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NeverEnding Story: Ubisoft keen to move away from 'finite' experiences

"We build a strong nemesis, and the goal of the game is to kill him or free the country, we've done that a few times in our games. But when you succeed, you have to leave the game, because there is nothing else to do."

Ubisoft wants to keep players engaged for longer by shifting away from "finite" experiences, in favor of titles built around smaller, multi-layered narratives. 

In an interview posted on the studio blog, Ubisoft's vice president of creative Lionel Raynaud explained why the company's games will soon focus on serving up a platter of self-contained narratives that fit into larger arcs, rather than a one long, overarching story. 

According to Raynaud, the studio doesn't want players to feel their titles have nothing to offer beyond the main quest, and that means creating an experience that's rich and robust enough to pull them back after that core tale has been told. 

"What drove [that shift] is the will to not give finite experiences. The idea was that you have this conflict, and the resolution, and then it's finished -- you've killed the bad guy, for instance," he explained. 

"We build a strong nemesis, and the goal of the game is to kill him or free the country, we've done that a few times in our games. But when you succeed, you have to leave the game, because there is nothing else to do. 

"So the goal was to break this, and say that you will be the hero of a region or population many times, not just once. And if you get rid of a dictator or an oppressor, something else is going to happen in the world, and you will have a new goal."

As noted by VentureBeat, Ubisoft expressed a similar sentiment at this year's E3 conference, where it explained how players won't be able to "solve" the world of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (the next title in the franchise), and that their decisions will always lead to new conflicts and adventures. 

"This is why I talk about having several fantasies; not only being the hero who's going to free a region, but maybe also the fantasy of having an economic impact, of being the best at business in this freed country, or even having a say in how it should be governed, now that you've gotten rid of the dictator," continued Raynaud.

"And I think we can have several different experiences with different game systems in the same world, if the world is rich enough and the systems are robust enough."

It'll be interesting to see how the French studio puts the philosophy into practice, and whether it will in fact convince players to stick around for longer.

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