A few years ago, an Ubisoft executive said that the company wasn’t interested in a game if they couldn’t build a franchise out of it. It certainly looks that way from this year’s press conference where even Ubisoft’s experimental titles are getting the franchise treatments. Grow Home gets a sequel. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Trials get a cross-over game. The only Ubi game not getting a sequel is Beyond Good & Evil. But there was one new IP unveiled. It’s an extreme sports game so it might not be for everyone.
Poor Ubisoft. They started off the 2000s so well but have been finding themselves the butt of more jokes than the likes of EA or Microsoft. It takes a long series of disappointments to get people to roll their eyes at any announcement that you make but that’s the point we’re at with Ubisoft. However, they’re cycling Assassin’s Creed out of rotation and hoping they can reinvigorate their brands.
When you’re a PC gamer, you’re used to terrible ports. I’m on AMD hardware so I get it worse than most. Considering that it’s easier to optimize the game for consoles and, anecdotally, there are more people whose primary gaming platform is a console, it makes sense to prioritize them when launching a game. Not everyone is Rockstar who spent two years perfecting their GTA V PC port.
It’s seldom that companies are up front with information that might make gamers concerned about a PC version of a game so no wonder why Ubisoft sprang into action to backtrack. A developer on Tom Clancy’s The Division told YouTube’s Team Epiphany that Ubisoft Massive had to “keep [The Division] in check with consoles.” Ubisoft quickly fired back with a statement saying “this is simply not true.”
I’d give up writing about Ubisoft but their constant corporate about-faces about graphics and framerates and the console wars is just an absolute gold mine of laughs and punditry and page views. After three different explanations for the framerate and resolution of Assassin’s Creed Unity being 900p and 30 FPS from Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Massive is singing a completely different tune when it comes to Tom Clancy’s The Division.
When the retail version of Watch Dogs was released in May, many people accused Ubisoft of downgrading the visuals from the E3 2012 reveal trailer for two reasons. Some said that Ubisoft basically lied about the capability of next-gen consoles with their original gameplay video. The second accusation was that Ubisoft downgraded the PC versions visuals to keep the visuals in line with that of those next-gen consoles.
Last but certainly not least on our roundup of Monday’s E3 press events is Ubisoft. While Ubisoft isn’t the biggest publisher on the block, to their credit, they are very willing to take risks with new IPs and new gameplay ideas. It may hurt them in the grand scheme of sales but it does earn them a lot of credit.