Liberté, Égalité, Desolés: Free DLC After Assassin’s Mess

BOO!

I’m disappointed in Alec for not having a more wacky experience in Assassin’s Creed Unity. While folks across various platform found bugs from horrifying missing faces to people on invisible minibikes, he only had performance problems. Try harder to get funny bugs next time, Alec.

Ubisoft have apologised for launching the game in such a sorry state, and are trying to make amends by offering everyone its first planned big DLC pack, Dead Kings, for free. And as that was supposed to be part of the DLC Season Pass, they’re trying to make amends to Season Pass holders by offering them a free game from a selection including Far Cry 4 and The Crew.

“I want to sincerely apologize on behalf of Ubisoft and the entire Assassin’s Creed team,” Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal & Toronto, said in the announcement. “These problems took away from your enjoyment of the game, and kept many of you from experiencing the game at its fullest potential.”

In apology, they’re giving Dead Kings for free to everyone who owns Unity. It’ll add a new chapter set after the end of the game, exploring beneath the city of Saint Denis. But as this was supposed to be a big part of the DLC Season Pass, Ubisoft are outright scrapping the pass. It’s no longer on sale, and presumably all its component bits will be sold separately.

So to apologise to folks who did buy the Season Pass (or fancy editions which included it), they’re offering a free game from this selection: The Crew; Far Cry 4; Watch Dogs; Assassin’s Creed Black Flag; and Rayman Legends. Given that the pass cost about £20, that’s not bad. They don’t seem to be offering straight refunds, though. They should do that too.

Next time, they might try not releasing a game in such a wonky state. Terrible thing, that rush to meet the holiday season.

38 Comments

  1. PearlChoco says:

    It’s a nice gesture, but…

    don’t tell me they didn’t know in what state they were shipping the game. Still they were trying to get away with it, and only after it turned into a major PR debacle they decided to apologize and compensate their customers.

    It’s Sim City 5 all over again.

    • Barchester says:

      I really doubt they were “trying to get away with it.” Ubisoft had hundreds of testers on Unity (or so I’ve read) and I don’t believe no-one realised what a shit storm this would be when they released the game as buggy as that. Releasing a broken game will not go down well, and Ubisoft knows that. Yes, they screwed up, but there’s no way there was any malicious intent behind releasing the game as it was.

      • Monggerel says:

        Don’t chalk up to malice what can be explained by greed.

        ?

        • Barchester says:

          Sorry, I just don’t believe that any big company, let alone one already under customer scrutiny, would deliberately release a game this broken. Unpolished, yeah, but not like this.

          • Drake Sigar says:

            It’s hard to draw another conclusion when it comes to a post-release embargo.

          • dmastri says:

            Rome 2. Battlefield 4. Simcity. Skyrim. Fallout New Vegas.

            It happens all the time and you are lying to yourself if you think the developers aren’t aware.

            The bottomline is there are deadlines to meet. Particularly in the console world where things need to go to gold to get discs pressed. That’s a hard line in the sand and even if you find stuff afterwards all you can do is release a day 0 patch. That’s business.

            The days where I preorder, or even buy games on release, are behind me. I got a lot of satisfaction out of laughing at my friends who preordered Beyond Earth.

          • Barchester says:

            It happens all the time, yeah, and I’m not saying Ubisoft isn’t to blame, but you can’t tell me they didn’t know the size of the shit storm that would come out of this and still knowingly pressed ahead.

            I’m also annoyed that I haven’t encountered a single bug yet, but that’s a different story.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            @Barchester

            They knew it, indeed, what you’re absolutely not willing to believe is that, for them, meeting the deadline was more important than avoiding the shitstorm.

            For some companies we’re just the noisy few, money piling up is the only metric used to evaluate user’s satisfaction ( and that is still coming in plenty, for now ), but a huge chunk of it comes from preorders out of hype and good faith. they really need to hit the wall with their head VERY strongly to start noticing that they went too far, and even then it’s not guaranteed.

            Plan B is to offer some excuses, that’s because they’re also convinced that a couple of sweet words and small gifts ( on uPlay only, but no real refunds ) will work, and the sad part is that most of the times they’re right.

