Some of the largest publishers out there have been put under the microscope for a lot of the things they do. Ubisoft is no exception to the rule. However, the company has tried to step forward to defend themselves as a publisher who takes more risks than their competitors.
In a very detailed article from MCVUK key members from Ubisoft's executive staff spoke to MCV about the company and their goals for the games that they make and the kind of content they create for PC, console and mobile gamers.
According to Ubisoft's EMEA executive, Alain Corre, they had a misstep with Assassin's Creed Unity but Corre states that after they fixed the game that “fans are very happy” with it.
Corre goes on to explain that...
We always try to make the most polished game possible, […] We respect our fans. Our company motto is quality and innovation. But we’re also creating very large, open-world games that are increasingly complex. It’s a lot of work. It’s worthwhile, but we are trying to push the limits and surprise people, and that comes with a set of risks.
Not everyone was keen on Assassin's Creed Unity at launch because the game was next to nigh unplayable for some people. The frame-rate would drop all the way down into the single digits in some segments, making it nearly impossible to get past some segments in the game. Over a handful of months of patching the game, and some free DLC, people are now okay with where Assassin's Creed Unity is, but they won't forget where it came from.
The biggest issue is that gamers felt that Ubisoft needed to delay the game to polish it. However, Ubisoft really wanted to hit those quarterly margins during the loaded holiday season and Assassin's Creed Unity and Far Cry 4 were the hot-button tokens to make it happen.
The big AAA titles is what Corre believes helps Ubisoft to experiment with new IP like Child of Light and the World War I adventure game Valiant Hearts. Corre states...
“In two years we’ve released four major new IP. We are taking more risks than our colleagues, and that’s because we believe that our market will grow, and that we’ll be able to convince more people to join the category. For Honor, for example, has melee combat and co-op. It’s a game that used to be popular, but there have been none in recent years, so we’re bringing it back.”
When was melee co-op ever a mainstream, popular market? Outside of Dynasty Warriors console games featuring melee co-op have always been beloved yet small niche markets. Outside of standard fantasy action-RPGs like Dark Souls or Dragon Age I can't really think of a melee focused medieval game.
Anyway, I'm really looking forward to For Honor. I think it's long overdue. This game kind of looks like a bigger, badder version of Bushido Blade and I'm all-in for that ride.
My only worry is Ubisoft potentially rushing the game to market like some of their other AAA titles or having to put them through serious downgrades. Far Cry games have been consistent but Assassin's Creed games have been hit and miss lately; Watch Dogs has potential but the first one was kind of “meh”, and Ghost Recon as a franchise could be relevant again with Wildlands.
I've come to regard Ubisoft as a company with great concepts with hit and miss QA. We'll see how well they do with Assassin's Creed Syndicate this fall and The Division, For Honor and Ghost Recon: Wildlands next year.