Ubisoft is one of those companies that makes you want to fall head over heels in love and pull your hair out in despair all at the same. From the highs of its prominence with titles like Far Cry, Beyond Good & Evil, and Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft is a tough company to put your finger on.
A string of wrong decision making has made the once proud gaming developer into one of the most infamous, taking its place next to EA and Activision as one of the companies ignorant to the community and "shady" in its business practices. Being so head strong with their ideals, though at times fun and adventurous, has caused them to lose trust with gamers regardless of their preferred platform.
From milking its series with annualized releases to misleading many with trailers of games promising gold, Ubisoft has been suffering from a mid-life crisis for a while, which has many wondering just when will this company get it together and stop doing "only God knows what" for "only God knows why." Today, we take a look back and highlight these mishaps and missteps in an effort for Ubisoft to see the error in their ways, with the 15 biggest mistakes Ubisoft has ever made.
You know things are bad when the word "glitch" has become widely synonymous with your company logo.
Glitches have been the proverbial looming cloud that has hung over the Ubisoft banner since the tragedy that was the Assassin's Creed Unity debacle (note the floating eye still image above). It has since resulted in multiple memes, funny moments, and glitch compilations from many content creators on the net. It's also further pushed the common ideology among the gaming community that Ubisoft overlooks even the largest of details in their products (again, note the floating eye image above).
It's unfortunate, but as a result Ubisoft's credibility has since been in question, With every release moving forward feeling as if the company is constantly having to prove itself and win back trust. Whether they've been successful or not, you be the judge. Time will only tell if they can shake off the rust and get back to what got them to the dance.
Assassin's Creed started off as an unorthodox, yet intriguing title. The idea of being a renegade assassin, scaling buildings, sword battling multiple foes at once and fighting the cause of the resistance left many feeling excited. Couple that with the idea of going back in time and revisiting some of history’s most crucial moments put it in a league of its own. However, as I'm sure you know by now, too much of a good thing could lead to regret. Ubisoft has done this to a point where gamers have become numb, showing no real emotion to the launch of another AC title.
It's repetitive, it's bland and has to be one of the biggest issues Ubisoft steadily struggles with to date. Even after announcing that it would take a break from yearly resales of the series, it continued to do so. Albeit, it was on other platforms, but it still didn't paint a great picture.
The Division was a game that was expected to push the gaming culture into the future. A large scale RPG/MMO title that would see drama, action and an overarching story allowing for players all over he world to meet up and play together was both welcomed and eagerly anticipated.
However, Ubisoft, being the company that they are, presented us with more disappointment than getting surprised with socks for Christmas. They over-promised and under-delivered on just about everything from the scale of the map, underwhelming mission structure, and the highly anticipated, but rather vanilla flavored "dark zone." It seems to be a trend with Ubisoft to give less than expected and The Division is just a small slice of this bitter pie.
Going back into the past could prove to be a successful venture if done right with proper story and historical relevance. Case in point being the Assassin's Creed series. However, maybe cavemen, mammoths and arrows that hit their target less than Green Arrow in the jungle "high off the Hennessey" with nothing to lose was over doing it just a tad.
In a move that could have succeeded or fell flat, Far Cry Primal ended up being the latter, but could you blame it? The title was almost set up to fail as it had no way of competing with its rock star predecessors.
Minimal weapons, a large map with virtually no quick means of travel and a rather lackluster story severed the high momentum the series once had and left us scratching our heads.
Ubisoft has shown off some of the best gaming mechanics we have ever seen. The only problem is that, more often than not, those amazing mechanics are polished with either pre-rendered "in-game" cut scenes or voice actors playing out the roles of co-op players, most notability in titles like Rainbow Six Siege and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Though those games could be considered solid in their own right, it still speaks to the "sly" reputation the company has progressively been giving off.
Putting your best foot forward is one thing. I mean what company doesn’t want to show off the best portions of their product? However, to go about hiding a game's flaws behind glamourized showcases and tech demos just hurts it in the long run.
The one thing that seems to hold back some of Ubisoft's more successful multiplayer titles, like For Honor and Rainbow Six Siege, is Ubisoft’s issues with their servers. Crash after crash have plagued many gaming lobbies and, as a result, have turned away a lot of people from indulging any further.
There is nothing worse than waiting around for a lobby to populate for what seems like hours only to get into the game and have it undergo a "system error" unexpectedly, not even one minute into the skirmish.
It can be somewhat forgiven during the launch week of a title, but months in, with no real update in sight to resolve the problem, is a bad look!
For long term Ubisoft series fans, I'm sure many feel hat storylines in a great deal of Ubisoft titles just don't seem to really matter or have any purpose or closure in the long run. Every thing is left open ended to easily tie into the next entry in the series.
Desmond Miles from Assassin's Creed gave us one of the most long winded adventures in gaming history, only to close off with a rather dismal pay off. After journeying the world over with Altair, Ezio, and more, Desmond's closing moments fell flat. Leaving many with squinted eyes going "that's it?"
