Ubisoft CEO: Horizon Zero Dawn & Zelda copied our open world mechanics

ubisoft open world formula

There’s no denying that open-world games are the big thing in most games these days. While it’s slowly becoming the norm, one of the purveyors of this is publisher Ubisoft — especially if you take a look at the company’s slate of games like Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs and more. However, Ubisoft has done it so often, and more often than not, so similar to each game franchise it has, that it has become a crutch that gamers now chide the publisher for.

In an interview in issue #311 of EDGE magazine (via WCCFTech), Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot talked about this open-world game design formula and how games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn have borrowed from their (Ubisoft’s) games. 

It’s interesting, because The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild took a lot of things that existed in Far Cry and other Ubisoft games, but did them perfectly. I think the most important thing is not the systems as they are, it’s how they can be perfected; how they can give the player the best experience possible.

The same system can be in two games, and not be seen as the same thing. The job, really, is to make sure that you have a certain number of possibilities and that you are able to combine them in such a way that provides a great experience. When systems are similar, it’s because developers have not been able to take full advantage of what those systems could bring.


When a system is really good at providing fun, the team knows that that will work – and at the end of the day what counts is the experience. But we are taking more and more time on our games so that they are very different from one another. That has always been the objective. But if you look at many of the games that are being launched – even the last Sony game, Horizon: Zero Dawn – again, they took some of the same systems that we have. Because, in the industry, we always look at other games and other publishers. A game is very complex, so it helps us to provide a good experience. – Yves Guillemot

Does Guillemot have a point or did Ubisoft themselves copy most of their game ideas from other games? Why are the same open-world mechanics found in Horizon and Zelda embraced by gamers, but the same thing is criticized in Assassin’s Creed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.