Ubisoft has delayed Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Gods & Monsters until its fiscal year 2020-2021, the publisher announced in an investors report this morning.
All three games were announced back at this years E3, and all three were slated for release before this fiscal year was over, with Gods & Monsters expected for a February release and Watch Dogs: Legion expected for a March release. Citing the reasons for the delay, Ubisoft pointed to a “sharp downward revision in the revenues expected from Ghost Recon Breakpoint and, to a lesser extent, The Division 2”, both of which have clearly under-performed.
Ubisoft are clearly more disappointed in the performance of Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, which has suffered from a largely poor critical reception since it launched at the beginning of October. Speaking on the games below-expected performance, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said:
“For Ghost Recon Breakpoint, while the game’s quality appeared on track – based on E3, Gamescom, previews and our latest internal playtests –, critical reception and sales during the game’s first weeks were very disappointing. As we have done with past titles, we will continue to support the game and listen to the community in order to deliver the necessary improvements.”
Elaborating on the reasons behind Breakpoint’s poor performance, he continued:
“Our strategy of introducing gameplay innovations in our games has had a very positive impact on our brands. However, to win over players, these innovations need to be perfectly implemented in order to offer an optimal experience. This has not yet been sufficiently the case with Ghost Recon Breakpoint. While the change of formula has been very well received by some players, with an average daily playtime per player of over three hours, it also has been strongly rejected by a significant portion of the community. Finally, Ghost Recon Breakpoint did not come in with enough differentiation factors, which prevented the game’s intrinsic qualities from standing out.”
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint has been widely criticized for simply borrowing different aspects from various Ubisoft games and throwing them all together into one re-skinned package (which is an accusation that could be thrown at a number of Ubisoft games in recent years to be fair), and for its microtransactions which give players the option of buying a large number of items from the in-game store with real-world money. The games under-performance is likely down to players rebelling against lazy development practices and greed, which serves them right, to be frank.
As for The Division 2, Guillemot said:
“It is harder to generate interest for a sequel to a Live multiplayer game, when prior iterations benefited from years of optimization. Consequently, we need to make sure there is more time between each iteration of Live games.”
We really liked The Division 2 when we reviewed it, but I have to admit that it didn’t hold our long-term attention in the same way that the original game did, so perhaps it would have benefited from a longer development time (and therefore a longer wait for players) between entries in the series.
With all this considered, Guillemot then commented on the delays to the titles listed above, saying:
“We have decided to postpone the releases of Gods & Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine and Watch_Dogs Legion until 2020-21. While each of these games already has a strong identity and high potential, we want our teams to have more development time to ensure that their respective innovations are perfectly implemented so as to deliver optimal experiences for players.”
The delay will obviously hit Ubisoft pretty hard during the current financial year, but the publisher is therefore expecting much better results for the next financial year, which will now have three extra AAA releases than originally planned. Hopefully the under-performance of both The Division 2 and, in particular, Ghost Recon Breakpoint will be a lesson for Ubisoft and the delays to Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Gods & Monsters will give the developers time to improve the games and provide more innovation than they have in most of their recent releases.
Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Gods & Monsters will now all release at some point during the financial year 2020-2021, which begins in April of next year. No exact new release dates were given, but we’ll keep you updated as and when that information becomes available.