PDA

View Full Version : Are historical games a genre, or owned by Ubisoft?



king-hailz
10-11-2015, 12:52 PM
AC is the only historical open world game out there, so if another company made a game set in Egypt or China that was a third person action adventure game would it be a rip off or would it be part of the genre.

Let's say there was a new game coming out set in the future where people go back in time to different historical settings. Do you think Ubisoft would be trying to sue, or would it be considered part of a genre. Im saying this because Ubisoft are making so many games in different eras that a third person action adventure game set in those periods would always be compared. And honestly the idea for AC kinda comes from Chrono Trigger with traveling back in time and all that.

So what do you think? Would it be a rip off, or part of the genre?

LieutenantRex
10-11-2015, 01:01 PM
Nah, they don't own them, but history is a risky field to go into, which is why many devs and publishers stay far away.

MT4K
10-11-2015, 01:30 PM
I wish more developers would try to tackle historical settings to give AC rivalry. Maybe it would then encourage Ubisoft to actually keep improving and trying to innovate instead of doing "more of the same" so to speak. Having competition tends to spur on creativity in order to one-up the other after all.

VestigialLlama4
10-11-2015, 02:11 PM
AC is the only historical open world game out there, so if another company made a game set in Egypt or China that was a third person action adventure game would it be a rip off or would it be part of the genre.

It depend on the kind of game they make. I mean if it was a Parkour/Climbing/open-world stealth set in historical times, it would be a rip-off.

As for historical settings in general. The fact is GTA initially held a monopoly for urban open-world games and Saints Row, and other games were seen as GTA clones. But today that's not really the case anymore. Saints Row has its own identity as does stuff like Sleeping Dogs and other open world titles like Watch_Dogs.

The fact is using historical settings and historical figures and events in games is something Ubisoft and AC have monopoly on - historical fiction open world games because they were the first to do it in an interesting way. But holding a monopoly is not the same as actually owning it. It simply means that most games are run on three or four ideas, so if you come up with a fifth, a sixth, a seventh idea that is different from the rest then you are entirely unique and special. You know as HG Wells said, "In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is King".

There have been other games which try to use history, Ken Levine's Bioshock Infinite, then GTA San Andreas was a story about early 90s Los Angeles and the LA Riots. You also have LA Noire.

Then Patrice Desilets with his 1666 was going to do a non-AC historical game before Ubisoft buried it, so maybe Ubisoft want to hold a monopoly and prevent others from getting a foot in.


I wish more developers would try to tackle historical settings to give AC rivalry. Maybe it would then encourage Ubisoft to actually keep improving and trying to innovate instead of doing "more of the same" so to speak. Having competition tends to spur on creativity in order to one-up the other after all.


Nah, they don't own them, but history is a risky field to go into, which is why many devs and publishers stay far away.

The problems with doing a historical series is you have to find out what kind of game you want to make. If it's strategy or a period war game, then Ubisoft is not getting any competition because that's entirely different from AC which is stealth/action/open-world.

The other problems with a historical game is simply time and space. In any action/open world or other RPG game, you kind of want to give gamers a sense of time, place and setting but the thing about history is things eventually do change, cities rise and fall, the centre of gravity and golden age moves around. You also can't have a great deal of that choice mechanic which you can get away with in a fantasy or contemporary set game.

Weirdly there are a bunch of standard settings that games have referred to in the past and AC has done all of it:
1) The Crusades -- Knights, Medieval battles and so on.
2) Renaissance -- Your Thief style medieval urban fantasy style game is the AC games.
3) Pirate Era -- The greatest pirate game ever, Black Flag.
4) Period Warfare -- Muskets, flintlocks, suspense from reload times etcetera, all that was done in the 1700s set games.
5) Tyranny of King Washington - Alternate Universe History.
6) Victorian England -- Well that's actually an overexposed period but Syndicate is going there.

So coming after AC, I think developers should think in terms of ambition, what kind of new gameplay and so on. In terms of new IPs, after AC you can do:
1) Robin Hood - Part folklore/part history, it will be set in the forests with bow and arrow, you can have stealth, open world Sherwood Forests and London, medieval combat. You can maybe even do it like a series, "outlaws of English history" - right from Hereward the Wake to Robin Hood to Wat Tyler to Guy Fawkes to Jonathan Wild all the way to the Kray Twins.

