Ubisoft underscores the importance of user-generated content, but not really
Ubisoft Toronto Managing Director Jade Raymond believes more developers should focus on user-generated content as a means to expand communities and drive down development costs, according to a Gamasutra interview. Raymond didn't explicitly use the word "mod," but confusingly said "custom experience."
"To give you an overly simplified answer, I do think games and franchises need to include more user content," she says. "And by user content, I don't mean that all of a sudden, every game is going to have a level builder, because not everyone wants to sit down and build a level. That's too complicated.
"But by user content, you can think of how your game is affected by other people who are playing. In what ways can the user impact the experience? I think that's what's going to drive hits, but also at the extreme end, it's going to enable us to continue to create interesting content without always having such huge costs associated with it. To me, that's the key. What I think people want is their own custom experience, in anything."
On second thought, I think there's a specific word for what Raymond's talking about: it's called multiplayer. Linguistic tangle aside, Raymond is probably also referencing the design pattern of forging bridges between a single-player campaign and a multiplayer setting—a system we'll see in use in Ubisoft's Watch Dogs, where players can hack and spy on each other through cameras and other gadgets as part of the narrative.
That is interesting stuff on its own, but the message is also that we won't be seeing a new dawn of mod-supported Ubisoft titles—only a handful of the publisher's huge library has allowed extra add-ons, and the majority are older '00s releases such as Conquest: Frontier Wars and Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. More recent releases such as Far Cry 3 only allow slight file tweaks of existing assets, so it's likely Ubisoft is thinking along the lines of a more networked approach for its brand of "custom experiences."