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Ubisoft cancels three games, delays Skull and Bones, and pressures employees to “deliver”

“We are clearly disappointed by our recent performance.”
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Ubisoft released some updated financial targets for 2023-24, which contain a hefty dose of news. The publisher and developer seems to be in hot water after some disappointing recent results with Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023 being the latest titles to underperform in sales. Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft’s CEO, says:

“We are clearly disappointed by our recent performance. We are facing contrasted market dynamics as the industry continues to shift towards mega-brands and everlasting live games, in the context of worsening economic conditions affecting consumer spending.”

The company is planning to save around $200 million USD in costs over the next two years by “targeted restructuring, divesting some non-core assets and usual natural attrition.” This includes the cancellation of three unannounced game projects.

Skull and Bones, Ubisoft’s ambitious pirate game, will be delayed once again, now targeting a release in the coming fiscal year – so sometime after April 2023.

It’s been a while since Ubisoft released one of its hallmark open-world titles, the last big launch in this category being Far Cry 6 in 2021. Several Assassin’s Creed games are in the works and Ubisoft Massive is also developing an open-world Star Wars game, but most of these projects are likely years away. There is also an Avatar game in the pipeline that has the company’s hopes attached to it.

In an email to staff members that was shown to Kotaku, Guillemot presumably tried to rally the troops, but came across as blaming his employees for the situation and pressuring them to do better: “I am also asking that each of you be especially careful and strategic with your spending and initiatives, to ensure we’re being as efficient and lean as possible. The ball is in your court to deliver this line-up on time and at the expected level of quality, and show everyone what we are capable of achieving.”