2) Art Mystery - You can make a heist themed game set around stealing and forging famous masterpieces of European history. It will be puzzle themed games for the Da Vinci code crowd, and you can explore various paintings, missing paintings, lost paintings and so on.

3) Actors Across The Ages - How has theatre changed from Ancient Greece to the Present Day. Open world game where you have actors in Greece, England, France where actors spy on the crowd open world style, learn gestures, voice modulations, have stories on the side (since historically actors have served as spies and associated with criminals and prostitutes...totally diferent from today) and tour various cities and places for their performances. And since this is history you can have lost plays, fragments and originals, so you can even say "complete the ending, make your own story" and so on. You have freedom and you can give gamers agency.

4) I am pretty sure Ubisoft is doing a Next Gen open world naval IP as we speak but you know you can go further and build on it too.

The fact is there's a lot you can do in a history subject.

MT4K
10-11-2015, 03:39 PM
Thanks for the good post llama.

I guess i failed on my post about competition for ac. As much as i would like for ac to have some for the reason i stated. It's true that it would also have to be pretty similar to actually be a rival other than just the setting. I admit i wasn't really considering other game genres when i made the post embarrassingly and was only thinking in terms of AC's open would adventure style. :o There are a few and some pretty much close to that idea such as thief, or dishonored. which originally was supposed to be victorian london i believe until it was changed but kept lots of the influence (awesome game btw :p)

Also i wouldn't mind too much a robin hood kind of spin off game :p. Could be interesting if done properly anyway, but then you could say that for anything.

VestigialLlama4
10-11-2015, 03:48 PM
Thanks for the good post llama.

I guess i failed on my post about competition for ac. As much as i would like for ac to have some for the reason i stated. It's true that it would also have to be pretty similar to actually be a rival other than just the setting. I admit i wasn't really considering other game genres when i made the post embarrassingly and was only thinking in terms of AC's open would adventure style. :o There are a few and some pretty much close to that idea such as thief, or dishonored. which originally was supposed to be victorian london i believe until it was changed but kept lots of the influence (awesome game btw :p)

Also i wouldn't mind too much a robin hood kind of spin off game :p. Could be interesting if done properly anyway, but then you could say that for anything.

I love Dishonored too, and you can certainly see its influence on UNITY's attempts at a more open approach to assassination missions. It's a fantasy but it certainly evokes Victorian England strongly especially the environments and period detail so Syndicate is clearly influenced by it too. Besides Dishonored's Blink inspired the Eagle Flight in AC3's TOKW and that Eagle Flight inspired the Rope Launcher in Syndicate (made by the same team who really don't like climbing buildings too much I think).

In terms of stealth and adventure games, you have Uncharted, you have Dishonored and your Metal Gear Solids In terms of open world, you have your Witchers, your RDRs but the historical element, the integration of it with a sense of the past is what really gives AC that special identity. When you play Black Flag or AC3, there's a strong sense that this isn't a generic open world environment but really the Caribbean and New England in that time and place. So that itself is hard to compete with for other developers I think.

Locopells
10-11-2015, 04:15 PM
1) Robin Hood - Part folklore/part history, it will be set in the forests with bow and arrow, you can have stealth, open world Sherwood Forests and London, medieval combat. You can maybe even do it like a series, "outlaws of English history" - right from Hereward the Wake to Robin Hood to Wat Tyler to Guy Fawkes to Jonathan Wild all the way to the Kray Twins.

You ever played a game from 2002, called Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood? Would kill for a AC style take on that. Wouldn't work as an AC game (exact same period as ACI, before the Assassin's spread out), but it's got the format...

pacmanate
10-11-2015, 04:19 PM
I think the reason why no one else tries is because AC is a huge franchise. Anything else needs to live up to a lot.

Farlander1991
10-11-2015, 04:22 PM
You ever played a game from 2002, called Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood? Would kill for a AC style take on that. Wouldn't work as an AC game (exact same period as ACI, before the Assassin's spread out), but it's got the format...

