Ubisoft are pretty good at making open world games. Since the 2007 release of Assassin’s Creed, their Canadian subsidiary Ubisoft Montreal have built up a substantial portfolio of open world titles; primarily the Assassin’s Creed series, but also Far Cry after they took over development of the franchise from Crytek, and more recently Watch Dogs. With a couple of exceptions, the games have been critically acclaimed and perhaps more significantly, have all been commercial successes.
However, they have hit stumbling blocks with some of their most recent titles. As I’ve said before, 2009’s Assassin’s Creed II remains to this day the perfect example of a sequel. It was such a huge leap forward from the original that it almost made its predecessor seem like a tech demo. It had a charismatic protagonist coupled with a well-rounded narrative and a fantastic setting, but most importantly, it introduced many new gameplay mechanics which meant it never got repetitive like the original. It was simply a very fun game from start to finish. Since then however, the series has somewhat stagnated. Its sequel Brotherhood had very similar gameplay with a couple of small additions here and there (the ability to call in other Assassins being the most significant). However, the similar setting and same protagonist meant it didn’t really feel that different to ACII. At the time this was no bad thing as ACII itself was such a great game, but looking back it was the start of a downward trend in terms of innovation. You couldn’t help feeling it was more of a giant expansion than a fully-fledged standalone game. After the improvement from the original to ACII, Brotherhood and its sequel Revelations to an even greater extent just felt like more of the same