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Open worlds is the big challenge for next-gen, says Ubi exec

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Each console generation has offered up a definitive experiential leap forward, whether that be 3D games, online play or high-definition graphics. For Ubisoft, the focus this time around is very definitely on open worlds.

Nicholas Rioux, managing director of Ubisoft's Quebec City studio said that the company had focused "with almost all our games" on open words that "take you away from the corridor". He added, "When you listen to Sony and Microsoft at their press conferences, they talk about 'open worlds' again and again. This is what the new consoles are all about. It's what consumers want now. They want freedom to explore and find their own adventures. This is what we have been working in for the past three or four years."

Rioux said that franchises the The Crew, Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed and The Division were all being directed towards social, open environments. "It's a huge challenge for our designers," he said. "We have to think of those games as systems, with lots of possibilities and ways to engage." Rioux's studio worked on Assassin's Creed 3 DLC "The Tyranny of King Washington" and Might & Magic: Duel of Champions and is currently creating a new project "that we cannot talk about."

Ubisoft Quebec City is also working with other internal studios on tablet and second screen implementation for forthcoming next-gen games like, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, Watch Dogs and The Division. "Players are sitting down while their families are watching television, and they want to play their favorite games. We are learning how to do this in a way that is not about gimmicks, that's more than just tweaking strategies, that's authentic and brings the best experience to the gamer," he said.