Assassin’s Creed publisher Ubisoft has a streak of bad luck

Assassin’s Creed publisher Ubisoft has a streak of bad luck

A Na'vi in ​​Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is pushing for a new release date.

Picture: Ubisoft

Another big Ubisoft game has been delayed. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will not arrive in time for the release of James Cameron’s feature film Avatar: The Way of the Water December and will now launch after March 2023 at the earliest. CEO Yves Guillemot also told staff on Thursday that some projects have been canceled and that the publisher will have to cut spending to just “the essentials” as it looks for its next blockbuster.

“We have also decided to stop the development of certain games so that these talents can focus on other projects of higher priority,” Guillemot wrote in a company-wide email seen by Kotaku. It continued:

In the current economic context, it is more important than ever to manage our investments carefully and strategically. We must therefore succeed in severely limiting our consumption to what is essential by questioning some of our habits and reflexes, and by reinventing ourselves together to achieve gains in terms of cost, agility and efficiency.

Guillemot reiterated that despite these issues, the company is still targeting over $400 million in operating profit this year.

Plus AvatarUbisoft announced today during its earnings report for the first quarter that another “minor unannounced premium game” originally planned for this financial year was also delayed. It is possible this was a reference to Project Rift, a Assassin’s Creed Valhalla DLC became standalone games. Bloomberg reported that the game was intended to fill gaps in Ubisoft’s upcoming release calendar, although two sources familiar with Ubisoft’s plans recently told Kotaku that the game faced new challenges despite the rush to complete it.

As for which projects have been cancelled, Guillemot confirmed during today’s announcement that at least two of them were Splinter Cell VR and Ghost Recon Frontline. The latter was a Battle Royale-influenced multiplayer shooter that was panned after its announcement last year and went back to the drawing board earlier in 2022 after playtests accused it of feeling too much like a Call of Duty: Warzone fraud.

For the rest of 2021, Ubisoft has set its hopes on a new one Mario + Rabbids strategy game and its perennial developmental headache Skull and bones. But even though the latter has cost as much as any big blockbuster game, people who have worked on it remain skeptical that it will be anywhere near where the company needs to be. According to a developer, there is little to the pirate ship game beyond what was already shown when it reappeared in an exhibition livestream earlier this month. Despite a plethora of resource-gathering sim mechanics, they said that every single part of the game lacked depth.

In today’s conversation, Guillemot blamed it Avatarits delay on wider covid-related production challenges, and a desire to make the game a strong start to a new series for the publisher. Kotaku understands that at least one manufacturer recently pulled out of another major project to participate in. Guillemot also tried to quell investor skepticism by cryptically pointing to a new “high-value licensing partnership on mobile for one of our AAA brands,” though he would not did not share more details when pressed by analysts.

Assassin’s Creed has remained one of the few big bright spots for the company, and Kotaku understand it in addition to the live service project Assassin’s Creed InfinityUbisoft is still planning a new open world Assassin’s Creed game called Project Red (Update: 2:10 PM ET, 07/21/22: BloombergJason Schreier reports Red is actually part of eternity, instead of a separate game). According to two sources familiar with the development, it will be set in Asia. VentureBeatis Jeff Grubb previously reported that the game may be set in Japan, and while Kotaku can’t yet confirm it, sources said the setting, in addition to being long-requested by fans, has long been discussed internally.

In the meantime, several employees tell Kotaku various Ubisoft studios are facing fewer and fewer employee raises, fewer hires, and various budget freezes. This new wave of austerity comes as many big tech companies brace for a potential recession. However, Ubisoft’s problems go beyond that, with beleaguered ambitious projects such as Beyond Good and Evil 2the sequel to a beloved cult-classic action RPG, still completely MIA and senior developers on some core franchises.

Ubisoft’s next Forward game showcase will air on September 10. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

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