            If you need extra proof, other than the embargo, you can refer at their previous attempt to sway the public opinion about the importance of framerates and the cinematic beauty of 30fps, they were preparing the grounds all along to dampen the imminent shitstorm.

            This actually was also a rallying call to other developers experiencing issues with actually getting something tangible out of the “next gen”, the new budget-built-premium-sold consoles can’t provide a real step up and the only way to make them work is for more and more companies to agree on the 30fps cap and low resolution until the playerbase adapts to that shit. When we’ll accept it and stop complaining, their war will be won.

            Polygon also warns that they’re already trying to tell everyone how to review The Crew and to distrust early reviews. While i might agree that some games can’t really be reviewed as fast as others and without a proper exploration of some key part of their content, the fact that this comes from Ubisoft already sounds like early damage control.

            Another easy proof: did you notice how many extremely obvious Ubi’s propaganda drones are polluting this very site? You can easily spot them because they speak in slogans and they don’t really seem to even try sounding like an actual person.

          • Barchester says:

            You make a number of very good points there. Maybe it’s just me being unable to wrap my head around so much stupidity then. Or I’m just naive. Or both.

            Haven’t noticed any drones though, but then again I don’t read all the articles/comments/forum posts, so that might be just me.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Well as of now they’re mostly disappeared, two weeks ago it was far worse especially coming the release of FC4.

            The ironic part is that the latter is actually a decent game ( debatable, off course ) that doesn’t really need such silly tactics, like all the controversy about how Shadow of Mordor was being “forcefully” promoted without really much need for it.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            Have you never worked in/with a big company? Ever bought products from them? Ever seen advertising from them?

            Not ratting out on any one in particular, but some very big companies get fines for selling products that do not perform major features as advertised (cars/TVs/banks/insurance policies etc).

            So it happens. It may not be what happened here. But when cash and greed and self delusion are involved… anything can happen.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        A company like Ubisoft is a huge machinery with some people who care about the game and some who don’t. The game could be buggy because they forced the teams to do overtime for many months and they started being fed up and tired and started making mistakes; it could be because the people with creative control enforced late changes and there wasn’t enough time to stabilize the game afterwards; and then there are all the business decisions where love for games, desire for fame and hunger for more profits conflict in a nice melting pot.

        In the end deciding to release a buggy game is rarely an ignorant act, with all the testing they do. But beyond that it’s hard to evaluate how cynical/calculating/desperate the decision was.

    • UpsilonCrux says:

      As someone who has worked on AAA console submissions, they abso-fucking-lutely knew.

  2. iainl says:

    Given the alarm bells ringing about The Crew and its generally being incomplete without the DLC (what kind of marketer puts the current McLaren and Ferrari models exclusive to the Season Pass? The Mini Cooper S as a GAME preorder exclusive?). Couple it to the way that whatever’s up with The Crew meaning it’s not only embargoed until after the game is on sale, but they won’t even switch the servers on early for journalists, and I’m beginning to wonder if what people have actually bought with their Deluxe versions of Unity is a season pass to Ubisoft’s entire catalogue from here on in…

  3. cakeisalie says:

    This seems to be the culture of modern gaming. Release an unfinished/broken product and try to fix it later with patches. Still a free DLC or game is a damn sight better than the double xp, pistol scope and useless battlepacks that EA/DICE offered in the way of compensation (or player appreciation as they termed it) to disgruntled BF4 customers.

    • montorsi says:

      Haven’t been gaming long, huh?

      This dates back to tweaking bat files. Welcome to PC gaming.

      The fact it’s leaking into consoles is interesting, if unsurprising. Fortunately those can be patched now, too. Hurray.

      • cthulhie says:

        Just logging in to note this. Mind, I’m not defending the practice of releasing unfinished games, especially when accompanied by marketing the suppresses it. But this isn’t current gaming–it’s gaming.

        I think I take note of it because of the various studios that I basically love that were ruined or near-ruined by releasing wonderful but utterly broken first release games. Cf. everything by Troika, early Obsidian, Piranha Bytes… hell, all Bethesda since Arena and omg Daggerfall.

