creatives that influence the company's various projects.
As reported by VGC, the group of approximately 100 designers have "overseen" the development of all of its titles, advising on numerous aspects of development, from visuals to narrative design. Though not on the development teams themselves, it's thought the editorial team – via an advisory system that has been employed at Ubisoft for twenty years now – has had a significant influence on development, taking its "learnings from one project [and] feeding into the next".
While that has clearly bolstered the undeniable success of some Ubisoft franchises, it's thought the team may also be behind the company's formulaic approach that lacks variation, with reports of "just one or two people" having their tastes and opinions "being replicated" across Ubi's numerous franchises.
“In the previous system that editorial had, there were often the ideas of just one or two people getting put into every game," an anonymous source reportedly told VGC. "That’s why you tended to see such similarity, because it’s the same taste and opinion being replicated.”
In a formal statement, a Ubisoft spokesperson told VGC: "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."
It's believed that while Ubisoft’s chief creative officer Serge Hascoet will continue to lead the editorial team, seven vice presidents "will each be assigned their own franchises to lead, with the authority to make their own independent decisions on future directions".
After the lacklustre response to the latest in the Ghost Recon series, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, Ubisoft announced in October 2019 that it was delaying three of its biggest upcoming games: Watch Dogs Legion, Gods & Monsters, and Rainbow Six Quarantine.
All three were pushed back to the company's next fiscal year, which kicks off in April 2020. This means all three could be out as early as this April, or as late as March 2021.
"While each of these games already has a strong identity and high potential, we want our teams to have more development time to ensure that their respective innovations are perfectly implemented so as to deliver optimal experiences for players," CEO Yves Guillemot said at the time.
"This decision will have a very significant impact on our financial results for this fiscal year and goes against our recent successes in building a more stable development model. However, it is in line with our strategy to maximise the future value of our brands for the long-term benefit of our employees, players and shareholders."
While we won't get to play Watch Dog Legion as soon as we'd hoped, there are still plenty of great titles coming our way! Here are the best new games 2020.