News has just been published regarding the development of Ubisoft’s highly anticipated upcoming new IP – Tom Clancy’s The Division.
The open world game which combines four-player third-person shooting action with RPG elements is supposedly being developed by four different Ubisoft studios as Ubisoft Annecy – the team behind Assassins’s Creed’s multiplayer modes – is the latest branch to be brought on board with the project to help out with the online aspect, the others being Massive Entertainment, Red Storm and Ubisoft Reflections.
Whilst Annecy’s studio manager, Rebecka Coutaz, ensures us that “the collaboration with the other studios is going very smoothly, and we’re working together to ensure we meet and exceed the high expectations players have for this new title”, I am personally not convinced.
Don’t get me wrong, I can see the benefits of having multiple studios working on one title. It means that there will be more people pumping resources and experience into the game, but this kind of development also has its downsides.
Having so many studios separated so far apart working on one project can alienate the developers and make them lose focus of what the core goals and objectives are. Doing all this work under one roof, despite likely being more strenuous on a smaller number of employees, helps to maintain that focus. I might point you in the direction of the mess that was Assassin’s Creed Unity – a game built by a plethora of Ubisoft’s studios – for further proof that this concept rarely works.
Let’s also cast an eye over what this move might imply. If Ubisoft requires so many of its assets on one project, will others be put on hold? Is The Division set to flop much like other Ubisoft games in recent memory, lest maximum resources be applied to work on it?
I don’t want to be worried about The Division. The gameplay trailers have got me interested and frankly, it looks fantastic, not to mention the fact that we’re all sick of being concerned about games prior to their release anyway. I hope Ubisoft proves me wrong and shows us that it is possible to master a project of this size and scale, but until then, my confidence in the title – or lack thereof – will be mild.