Ubisoft has not exactly had the best time getting along with its customers lately.
This is the first of many blog posts covering critical game industry issues. While you might not find much else on this blog yet that is gaming related or interesting for you, rest assured that we’re planning to always be on top of the latest news, events, and controversies from gaming and the rest of tech. To stay updated, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our newest update. Thank you for joining us for the start of what should be a very interesting journey.
First, it misrepresented Watch Dogs and its graphical detail as well as gameplay. Then, it walked back aspirations of targeting 1080p and 60 FPS for Assassin’s Creed Unity on consoles, with a statement about the game being 900P and 30 FPS on both consoles “to avoid all of the debates” starting an uproar. Now, a review embargo that ended at 12 PM on the day of launch meant that enthusiastic Assassin’s Creed Unity buyers had no warning about the quality of the product that they were purchasing.
The gist of the situation? Not very good. Across all platforms, the game suffers from inconsistent performance at the expense of enjoyment. The PC version, particularly, doesn’t even run on what is considered a reasonable PC gaming rig and requires the best hardware to even get a glimpse at the menu screens.
It’s easy to point blame at the entire concept of review embargoes because it allows publishers to abusively control the messaging around their games. However, there are also some positives that arise from the practice, as they enable simultaneous reviews that don’t unfairly encourage a single publication to put forward a rushed evaluation for the benefit of quick hits. An excellent piece by Ben Kuchera on the matter can be found here.
No, for now, this is squarely an Ubisoft problem. There is something rotten at the heart of the company which is pushing a suffocating development and launch schedule at the expense of fun and innovative games. Even if Unity didn’t suffer from performance issues, it would still highlight a sterile sameness that has gripped the publisher’s projects. Games that are “open” at all costs and recycle a formula of overwhelming distractions that add little to the experience.
You would think those walking the halls of power would stop and consider how these deceitful actions could impact future earnings. Ubisoft is not the only game in town, and perhaps it’ll need a Call of Duty Ghosts style disaster to start to change some of its processes. Consumers are also wising up to these bizarre practices, as seeing a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition reviewed a week early naturally instills more confidence in a product.
Assassin’s Creed games have had steady, increasing sales, from what we understand of Ubisoft’s reports. Stagnation, or better a decline, would force executives to actually evaluate what their customers dislike about their product. The core of Creed, the ability to romp through richly-detailed historical settings, is not at fault here. It’s all of the unnecessary posturing and overpromising that is souring the taste for more and more people every year (with the exception of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag.)
Perhaps Far Cry 4 steals the show and Unity is quickly patched to put this ordeal behind it, but Ubisoft has to start turning popular opinion around and put its development talent to better use.
What’s that? You just launched Assassins Creed Rogue without sending reviewers advance copies?
That’s really encouraging, guys…
This is the first of many blog posts covering critical game industry issues. While you might not find much else on this blog yet that is gaming related or interesting for you, rest assured that we’re planning to always be on top of the latest news, events, and controversies from gaming and the rest of tech. To stay updated, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our newest updates. Thank you for joining us for the start of what should be a very interesting journey.