Ubisoft Says Rebuilding Assassin’s Creed Engine For Unity Was ‘Painful’
On its third fiscal quarter earnings call today, Ubisoft confronted questions from analysts about the rocky launch of Assassin’s Creed Unity. While company executives side-stepped the question of rebuilding trust, they did put a positive spin on what Unity’s problems mean for the next title.
“Assassin’s Creed Unity was able to deliver the most beautiful graphics we’ve ever created,” said company CEO Yves Guillemot. “Next fiscal year, we will launch a new Assassin’s Creed game based on the same technology and engine that powers Assassin’s Creed Unity. We are very confident that the experiences earned and lessons learned on Unity, along with customer feedback, will help us take Assassin’s Creed to the next level.”
Later in the call Ubisoft was asked about potential sales deficits due to the problems and possible damage to the Assassin’s Creed brand. “It’s very important to understand there’s a new transition of consoles; we try to create engines that take full advantage of the capacity of the consoles,” Guillemot explained. “In the case of Unity, we had to re-do 100 percent of the engine. When you do that, it’s painful and it has to be re-calibrated. With this game, a few things were not perfect when it launched and it’s going to help the brand shine in the future.”
The next Assassin’s Creed title, rumored to be subtitled “Victory” will likely be out this fall. The game has not been officially detailed, but was revealed (and subsequently confirmed by the publisher) earlier this year via a leak.
Despite the problems with Unity and the relatively reduced promotion of Rogue, both titles combined for shipments of 10 million. When asked whether the company would break that number out by title, Ubisoft said it was leaving them combined to provide a comparison to 2013's Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag, which shipped on the five platforms that Unity and Rogue together covered.
Ubisoft did not address the financial liability related to its make-right gestures. These included free DLC, the cancelation of the season pass, and free games for those that bought the bundle of add-on content. I’m also unconvinced that people will be quick to trust the Assassin’s Creed brand at launch (at least without early warning from critics).