As one of the largest game development and publishing companies in the world, it is probably safe to say that most gamers are familiar with Ubisoft’s products. With the imminent release of For Honor and Ghost Recon: Wildlands (heralded by their usual, mildly obnoxious, marketing push through YouTube content creators), it is likely that many will be expanding their existing library of Ubisoft games as well. Over the past couple of years, however, the quality of the games that came out of Ubisoft have fluctuated, if not outright decreased quite a bit. You would only have to take one look at the Metacritic ratings and sales numbers of every game developed by Ubisoft since Assassin’s Creed Unity to see that even their most well-known franchises are not exactly busting records, to say nothing of the Assassin’s Creed movie.
For example, Rainbow Six: Siege, Ubisoft’s big release after Assassin’s Creed Unity, got solidly average scores across every platform on Metacritic with an average rating of 75, but it is hardly a game that sold well. It is doing fairly decently at retaining its current audience, at least if subreddit activity is to be believed, but it is definitely not going to appeal to audiences that are looking for a game that you can pick up and play for an hour or two. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate did slightly better than its predecessor in terms of ratings, scoring an average of 76 across all platforms on Metacritic, but Unity had obviously taken quite a bit of wind from the Assassin’s Creed franchise’s sails by that point, and it showed in the game’s launch week performance. Then came The Division, a game that had promising first impressions, but it flopped hard due to a series of post-launch content and balancing blunders, plus its heavily advertised “PvP” content ended up turning into a jogging simulator, complete with people who just want to mess with you in every conceivable way.
That, of course, is one of the main obstacles facing Ghost Recon: Wildlands, a game that seemingly exists only to embody the rest of Ubisoft’s games in a single package, and to milk the Tom Clancy and Ghost Recon name until they are desiccated husks of their former selves. Open world, “realistic,” and with a modern setting, one can only imagine how the game could’ve performed had it been released years ago, but based on previews of the game, it just looks like another generic military shooter that will likely suffer from being too similar to every other game that Ubisoft puts out: drive/fly here, shoot this terrorist/bad guy with a funny accent, drive there, do some customization, fire this gun that has been in every modern themed game ever, pretend to be a real cool guy and not look at explosions, find hundreds of collectibles like you’re the world’s most heavily armed garbageman, and repeat ad infinitum until you find some XTREME SUPER COOL AND HIP AND TRENDY way to kill your character because there’s nothing else to do.
Fortunately for Ubisoft, For Honor appears to be a bit more promising, even if it might ultimately end up being the next Rainbow Six: Siege in that it appeals to a relatively niche, but dedicated, audience. Naturally, a lot of the game’s success will ultimately hinge on whether or not Ubisoft is willing to make sure that the game’s multiplayer matches go smoothly, a weakness of theirs as of late, but For Honor at least tries to be different in a market that is dominated by First Person Shooters. Whether or not the sales figures and reviews indicate actual interest is another matter entirely, but given that it is the only upcoming Ubisoft game that isn’t part of a preexisting franchise is a nice change of pace.
It does nothing for how Ubisoft is still going to be perceived as the developer of games that are predominately open world, part of an existing and likely stagnating franchise, set in a historical or modern setting, and of fairly average quality, but For Honor could lead to a shift in focus for the company if it performs well, in an ideal world anyways. Then again, Steep was the last Ubisoft release that tried to break from their usual game formula, a game that most people probably forgot about because the online, open world, extreme winter sports market isn’t exactly the most popular genre ever.More About This Game