If you see a white whale in Assassin’s Creed IV, you can thank your friends

, | Games


Ubisoft loves open world connected gaming and thinks you should too. Polygon spoke to multiple people at Ubisoft and confirmed that the strategic direction of the company’s Paris-based editorial department favors open world games with a heavy online social or connected experience. Julian Gerighty, creative director of the upcoming racing game, The Crew, used to be part of Ubisoft’s editorial department and thinks that open world online experiences are the future of the industry.

“When the 360 and PS3 came out, I still had a cathode ray tube TV at home,” he said. “I upgraded to an HD TV for that generation. This generation for me is always going to be about this seamless online and what better way to make that live than open world games.

“It’s one of those things where the online aspect, the seamless aspect, the living, breathing world aspect, that is provided by the online adds so much to the experience that it’s a shame to be able to say, ‘OK, you can play the game, but you can’t have that part of it.’ It’s a really key part of it, much like World of Warcraft. I genuinely think the open world game without the seamless aspect to it is going to feel a little artificial, a little forced in a few years time. Today it can still work.”

One of the examples given of this connected interaction is Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The pirate-themed game features whaling as one of the activities the player can experience. Sighting a white whale in the game is a very rare event that can be made less rare via your friends online. When a friend spots a white whale, that information is relayed to you so you can go to that map location and hunt the whale in your game.

“These are very rare and unique experiences,” he said. “If you’re playing on your own there’s a chance you may find them, but it’s very tiny. The more friends you have, the more likely you’ll see these experiences.”

Thanks for spotting Moby Dick! Whaling is a lot easier with a network of friends trawling the virtual waters of the online seas!