Ubisoft Cancels Games After Rough 2022, Postpones Skull And Bones

Ubisoft Cancels Games After Rough 2022, Postpones Skull And Bones
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The hero of Assassin's Creed Mirage is holding a hidden knife.

picture: Ubisoft

Ubisoft made an urgent call with investors on Wednesday to announce that the company’s 2022 sales fell well below expectations and will take drastic measures going forward, including canceling three more unannounced games. delay skull and bones again a few monthsand cost savings of approximately $215 million over the next two years, with some of the savings coming from a smaller headcount at the publisher, which exceeded 20,000 people.

“Today, more than ever, I need all of your energy and determination to get us back on the road to success.” Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoftwrote an email to staff and a copy was viewed by: kotaku “I also ask each of you to be particularly mindful and strategic about your spending and initiatives to ensure we are as efficient and lean as possible.”

Many publishers have faced game delays during the pandemic, but Ubisoft has been hit harder than most. skull and bones, Avatar: Pandora’s Frontiersand Assassin’s Creed Mirage All of them, one way or another, were expected to be shipped by the end of last year. Guillemot told staff that these delays “aggravated our costs and reduced our associated revenues.” The company currently forecasts a loss of approximately $537 million for the fiscal year ending March 2023.

If you’re a developer at Ubisoft and want to chat about how today’s announcements will impact your work, my inbox is always open (Signal, WhatsApp and Proton contact information available on demand).

skull and bones‘ development remains the poster child for such issues at Ubisoft. Finally emerging from radio silence after a major reboot to begin last September, Pushed to March 2023 at the last minute at the last minute to improve and polish the game in response to tester feedback. In recent months, kotaku He realizes that an assault team has been formed at Ubisoft’s Paris studio to try to get the game across the finish line. However, the company argues that Ubisoft Singapore remains the lead studio on the project.

“While Skull and Bones is now complete, we are using the remaining time until our launch to leverage feedback from our ongoing Technical Tests and upcoming open beta to polish and balance the experience,” a spokesperson for Ubisoft told Kotaku in an email. “To fully deliver on this launch we are leveraging the full power of co-developing studios already involved in the development process, including Ubisoft Paris studio. Ubisoft Singapore remains the lead studio on Skull and Bones and the team is working full speed on the game experience and the development of its robust post launch content.”

Though Guillemot told investors during today’s call that the project has been making great progress, and will now launch this spring, it has clearly not made enough to finally ship, coming up on six years after it was first revealed. Whether the game ends up being good or not, current and former developers Kotaku has spoken with as recently as last month are skeptical it can be a major seller.

Guillemot told investors a similar issue with Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope That’s one of the reasons the company is currently projecting huge losses for the year. Despite a large marketing budget and positive reviews, the game failed to meet sales expectations coming out of the holiday. neither did Just Dance 2023the company’s only other major release last fall, a time of year that would normally boast another giant Assassin’s Creed blockbuster

To deal with losses, Ubisoft also canceled three more unannounced games. quad, previously canceled last year. It also deducted approximately $537 million in R&D costs related to upcoming and canceled games. And the company plans to cut costs of about $215 million from its operating budget over the next two years. “This will be achieved through targeted restructuring, divestment of some non-core assets and ordinary natural attrition,” the company told investors. “Ubisoft will continue to recruit highly talented people for its biggest brands and live services.”

Three current and former Ubisoft developers, who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak about their company’s plans, recently kotaku that they are already seeing cuts through less filling for recently departed colleagues and fewer contract renewals for those working on a temporary basis. They also said there were layoffs at some of Ubisoft’s US locations, including its San Francisco office, last fall. A Ubisoft spokesperson said only 27 positions were eliminated as part of this “reorganization”.

In the next fiscal year, which runs until March 2024, Ubisoft said it plans to release at least one additional unannounced major game. skull and bones, avatarand Assassin’s Creed Mirage. In an email to staff, the CEO described it as “the biggest pipeline in Ubisoft’s history” and said he’s excited to share more at the E3 conference in June this year.

But to do this, he will need to avoid certain things. pitfalls that plague current and future projects Even if they cut their spending. Guillemot put the responsibility for this on the staff’s feet, writing: “The ball is in your court to deliver this squad on time and to the expected quality, and to show everyone what we can achieve.”

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