After a difficult year for the developer/publisher, Ubisoft is reportedly restructuring its “editorial team”, an influential creative crew thought to have significant influence on the company’s various games, including many of its triple-A franchises.
As reported by VGC, its thought the team of 100 creatives – which reportedly impact on all areas of game development – may be responsible for the duplication of UI and design choices across Ubisoft’s numerous IPs, such as the decision to create vast open-worlds.
While the team’s been in place for almost 20 years now and its influence had originally resulted in “a cohesive vision across all Ubisoft titles, with learnings from one project feeding into the next”, it’s also suspected the team may be behind the company’s formulaic approach, with reports of “just one or two people” having their ideas “being replicated” across all of Ubisoft’s titles.
“In the previous system that editorial had, there were often the ideas of just one or two people getting put into every game,” an anonymous source reportedly told VGC. “That’s why you tended to see such similarity, because it’s the same taste and opinion being replicated.”
In a formal statement, a Ubisoft spokesperson told VGC: “We are reinforcing our editorial team to be more agile and better accompany our development teams around the world as they create the best gaming experiences for players.”
Looking ahead, instead of giving the editorial team oversight of all games, it’s believed Ubisoft’s chief creative officer Serge Hascoet – who will continue to lead the editorial team – will task seven vice presidents with “their own franchises to lead, with the authority to make their own independent decisions on future directions”.
The developer-publisher announced plans to push back the release of three of its upcoming games – Watch Dogs Legion, Gods & Monsters, and Rainbow Six Quarantine – until the next financial year. The news sent Ubisoft’s stock plummeting.
Initially, the three triple-A games were due to release before the end of March 2020, with both Gods & Monsters and Watch Dogs: Legion securing firm releases dates of February 25th and March 6th, 2020 respectively. Now, all three games have been pushed back to somewhere between April 2020 to March 2021 but instead of being just current-gen games, the titles will also be available on PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X console.
As a result of the delays, Ubisoft confirmed it was lowering its financial targets for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, now expecting net bookings of $1.6 billion. The adjustments are occurring due to the underwhelming launch of Ghost Recon: Breakpoint which released to generally mediocre review scores and “very disappointing” sales, prompting Ubisoft co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot to say “we need to make sure there is more time between each iteration of live games”.