Assassin’s Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars… What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

Game news Assassin’s Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars… What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

Ubisoft’s fiscal balance sheet fell and, with it, a rain of bad news fell on the world of video games. Avatar postponed, Splinter Cell cancelled… The future looks bleak for the French studio, but between Assassin’s Creed, Star Wars and Tom Clancy, Ubisoft still has more than one card up its sleeve.

Avatar, Splinter Cell VR… A moving schedule

Decidedly, Ubisoft has begun the habit of leaving official announcements and letting the tax record speak for itself. And the recently issued one does not waste information on the shock. We learned there exactly the postponement and the pure and simple cancellation of titles that are still pending, or even not yet announced.

Let’s start with the cancellations related to two licenses of the Tom Clancy franchise, namely Ghost Recon and the nostalgic Splinter Cell. Don’t panic, Splinter Cell Remake is still a priori in the kitchen. In fact it was the virtual reality episode that sealed the partnership between Meta (formerly Oculus) and Ubisoft. A priori, the VR stage of Assassin’s Creed developed in the same framework is still on track.

Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars... What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

On the Ghost Recon side, Frontline bows out. The open-world free-to-play Battle Royale announced in October 2021 will not see the light of day, despite good progress. According to Tom Henderson, the initial feedback of the closed beta was inconclusive. The game looks, it seems, very much like a Call of Duty Warzone. A similarity that requires a priori repair, but Ubisoft has clearly decided that the game is not worth the candle. It must be said that Frontline has already received strong criticism from the community.

Note that two other Ubisoft games have also been canceled, but they have not been announced yet. If we trust the revelations that Tom Henderson made to us a few months ago, Ubisoft has in the boxes a new Prince of Persia game, The Crew 3, a sequel to Immortals Fenyx Rising, and an Assassin’s Creed Rift. These two cancellations may concern one of these games, but we are here in pure speculation. If this is the case, however, we can rule out a potential new Assassin’s Creed.

Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars... What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

These cancellations are actually the result of Ubisoft’s desire to focus on titles with the highest potential. The Assassin’s Creed license is one of the most profitable and valued by the studio, we can imagine that they are working on it more than canceling projects. Especially since another small line on the balance sheet speaks to us of an unannounced “premium” game, which was originally planned for this fiscal year and which was postponed to next. Assassin’s Creed Rift, rumored for early 2023, seems to fit the description very well.

Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars... What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

As for the second postponed title, we know where it is. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will not be released this year. In fact it has been postponed to the fiscal year 2023/2024. To be honest, we hardly see the title coming in the coming months because of the little information that is known about it. However, according to Tom Henderson, the open world of the universe of James Cameron’s films is almost ready and therefore we are not immune to a sudden exit. So missed for this year… Bad news for the players and maybe also for Ubisoft, who lost the biggest fish of the year. Despite everything, the studio went ahead and signed: he aims for 400 million in operating income (income before tax) this year. It must be said that Ubisoft still has a few cards up its sleeve for the rest of the year.


2022: a complicated year for Ubisoft?

Ubisoft is never in the best shape. If the noises in the corridors of a potential takeover are very noisy, it is really not for nothing and this is confirmed in this tax report. Revenue in the first quarter of 2022 decreased 9.8% compared to last year (which is not much bigger than last year). Ubisoft is well aware that the market is not playing in its favor and has revised its forecasts downwards compared to last year. In a way, these results don’t seem like a huge slap in the face.

Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars... What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

The balance sheet even managed to turn positive because, in net sales, Ubisoft exceeded its forecasts by almost 5%. (293 million euros raised against 280 million planned). So the situation is far from dramatic and this is what drives Ubisoft to maintain its cap of 400 million in operating income at the end of the year. To achieve this, the studio of course relies on these two last year’s releases: Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope and Skull and Bones. But at this stage, projecting their sales seems too complicated.

Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars... What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

Mario + The Rabbids is a license that works well. The first opus recorded no less than 2 million sales, placing it, at the time, first in the ranking of the best-selling third-party games on the Nintendo Switch, that’s all. With what appears to be a richer and more accessible game, it is therefore difficult to see the second opus as a failure. However, it is not possible to register record numbers worthy of Assassin’s Creed, whose latest opus has sold more than 3.5 million copies in a week of operation. Mario + The Rabbids Sparks of Hope is a priori not strong enough to bear the responsibility of Ubisoft’s turnover.

Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars... What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

This task, it is rather the ambitious Skull and Bones that should take it. But as time goes on, it’s harder to anticipate the enthusiasm that will accompany its release. True, the game was able to inspire players at the time of its announcement, but years have passed since then. As we know, the development of the title was quite chaotic so some did not expect it when it finally appeared in the last Ubisoft Forward. Add to that a gameplay sequence that does not convince everyone and a release date that falls on the eve of one of the biggest games of the year. (God of War: Ragnarok) and we can legitimately start worrying about the game of pirates. Does this allow Ubisoft to get in the nails? See you in November to find out.

Note that if these two games are highlighted in the tax balance of the box, must also account for potential new entries that have not yet been announced. It is unlikely to see a big surprise pointing at the tip of his nose, but we must not neglect the importance of Just Dance which is likely to offer a new opus this year and see The Settlers (due March 17, 2022), Rocksmith+ and OddBallers still awaiting a date. In its tax report, Ubisoft also mentioned a lucrative mobile game contract for a partnership with one of the major studio licenses. If the latter is planned for this year, it could be a good way to fill the coffers and fund all the wonderful projects that the studio has for years to come.

Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars... What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia, Star Wars… What is left of Ubisoft?

Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars... What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

And yes, the projects you want Ubisoft has its full range. We will start with a license whose future should be clarified in September: Assassin’s Creed. From what we know, Ubisoft is working on the huge and mysterious Assassin’s Creed metaverse project, Infinity, and a virtual reality opus. For rumors, we’ve already mentioned Assassin’s Creed Rift, the potential title that allows you to contain Basim and put back into the heart of the game. But lately, a new code name is on everyone’s lips: ProjectRed. Opus in its own right or part of Infinity? Things are far from clear. But anyway, this new AC project should take us to Asia, and maybe even to Japan (a place that fans of the license are very much looking forward to).

For others, we have many games in production.. Between the remake of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, that of Splinter Cell, the famous Arlesian Beyond Good & Evil 2 and the free-to-play Tom Clancy’s The Division: Heartland, there is a good spade of games announced. On the mobile side too, because Ubisoft is working on no less than three games: Tom Clancy’s The Division Resurgence, Wild Arena Survivors and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Mobile. But that’s not all!

Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars... What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

In effect, Ubisoft also has big new and especially ambitious projects in its drawers, like Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora but also the open-world game Star Wars (also made by Massive Entertainment). In the new part, we also noticed the development of the multiplayer team game and colorful arena that responds to the code name Project Q and a new entry in the Tom Clancy universe named XDefiant. Add to that the licenses held by Ubisoft that still haven’t given any news like Far Cry, Watch Dogs and Immortals Fenyx Rising. Without forgetting that we are not immune to a resurrection Legendary licenses have been stamped by Ubisoft, with Rayman at the top of the line. It remains to be seen what strategy Ubisoft will choose and what games will actually see the light of day.

In the current economic environment, managing our investments strategically and diligently is more important than ever. So we must manage to limit our expenses to the necessities by questioning some of our habits and our reflexes and by reinventing ourselves together in the development in terms of cost, flexibility and efficiency.

Yves Guillemot, tax report Q1 2022/2023

Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, Star Wars... What does Ubisoft have in store after postponing Avatar?

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