That game is awesome. I love it more than Commandos (which was Robin Hood's inspiration for mechanics... well that and Desperados from the same company who made Robin Hood, I guess).

And the art is so freaking gorgeous, even now.
http://www.lgdb.org/sites/default/files/node_images/1330/5327.jpg

Regarding the OP, it's a genre. This kind of thing is not something you can sue for, otherwise World War II first person shooter developers would sue the **** out of each other long ago (as an example, this applies to pretty much everything). What is trademarked and copyrighter are the representations/interpretations of the ideas. So if we have a historical open world game with two secret organizations and a modern day component through which you view the past and the machine acts like a game console of sorts to explain the game mechanics and it's a 3rd person action adventure game with parkour, stealth and combat.... then that's more of a ground for lawsuit.

Locopells
10-11-2015, 04:28 PM
That game is awesome. I love it more than Commandos (which was Robin Hood's inspiration for mechanics... well that and Desperados from the same company who made Robin Hood, I guess).

And the art is so freaking gorgeous, even now.

I know, right?! Hmm, I'm gonna poll this, see who else would be up for it.

VestigialLlama4
10-11-2015, 04:43 PM
You ever played a game from 2002, called Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood? Would kill for a AC style take on that. Wouldn't work as an AC game (exact same period as ACI, before the Assassin's spread out), but it's got the format...

I haven't played that but it does look nice from what I can see on YouTube.

I am amazed why no one has done a Robin Hood open world game yet, especially since medievalism is all the rage these days with Game of Thrones and all. Of course the problem with doing Robin Hood is you would compete with Dark Souls and I guess Witcher 3, in terms of that medievalist landscape you are putting across.

I would think that after Red Dead Redemption, the floodgates would open for open world outlaw games or that others would think and go, yeah I can do a western too. But it didn't exactly create any craze. Black Flag was the pirate game we've wanted all our lives and yet that hasn't created a buzz either.

Assassin_M
10-11-2015, 04:49 PM
I know, right?! Hmm, I'm gonna poll this, see who else would be up for it.
*raises hand*

king-hailz
10-11-2015, 05:53 PM
Regarding the OP, it's a genre. This kind of thing is not something you can sue for, otherwise World War II first person shooter developers would sue the **** out of each other long ago (as an example, this applies to pretty much everything). What is trademarked and copyrighter are the representations/interpretations of the ideas. So if we have a historical open world game with two secret organizations and a modern day component through which you view the past and the machine acts like a game console of sorts to explain the game mechanics and it's a 3rd person action adventure game with parkour, stealth and combat.... then that's more of a ground for lawsuit.

What if it was a game that was set in the future and then people go back in time to stop an organization that have been trying to achieve something evil for thousands of years, and its a 3rd person action adventure game that's open world, but lets say it also has a fully fledged ranged combat component and a normal combat. But it doesn't have any first person, or assassin like organizations and has no parkour, would this be 'sue worthy'. Because to me Assassin's Creeds 'monopoly' as VestigialLlama4 said above, is only the fact that its uses historical settings, events and figures in its story because the action/adventure/stealth game has been done many times, with uncharted, batman, last of us and many more. So if you did a historical game with these features it shouldn't really be a rip off, right?

JamesFaith007
10-11-2015, 06:02 PM
It would be videogame subgendre but people would probably create some nickname for it based on AC name, something similar to my language term "diablovka" for all isometric action RPG with one protagonist.

And there would be another open world historical game relatively soon - Kingdom Come: Deliverance. World would be much smaller and without huge cities but creators are quite focusing on realistic depiction of medieval era.

VestigialLlama4
10-11-2015, 06:05 PM
What if it was a game that was set in the future and then people go back in time to stop an organization that have been trying to achieve something evil for thousands of years, and its a 3rd person action adventure game that's open world, but lets say it also has a fully fledged ranged combat component and a normal combat. But it doesn't have any first person, or assassin like organizations and has no parkour, would this be 'sue worthy'. Because to me Assassin's Creeds 'monopoly' as VestigialLlama4 said above, is only the fact that its uses historical settings, events and figures in its story because the action/adventure/stealth game has been done many times, with uncharted, batman, last of us and many more. So if you did a historical game with these features it shouldn't really be a rip off, right?

