During DICE today, Ubisoft took the stage to reveal how they build massive game worlds that feel full of life.
The panel, titled “Creative Maturity Through Life Experiences – How to Build Engaging Open Worlds.”, was headed up by Ubisoft VP of Editorial Tommy Francois. He described the numerous processes Ubisoft took to make their open world games.
“When you create a world, I think it’s actually a trap to only read books,” he said, noting “the most important thing” in the “fight for player immersion” is first-hand experience. “It needs to start with our own immersion,” Francois added. “How do we do this? We go smell the grass. We have to get out from behind our computers.”
For example, when Far Cry 4 was made, they literally went to Tibet to observe the landscape and see what the terrain looked and felt like. Likewise, for The Division, they explored Manhattan both above and below ground, learning some fascinating things in the process.
Finally, for their upcoming Ghost Recon: Wildlands title, they actually went to Bolivia, where the game takes place, and trained with an elite Bolivian army unit to learn as much as they could so they could translate it into the game.