As part of a wide-ranging, in-depth, and thoroughly fascinating interview with Game Informer, which you should read right now, Ubisoft’s chief creative officer Serge Hascoet speaks frankly about what the video game industry lacks.
He says the video game industry is soulless. Video games should be about more than just entertainment; they should inspire you to learn, Hascoet says.
“You know what is missing in this industry? A soul,” he explains. “Video games are about gaming, and gaming is not about entertainment, it’s about learning. When you learn, you have fun. But when we are just entertainment we are losing something.”
Hascoet, who has been with Ubisoft for 30 years and oversees every game the publisher releases in some capacity, said he talks with his team about try to make sure Ubisoft’s games are developed to include elements that players can use in their real life.
“I question the team about what real benefits the player will take away from the game for their real life. Right now, we don’t do enough in this area,” he said. “This is what excites me, how to make something that lets you have the most fun while also having something beneficial for your life.”
Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise, which is one of the company’s biggest and best-selling series, introduced an education-themed mode in 2017’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins called Discovery Tour. In this mode, there is no combat, and you’re able to freely explore the world and learn about its history. Ubisoft worked with real historians on this. This year’s game, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, will also have a Discovery Tour mode after launch.
Also in the interview, Hascoet said he thinks the video game industry needs to move away from being so obsessed with killing. Hascoet said games have so much untapped potential to do new and exciting things.
“Some board games and card games have higher benefits than video games because when you play the board game you are analyzing people’s faces,” he said. “Do I want to cooperate? Do I want to believe in you when you are in character? This knowledge–gained while you are having fun–is very beneficial for your life because it will improve the way you read people’s faces. We have to understand how we can change games and the rules to have this kind of benefit.”
On the more positive side, Hascoet said he’s excited about numerous elements of video games today, including virtual reality, the emergence of China as a major market for Ubisoft, and free-to-play games like Fortnite. “We have new spaces everywhere. Our business is full of possibilities,” he said.