These things are best consulted with a lawyer because what exactly is sue worthy or not should be handled by professionals.

I will say that Time Travel is explicitly not AC, you are reliving the past but you don't go back and change time.
As for evil nebulous organization, that's actually a convention across games. You have Umbrella Corporation, Trinity in Tomb Raider games, Deux Ex and many others.

But yeah, a game with a history theme and action adventure theme isn't stepping on AC's toes any more than ICO/Shadow of the Colossus is stepping on Zelda's.

king-hailz
10-11-2015, 06:27 PM
These things are best consulted with a lawyer because what exactly is sue worthy or not should be handled by professionals.

I will say that Time Travel is explicitly not AC, you are reliving the past but you don't go back and change time.
As for evil nebulous organization, that's actually a convention across games. You have Umbrella Corporation, Trinity in Tomb Raider games, Deux Ex and many others.

But yeah, a game with a history theme and action adventure theme isn't stepping on AC's toes any more than ICO/Shadow of the Colossus is stepping on Zelda's.

Yeah that basically exactly it, I mean AC is kind of a perfect mix of themes from games that have come before, but it's kind of created it own genre in a way.

Jessigirl2013
10-11-2015, 07:14 PM
I dunno.
I play AC for AC. :rolleyes:

The fact that its in a historical setting just makes it more interesting IMO.:rolleyes:

HDinHB
10-11-2015, 07:28 PM
I would say historical games are a genre and that Ubisoft is currently owning that genre, but the don't own it in a legal sense. (Remember the guy that wrote the ebooks that sued Ubi for copyright violation?) There are some individual games that challenge Ubi (there may be a Red Dead sequel announced at E3), but nothing like the juggernaut that is the AC series.

VestigialLlama4
10-12-2015, 02:59 AM
Yeah that basically exactly it, I mean AC is kind of a perfect mix of themes from games that have come before, but it's kind of created it own genre in a way.


I would say historical games are a genre and that Ubisoft is currently owning that genre, but the don't own it in a legal sense. (Remember the guy that wrote the ebooks that sued Ubi for copyright violation?) There are some individual games that challenge Ubi (there may be a Red Dead sequel announced at E3), but nothing like the juggernaut that is the AC series.

Rockstar owned (i.e held monopoly) the GTA criminal-open-world-simulator genre for a long time but not anymore, likewise Nintendo had Zelda for the action adventure/fantasy genre but since then you have Ico/Shadow of the Colossus and now Dark Souls, which have the similar gimmicks of dungeon, puzzle, boss fights and combat but taken further.

So I am sure that AC's days at the top will fade if something else comes along to challenge it in its own backyard. It can be any kind of game. If someone does that historically accurate ninja game they keep pestering ubisoft about, that would count as strike 1. Or if you adapt say other IPs, like you know there are some excellent historical fiction (which Ubisoft draws inspiration from) that can work in games - Sharpe, Flashman, Master and Commander books - if you could get rights for that you would be able to essentially do what AC does. Or say get the rights to Dan Brown's books, maybe that can work.

booty_fiend
10-12-2015, 05:37 AM
it's a genre.

ubi doesn't own the genre or anything, it's just like a historical games monopoly.

HDinHB
10-14-2015, 01:50 AM
I'm not familiar with Flashman, but I've long said the Sharp, Master & Commander, or Hornblower series would lend themselves to a skilled video game adaptation,

Ubi could make this game just reusing assets:
http://www.intheheartoftheseamovie.com/

Ichrukia56
10-14-2015, 10:37 AM
I feel that the only game at the moment that could rival AC in terms of the Historical aspects is For Honor (which is also been made by Ubisoft), it does seem that Ubisoft own a very large slice of the Historical pie when it comes to Historical action adventure games :)

cawatrooper9
10-14-2015, 02:26 PM
AC is the only historical open world game out there...