It's almost pointless to continue with the following entries as the story has ventured so far from its intended destination.
Ubisoft and the PC community haven't exactly seen eye to eye over the years. Honestly, some could say the company has a vendetta against the platform with a long history of badly produced ports. Examples like Assassin's Creed to For Honor show the gap in attention between console and PC.
Optimization of the increasingly popular platform has been a very allusive target point for Ubisoft over its time and it makes you wonder if it really matters to them? Is winning over a crowd that is against your prime clientele, console buyers, important to the success of your title? Considering how the PC community has grown and continues to grow, it just might be. Get it together Ubisoft.
Over-hyping has been an issue for many games for the last few years and arguably has led to the majority of their downfalls. Naturally, Ubisoft is also guilty of this, pouring a great deal of advertising dollars into marketing campaigns, showing off their best and most alluring promotional material. It gives the idea that funds were not placed in the right ecosystems. In terms of content, gameplay and storyline material, it seems these avenues may have been over looked to make room for an over-produced ad.
Sometimes, they end up misleading fans with a release that ends up never taking place. An example being Beyond Good & Evil 2, as they released a trailer in 2009, but unfortunately the game never got legs to stand on.
Everything that glitters is not gold and Ubisoft whispering sweet nothings while still under performing is a problem that needs to be fixed.
One huge draw back that caused a lot of issues surrounding the release of the highly anticipated Watch Dogs was the fact that the game didn't exactly looks like the game from the original announcement. In fact, it was downright unrecognizable.
It was later deduced that "Ubisoft was unaware of the complete mechanics of the Xbox One and PS4." Making a “guestimation” on what gamers could expect seems like a huge oversight that should have been red flagged in the boardroom, as it would eventually land them in hot water.
However, the buck doesn’t stop there, as a controversy surrounding deliberate downgrading of the PC version would also arise. Game modders unlocked game code revealing locked graphic up-scaling by default. It's a huge fail no matter how you look at it and was a big reason why Watch Dogs 2 wasn't given the time of day during its announcement.
Ever notice how most Ubisoft titles feel oddly familiar to one another? From gameplay mechanics, map design or storyline structure, it's almost like a great deal of the content being presented is copied and pasted to the next. Like map synchronization from the Assassin's Creed series being added to Fry Cry, for reasons we can't really figure out.
The hacking and stealth sequences that made Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell a household name was more or less cloned and rebooted in the form of Aiden Pearce from Watch Dogs (albeit on a larger scale).
Ubisoft seems to have run out of ideas and aren't sure how to make a new IP stand out from its predecessors. There are times when even plotlines seem identical, like revenge schemes or over throwing some sort of regime. Sadly, it's never as good as the first time. No matter how many times you try to put a new coat of paint on an old car, it's still an old car.
This is one of the more shameful entries on this list, as it exposes Ubisoft's bias against PC that we explored earlier.
During the release of Assassin's Creed III, Ubisoft implemented a DRM policy that would kick players from the game if they didn't have a constant stream of internet. According to the company, it was a way of "deterring pirates from hacking the content," but it seems to hurt the honest gamers more than the dishonest ones. If that didn't sound stiff enough, Ubisoft servers (also an issue mentioned above) crashing could have the same result, kicking the player out in the middle of their experience. Real smart.
Remember the good old days of the late 90s and 2000s? Where you bought a game, played that game and had everything in that game, from beginning to end? It may not have had the best graphics, and it likely had some faulty mechanics, but you could guarantee that after spending that hard earned cash, you would be getting the FULL package.
Ubisoft, like many other top gaming publishers, has broken that mold and designed ways to strip base games of their content tremendously in order to sell season passes, pre-order DLCs, and the like. It's gotten to the point where some games like Watch Dogs, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and For Honor feel like unfinished versions of a whole. It's a move that is increasingly putting a bad taste in the mouths of gamers the world over.
First impressions can make or break how others see you. This statement especially holds weight in the gaming industry, as one wrong move can land you on the "no fly list" within the community (sorry, No Man's Sky). Unfortunately, good ol' Ubisoft can't always avoid this fate.
During the gameplay reveal of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag at E3 2013, Ubisoft bit off more than they could chew as the night went up in smoke. With several game freezes, frame rate shutters and eventually an all-around crash, Ubisoft was left with egg on their face in front of millions. Though things did make a turn for the better as time went on, with AC IV being well received by many gamers, it's still a major mistake that Ubisoft would love for you to forget.
Ubisoft's CEO, Yves Guillemot, in his comments to The Guardian said that "they learned from our mistakes." However, many gamers would say otherwise as Ubisoft seems to make a lot of the same mistakes.
Ubisoft has had a history of being a rather stubborn game developer, despite reciting to many the world over that innovation, newness and open communication with the community are its top priorities. Yet, more often than not, these words have felt empty.
The train they are riding on has been set to full speed ahead and, even with a landslide of rubble and debris on the tracks, they have no intentions to change course. We can only hope that they eventually come around because they can only go so long with not listening to their customers.