At GDC 2022, Ubisoft unveiled a new production tool called Ubisoft Scalar. An initiative spearheaded by the Technology Department and by Ubisoft's Stockholm Studio, Scalar promises to allow game developers to create vastly bigger and better simulated worlds with a potentially infinite number of players. All of this will be possible thanks to cloud computing.
This is not to be confused with game streaming, which enables users to play existing games on less powerful machines. Ubisoft Scalar (which is not a game engine per se, but an option for existing game engines to be cloud-accelerated) is leveraging distributed computing to improve the quality of upcoming games and open up many new possibilities for developers as they won't have to worry about the limitations of finite hardware anymore. Of course, this will create a new set of challenges for creators as they face the question of what they want to do with all this power.
It's not the first time that we've heard of similar claims. Google Stadia also suggested a similar approach for cloud-only games, but then they closed their internal game studios, and they are now focused on licensing the Stadia technology.
Ubisoft Scalar likely won't suffer the same issue. The first game to take advantage of this new technology will be a new IP in the making at Ubisoft Stockholm, even though the nature itself of Scalar means it's also available to other Ubisoft studios such as Kyiv, Malmö, Helsinki, and Bucharest.
Patrick Bach, Managing Director of Ubisoft Stockholm, said players will have to wait a bit more to see the first game in development with this technology. That said, given the studio's foundation dating back to almost five years, it's fair to assume it won't be long before an unveiling.
Until then, stay tuned.
• Games using Ubisoft Scalar can use a virtually unlimited amount of computing power, and
thus run anything from virtual worlds of unprecedented scale and depth to vastly detailed
simulations that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
• By placing microservices independently in the cloud, Ubisoft Scalar enables developers to
update and improve one service without impacting others, or even add new features or
components to a game without interrupting play sessions.
• Ubisoft Scalar’s purpose is to remove technical constraints for game developers, enabling
them to focus on creativity and design for never-before-seen player experiences.