Well, the only popular AAA title at the moment, at least.
Also, depends on what you mean by "open world". The Mount and Blade games could be considered open world (they're certainly sandbox, at least) and they're heavily inspired by history. The expansion Fire and Sword actually focuses on the Khmelnytsky Uprising in eastern Europe in the 1600s.

ze_topazio
10-14-2015, 02:39 PM
It's not even a genre, it's a theme, of course they don't own the exclusive rights to make games based on real world history.

poptartz20
10-14-2015, 04:33 PM
This Genre I hope other tap into a little bit more especially the historical/fantasy and lore. Somewhat like the order 1886 did a bit but with better gameplay mechanics. The robin hood theme would be fantastic!

LoyalACFan
10-14-2015, 05:18 PM
So, kinda related to this topic, but I think part of the reason that Ubisoft has such a monopoly on the historical adventure genre is because most developers who want to go for a historical aesthetic tend to go the fantasy route. I mean, a large part of genre gaming is wish fulfillment (i.e. letting the players feel like they're playing as a samurai, pirate, knight, or whatever) and much of history has been romanticized and embellished to the point where people's perceptions of the period are totally off-base from reality. So developers have the option to either make a game that accurately represents a historical era, or accurately delivers on the popular fantasy of it. If you're interested in teh moneyz, the latter route is the way to go.

(Obviously AC has fantasy elements as well, but it purports to be "real history" versus something like Ninja Gaiden, Bloodborne, 1886, Dishonored, Bioshock, etc. that just use a certain visual aesthetic in a total fantasy environment)


I would think that after Red Dead Redemption, the floodgates would open for open world outlaw games or that others would think and go, yeah I can do a western too. But it didn't exactly create any craze. Black Flag was the pirate game we've wanted all our lives and yet that hasn't created a buzz either.

I think devs are scared sh*tless of encroaching on Red Dead territory tbh. Typically, gaming crazes get started by smaller novelty projects that developers see and think "hey, we could do this better, or take this cool mechanic and put it to better use." Nobody really looked at Red Dead and found anything significant enough to blow half a billion dollars and half a decade of dev time on to improve upon. Open world games are so notoriously expensive and complicated that there are practically never standalone open-world games, they're always franchises, and it would be a risky move to bank on making a franchise to directly compete with the Red Dead series unless you can distinguish yourself from it in a significant way (and RDR was just such a damn good Western game that it would be very hard to do so).

And as for Black Flag, well, I think it's too early to tell if it kickstarted a wave (heh) of pirate games tbh, I mean it just came out under two years ago. Ubi's definitely got another naval game in the works, as you say, so we'll see.

VestigialLlama4
10-14-2015, 06:01 PM
So, kinda related to this topic, but I think part of the reason that Ubisoft has such a monopoly on the historical adventure genre is because most developers who want to go for a historical aesthetic tend to go the fantasy route. I mean, a large part of genre gaming is wish fulfillment (i.e. letting the players feel like they're playing as a samurai, pirate, knight, or whatever) and much of history has been romanticized and embellished to the point where people's perceptions of the period are totally off-base from reality. So developers have the option to either make a game that accurately represents a historical era, or accurately delivers on the popular fantasy of it. If you're interested in teh moneyz, the latter route is the way to go.

Exactly, most games had a limited set of ideas and Ubisoft and AC came in with one new idea and concept and as in the Kingdom of the Blind, the one-eyed man is King.


I think devs are scared sh*tless of encroaching on Red Dead territory tbh. Typically, gaming crazes get started by smaller novelty projects that developers see and think "hey, we could do this better, or take this cool mechanic and put it to better use." Nobody really looked at Red Dead and found anything significant enough to blow half a billion dollars and half a decade of dev time on to improve upon. Open world games are so notoriously expensive and complicated that there are practically never standalone open-world games, they're always franchises, and it would be a risky move to bank on making a franchise to directly compete with the Red Dead series unless you can distinguish yourself from it in a significant way (and RDR was just such a damn good Western game that it would be very hard to do so).

And as for Black Flag, well, I think it's too early to tell if it kickstarted a wave (heh) of pirate games tbh, I mean it just came out under two years ago. Ubi's definitely got another naval game in the works, as you say, so we'll see.

What you say is right and it makes sense.

I-Like-Pie45
10-14-2015, 06:09 PM
if rdr was such a good western where was all the scalping

ze_topazio
10-14-2015, 06:14 PM
if rdr was such a good western where was all the scalping

You're just salty with the lack of Pandas.