The Ubisoft formula seems to be thin

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was one of last year’s best games and without a doubt a homerun moment in a multi-year project to transform the action-stealth series into a full-fledged open-world RPG that could compete with its genre-defining rivals. Everywhere else, however, Ubisoft seems to hit singles or knock out.

Far Cry 6 launched today, and by most accounts it seems to be more Far Cry. It’s definitely a welcome thing for some people. Game Informer described it as a “nonstop thrill ride” and gave it a nine out of 10. IGN was similarly impressed and called it the best series has been in a decade.

“Even after these many games, the job of turning all the red dots on your card into blue is still a good time,” the review reads.

But other critics have been far less generous, seemingly exhausted with how much the game leans on the well-trodden excesses of the modern Ubisoft card game.

“It’s like being blown up by a fire hose, only to be asked, ‘How did the water taste?'” It sounds Washington Postongoing review. “Far Cry 6 is a boring post in a series that needs a revolution, ”declared Video Game Chronicle.

Waypoint was even more direct.

“‘Far Cry 6’ ‘is creative and moral bankruptcy,” reads the headline. “This is not a review of’ Far Cry 6 ‘because I honestly can not play this shit anymore,” Matthew Gault wrote. “I just can not do it.”

He explained:

It was fun when I did [it] first time in Far Cry 3, which came out in 2012. It was a little better, but the same when I did it in Far Cry Primal. It was completely boring and unnecessary when I did it in Far Cry 5. The fact that Far Cry 6 think it can essentially deliver the exact same game a decade later is just depressing.

Far Cry 6‘s Metacritical score, an insignificant number in the larger property system, but one companies still treat as more science than bullshit, is currently hovering in the high ’70s. It has fallen lower with almost every new record in the series, down from the approximately 90 achieved with Far Cry 3 almost a decade ago. In some ways, it feels like the only thing that still sets the series apart from all other Ubisoft games is how it only tackles ambitious political issues to inevitably fumble them. Far Cry 6 can sell gangbusters just like Far Cry 5 did, but the critical consensus clearly points to something less predictable. (Kotakureview is still in progress).

This comes the same week that Ubisoft revealed Ghost Recon: Frontline, a multiplayer game with live services that seems to be aimed at no one in particular. It’s the third battle royale the company has worked on, and the third free-to-play shooter it announces this year. Front line is part of Ubisoft’s hub for several high-end freemium releases. Fans were not impressed.

As it did with Division: Heartland before the downtrodden YouTube viewers the new Front line trailer in thousands. That Ghost Recon subreddit collectively lost its shit.

“It’s incredible to me how tone deaf Ubisoft has become,” one poster wrote. “To be clear: No one in society wanted a royal fight.”

Front line‘s announcement comes two years after the catastrophic release of Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, a game that contains DNA from every other Ubisoft franchise that is apparently designed to appeal to everyone, and thus almost none exciting. Internally, the error led to a reassessment of the creative vision that was guiding Ubisoft’s various collection of IP. In early 2020, CEO Yves Guillemot announced new editorial vice presidents to help oversee game development across all of his studios, but we know how it turned out.

All were men. Some of them were eventually charged with sexual misconduct and other assaults, including the then longtime chief creative officer Serge Hascoet. When Ubisoft confronted a wave of allegations of workplace misconduct over the past year, it announced new vice presidents and most recently a new creative director, Igor Manceau, former director of the upcoming Riders Republic.

Ubisoft’s treatment of its developers is inseparable from the company’s creative output. It says it has significantly improved over the past, although hundreds of current and former employees dispute it. When it comes to the latter, it is too early to say. Games take a long time to make, and those like Far Cry 6 and the 2022s Rainbow Six: Extraction began development years before the company’s latest inventory. Business as usual, however, is clearly not an option.

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