        Unity doesn’t appear to be a case of this, but there’s definitely a correlation between ambition and day 1 bugginess. So while I don’t want to encourage this practice, I have some patience for it. The vast majority of my favorite games were a hot mess on day 1.

  4. DanMan says:

    Did EA actually fulfill the role of a poster child with their BF3.5 troubles? Hard to believe.

  5. Montavious says:

    No such thing as free DLC. Its called giving you what they were supposed to give you from the beginning, but chopped off in pieces and sold as individual parts to get more money.

    • Spoony_Bart says:

      Only that it’s not. The DLC is being developed independently by Montpellier, a different studio.

      • jonahcutter says:

        I thought that was kind of the standard Ubi approach to these sprawling epics. Different studios work on different elements of the overall game.

      • Montavious says:

        So you really think they dont have it planned out just because it is done at a later time, at a different studio? Customers like you are exactly what they are looking for.

        • montorsi says:

          People who will buy stuff that they develop? Yes, quite the relevation there, Sherlock.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          But why shouldn’t it be planned, exactly? Off course it’s planned, this is how you work efficiently with a big project.

          So, in your mind a game like Borderlands should have got all the DLC included in the vanilla release? how would that be feasible?

          If it’s a small and stupid DLC, you are right, but if it’s something done right it can be almost an expansion, which is something that costs, and you need the vanilla game to support the cost for it. If it’s proper stuff they’ll start immediately and likely take months before it’s done, while spending a lot on it, it would take even longer if they haven’t planned it ahead.

          And no, i’m not defending Ubisoft and neither i’m thinking that they’ll put up worthwhile content, i’m merely defending the core idea of DLC and proper planning. Sharing the plans with us in advance is nothing more than simple transparency.

          To further clarify, i’m not condoning shady practices like cutting literally 20 minutes of content just to sell them, which off course could be easily implemented in the game proper.

      • P.Funk says:

        What does that prove? It was being developed separately, big whoop. Many games have separate studios putting work into a single product. That doesn’t mean that it precludes those efforts being included in the release product or as DLC. Sometimes they have one studio do a campaign and another do multiplayer. If they released the Multiplayer as DLC then that would be justifiable as a separate product because its under a different studio?

    • Barchester says:

      The same could have been said of old-timey expansion packs back in the day, and no-one did.

      • jonahcutter says:

        Well, the line between what Montavious describes, developed content deliberately walled off for extra money and content developed *after* the full game has been finished, has been blurred to the point of nonexistence.

        Payed xpacs used to come months or even years after the full game, along with often free content patches, was released. Now we sometimes get “Day 1 DLC” that costs extra, which is as shady a practice as there can be. Gamers are wise to be suspicious of such seemingly greedy antics.

      • P.Funk says:

        My memory might be fuzzy but I recall expansion packs coming well after release day and they were often done by the studio with the same staff once patching was complete. It was an extension of the development process, not an impulse buy tacked onto it. I can’t clearly think of an example from the expansion pack days where it felt as if they’d simply splintered a piece of the core game off of the standard release candidate and packaged it for consumption as a separate purchase.

        Its lazy to suggest there’s no difference in business practices. Everyone agrees that digital distribution has radically altered how we buy and how we make games. We can’t then just turn around and say “its all the exact same as before”. Its clearly not. Whether its better or worse is the debate, but its clearly different.

  6. Scumbag says:

    Staring Eyes

  7. Ejia says:

    Freedom! Equality! Shoelessness!

  8. Stellar Duck says:

    Really? No staring eyes tag? For shame.

  9. Chaz says:

    I think the missing faces look great. They should keep it in as a graphics option or put in a pair of x-ray specs to buy.

  10. LennyLeonardo says:

    I think they missed a trick. It’s a game within a game, so they could explain all the bugs away as Abstergo’s fault, rather than Ubisoft’s. Job done.

  11. chabuhi says:

    As one of the idiots who pre-ordered ACU (and the season pass) and therefore deserve every bad thing I’ve got, the most important question Ubi can answer for me right now is: Where is my free copy of FC4? ;-P