In a conference call to investors today, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft Yves Guillemot laid out several details about the company’s upcoming year. He confirmed that there would be no major Assassin’s Creed game coming out in 2016 (discounting mobile and the soon to be completed Chronicles trilogy). Assassin’s Creed Unity‘s buggy release changed Ubisoft’s thinking regarding the release schedule, and the poor sales of Syndicate despite the game’s favorable critical reception showed that more work needed to be done. The next Creed game will debut in Holiday 2017, and they would not commit to going back to yearly releases after that.
This Assassin’s Creed delay leaves a gap in the schedule for the rest of this year, and that gap will be filled by the officially confirmed Watch Dogs 2. It is officially confirmed that it will come out before March of next year, and an exact release date will be nailed down in May as the industry gears up for E3. Other titles looking to make an impact for Ubisoft later this year are South Park: The Fractured But Whole, For Honor, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and a new game they described as a “new high-potential AAA brand with strong digital live services.”
As for the current quarter, Ubisoft has the upcoming releases of Far Cry Primal, Trackmania Turbo and Tom Clancy’s The Division. Their hopes are high for The Division, as they’ve seen a record number of players in the closed beta as well as good pre-order numbers for the title (which count towards that quarter and not when they are placed). They suspect that The Division will overtake Watch Dogs as their most successful franchise launch when it comes out later this year.
It’s worth noting that the entire call and press release were free from specific sales numbers for games, and engagement for certain titles was pushed instead, specifically in the case of Rainbow Six Siege. It seems clear that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate did not live up to expectations saleswise, as this question was dodged several times throughout the call for specifics, although in their press release Ubisoft does admit that it sold beneath expectations.
There were plenty of other facts given during the call, including the announcement of an official eSports push for Rainbow Six Siege. They’ve seen a huge amount of support for Siege, as well as growing sales, suggesting that the game could have a long tail and a growing audience. Ubisoft also announced that they have a handful of VR titles in development, while also stating that they expect the audience for virtual reality will only become sizable a year from now.
Credit to ZhugeEX on Twitter for his help in documenting facts from the conference call.