During an earnings call Thursday, Ubisoft gave investors a brutally frank appraisal of Ghost Recon Breakpoint, its latest release and vowed to implement “significant changes to our production processes” to fix the game.
In a prepared statement you can read online, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot laid out the reasons the publisher believes the open-world special ops shooter didn’t sell as well as expected. The new game, released just two and a half years after Ghost Recon Wildlands, moves the series’ action to a fictional island and introduced survival elements and a loot grind that struck many critics, including our own, as an unnecessary lightweight imitation of systems in other games, including Ubisoft’s own Division series.
Guillemot noted that changes Breakpoint made to the Ghost Recon formula have “been strongly rejected by a significant portion of the community.” Guillemot also noted the game’s negative critical reception. Compounding that, somewhat paradoxically, is that he said Breakpoint wasn’t different enough to really stand out.
Guillemot cites Breakpoint’s underperformance (and The Division 2's less severe, but still disappointing, performance) as a primary reason for the company’s just-announced delays of some of its most high-profile upcoming games.
In response to investor concern over live-service game fatigue and monetization, Ubisoft asserted that it is not interested in pay-to-win microtransactions, and instead will continue to focus on in-game events. (As recently as Breakpoint, however, Ubisoft has dabbled with microtransactions that do in fact have gameplay impact.)
All told, it looks like we can expect some changes to come to Ubisoft’s stable of live games, eventually—the stated goals here being more time between new installments, with bigger, more dramatic differences between them. Next year and early 2021 will show just what Ubisoft can do to improve Breakpoint as post-release development continues on it alongside the release of five planned big-budget games by April 1, 2021: the just delayed Watch Dogs Legion, Gods & Monsters and Rainbow Six Quarantine, along with two unannounced games, one of which is presumably the next Assassin’s Creed.