Back in the day, Ubisoft was one of my favourite (if not the favourite) videogame developers. They created such amazing games for the players. To name a few: Prince of Persia games (Sands of Time Trilogy, 2008 reboot), Splinter Cell games, Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Far Cry 3.
All of them had excellent gameplay with gripping atmoshpere, stellar audio-visual design, great story. They were a joy to play and experience. They never felt repetitive or boring. They were fun, exciting, and also memorable.
Back in these days, the guys at Ubisoft tried to push the limits of videogames with every game they released. Experimenting with genres, creating unique and never before seen ideas, making excellent videogames that will stand the test of the time. They treated games as an art form primarily as opposed to caring strictly about the money and potential profits. Things changed.
Before you read any further, watch this, it fits to this writing very well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYvLWHohOlY
Ubisoft created Assassin's Creed, and slowly they realized the financial potential that this series has. They made AC a cashcow in a matter of years, caring about less and less about innovating, and more about making profit. That's how all it started.
Then slowly every game (old, well-known IPs and new IPs as well) started to follow AC's example. At least in gameplay -and structure-wise, ensuring that these games will make as much money as possible. So yeah, in short, they stopped the innovation process for the sake of safe/certain profit.
That reminds me of old Hollywood. In the 1970's and before studios gave way more freedom to the directors and screenwriters, because they trusted in the talented people's vision. That's why art-house movies and dramas were way more mainstream back in the day. The Godfather. Taxi-Driver. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Studios gave people a chance to create something unique, to create art, to create something timeless.
But what's the situation now? Generic shoddy blockbusters, CGI-fest craps, B-horrors, primitive comedies full of fart jokes. What's the common in them? A lot. Bad cinematography, no worthy character-development, or weak story to name a few. Movies made by the lowest common denominator kept in mind, to make as much money as possible.
Well, if you would say that Ubisoft in the old times did Taxi-Driver and Space Odyssey, and nowadays the devs only do Twilight and Transformers sequels, you wouldn't be too far from the truth.
So what's about the Assassin's Creed template? Or more precisely, what the AC template has become (because AC2 was a great game)? What you should now about the template that basically every game made by Ubisoft use?
Bland open-world. It has the size, but not the depth. It reminds me of an everyday's dumb guy, who tries to compensate his small penis with a big car. Laughable. They make their games bigger and bigger with each and every release, and at the same time they forgot about that it won't make the game better in any way.
Repetitive and boring side-activites. You know, glorified fetch-quests, CTRL+C and CTRL+V unimaginitive missions. Ubi fill their games every time with boring missions that no one really wants to play, but somehow the devs beleive that they made worthy and interesting content.
Uninteresting and worthless collectibles. A bunch of them. So many of them, that they require the 80% of the total gameplay time, if you want to collect them all. And you have to, because the games made by Ubi force you by an artifical way to do it in order to progress through the game. So it's basically artificially expended gameplay-time. Quantity over quality? It seems like. Well then, if I would make a game in which you would need to collect 1000 grain of sands, could I say I made a worthy and content-rich game? 'Cause the time you would need to complete this game is huge.
Weak characters, bad story. Just check all of the recent games. Assassin's Creed: Unity, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, Far Cry 4, Watch Dogs, Watch Dogs 2, The Division. All of them had an extremely bad and painful story – wait, The Divison didn't even have a story at all. Just turn back the clock a few years. What about Prince of Persia (2008)? Well, after completing more than 600 videogames, I have to say it was one of my best experiences I've ever had. A cathartic, gripping and touching story with lovable characters (and also wonderful atmoshpere and music). I'm so sad because it will never get a sequel. At least they could have made an animated movie to close the story.
Following the trends, Ubi makes some generic and uninteresting open-world games year by year. Of course, they try to create the illusion of creativity in the head of the consumers, but in reality, they never innovate (the only exception is Rainbow Six: Siege, I don't know, how this miracle happened), they always do the same shit over and over again.
Well, if I'm talking about that, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBDi0iM2kcU
I'm guessing Ubisoft is a little bit insane then.
I remember that one of the big guys from Ubi said 3 or 4 years ago that 90% of the AAA games in the next 2-3 years will be(come) open-world. I hoped he will be wrong, but… it turned out to be quite true.
The problem is very few developers can make open-world games with worthy content and interesting gameplay-loop. Few exceptions are: Rockstar Games, Bethesda (although Fallout 4 was a meh), From Software, Rocksteady, CD Projekt Red, and some indie developers. Ubi is NOT one of them.
The games made by Ubi generally lack the focus. They feel like a lot of random stuffs just thrown together. They feel like checklists, rather then proper and enjoyable games.
I'm sad. I'm sad because one of my one-time favourite developers gave up the creativity just for the sake of creating generic and bland shit aimed for the mass, to make as much money as possible. At least they didn't turn Splinter Cell into a generic "run around the big map and clean enemy bases and collect horseshit and grandma's marmalade (2/999) scattered accross the world" type of game. At least not yet…
And, here we are now. Ghost Recon: Wildlands. It's another game, but it's the same as the previous 10.
tl;dr: Ubi gave up the creativity and stopped creating art just for the sake of being able to make generic and unimaginative cash-cow games aimed for the mass based on given trends.