Ubisoft has finally confirmed the reason behind its several game delays and cancellations over the past couple of years. During its Q3 2022–23 investors call held early Friday, CEO Yves Guillemot claimed that the measure was necessary because the company was producing too many titles at the same time. Just last month, Ubisoft cancelled three unannounced projects to combat revenue losses and strengthen its long-term growth. Guillemot also assured investors that Ubisoft will attend the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this summer, should there be one this year. “If E3 happens, we will be there and we will have a lot of things to show,” he said (via VGC).
“We cancelled a few games because we needed to make space for other games that are in development in the company, and that’s really helping all the other games that are progressing well,” Guillemot said in the investors call (via NME). “Now, we feel we have the right number of games, knowing that we will launch a lot of games in financial year ’24 that will also give space for the other games that are on the way in the company.” Ubisoft previously delayed its naval combat title Skull & Bones for the sixth time, in hopes of gathering feedback from ongoing technical tests and ensuring a polished experience at launch. Earlier set for a March 9 release, the game will now launch within the company’s next fiscal year, which lies between April 2023 to March 2024.
Guillemot also touched upon how the cancellations benefit post-launch content for key game launches in the future. Given the development teams were thinly spread across multiple projects, axing some of the minor/ poorly progressing ones helps save them time and resources. Those developers can then be moved to help with the mainline games. “–we know that many of those games are also going to have post-launch content, and this will take a certain number of teams and talents to actually create that content,” Guillemot said.
The way Ubisoft voiced its involvement at this year’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) gave the impression that the expo was probably not happening this year. While E3 organisers have said they are planning to host an in-person event this year, there are doubts around the conference as the big three — Sony, Xbox, and Nintendo — are reportedly not attending the summer video games extravaganza. Xbox CEO Phil Spencer previously confirmed that it will be holding its own showcase around the same time as E3, for convenience’s sake. Meanwhile, PlayStation backed out of E3 in 2019 and continued with its own State of Play and other showcases — which sometimes coincided with Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest. If anything, Keighley’s digital-only event has proven that it is perfectly viable for a publisher to market their games without a physical presence and paying large amounts for dedicated booths.
However, a new report from The Verge suggests that E3 2023 is indeed happening, despite news of major publishers pulling out. “E3 is full speed ahead and we are pleased with the progress and engagement from the community,” Lance Fensterman, President, ReedPop (E3 organisers) said in a prepared statement. “As we have confirmed exhibitors we are eager to share more as details get cemented and participants ready their own detailed plans.” It is unclear what titles Ubisoft has in store for us at E3, but we can assume Assassin’s Creed Mirage to be one of them.