How NOT to Launch a Successful Video Game

Ubisoft has a history with games. Some get lots of support and attention. These are your Assassin’s Creeds, Far Crys, and occasionally Tom Clancy’s (go ahead and fill in the blank here with whatever series you prefer, reader) games. There is plenty of hype. You can tell from the early marketing and response that there will be lots of extra content provided, and it seems generally positive. But when it comes to some properties, Ubisoft lets them down and is forced to try and revive and revitalize them after the fact.

This has happened with plenty of games recently. The Division is a big one. Despite being under the Tom Clancy’s umbrella, it faltered at launch. The same happened with Watch Dogs 2 and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. To varying degrees, Ubisoft propped them up. But now, the same thing is happening with For Honor. Ubisoft is making changes that should have been addressed at or closer to launch, and it begs a question. Is Ubisoft really all that good at reviving and maintaining games?


Let’s go with The Division first. There were problems at launch. Server issues, gameplay bugs, and people weren’t enjoying the game like they should. Ubisoft had a strong Year One lineup of content that added Underground, Survival, and Last Stand expansions, incursions, modes, and gear. You know, give people reasons to play. The Year 1 offerings were fine, but the expansions didn’t continue the story. It felt like a fumble, once December rolled around. While two free expansions are planned for this year, it is already July and we don’t know anything about them. It feels like Ubisoft attempted to make it as relevant as something like Rainbow Six Siege, but failed.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands is in a similar position. Despite being part of a major line and series, it just hasn’t grasped people’s attention in the way other Ghost Recon games did. Ubisoft’s DLC had to be a way to revive interest. Except, Narco Road left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. Its character resets and weapon variants were disappointing. The competitive PvP still hasn’t arrived yet, and we have yet to even see the company hold a beta for it. I mean, sure we have seen evidence that the feature is on the way, but if Ubisoft really wanted to help a game and build an audience, the company should have had promised features in there within a month or two of its release. Not five or more months later. That isn’t holding people’s interest.

And now we have For Honor. As someone who played and really enjoyed this game, Ubisoft basically sent it out to die. We wanted dedicated servers, instead of P2P. We wanted more characters, maps, and modes. Basically, we wanted things that would make it easier to play and more enjoyable to keep playing. From now until February, we received none of those things. Now that half a year has passed, it’s like Ubisoft is finally considering and implementing things. We’re getting four more heroes, with two in Season III between August and November, and another two between November and February. Four new maps are coming two, also divided up between the two seasons. The Reputation cap is rising. A Dual Tournament is being added. There will be a new 4v4 mode, complete with ranked 4v4. We’re getting new equipment and emotes. 

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All of these For Honor changes are things we want, but Ubisoft is doing the same things it has done with The Division and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. We don’t know when dedicated servers are coming, thing that will make the biggest difference in For Honor, only that the company is finally giving us something we even started saying we wanted before the game was released. We have no set dates for the adjustments, improvements, and additions. It’s all coming after most people have abandoned the game and lost hope.

In all, The Division, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and For Honor should leave people questioning whether or not Ubisoft is doing all it can for its games and their players. Each of these games stumbled at launch. Everyone is suddenly seeing Ubisoft scrambling to build up and maintain a community after launch. But in each situation, it is like the company is building sand castles before the tide comes in. The planning is bad and, in the end, the efforts probably won’t do much to keep the games alive.

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada

Site Editor
Date: 07/31/2017

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