Ah, earnings calls. They are mostly boring and investors asking about big numbers, but occasionally they reveal some interesting titbits about game developers' and publishers' plans. In Ubisoft's quarterly earnings call yesterday, they talked about how they want to be less reliant on big AAA games, and instead want to put more focus on free-to-play games. They also mentioned Rainbow Six Quarantine and Far Cry 6 will be coming out this year, and even briefly touched on the new Star Wars game they're making with Lucasfilm Games - though the details are still very hush-hush.
"In fiscal 2022 [which starts April 2021], we will continue our evolution from a AAA release-centric model toward a model where AAA stands alongside new premium and free-to-play innovative experiences across platforms," said CFO Frederick Duguet.
So, they're not abandoning the big story games, just trying to capitalise on the live service stuff that they can support for longer periods of time. They mention Brawlhalla, which they say has been pretty successful, and Hyper Scape, which has been less so (one investor threw some shade calling it "not a failure, but...") and that they're learning from those games. As for free-to-play things in the works, Roller Champions is on the way sometime this year, and they're continuing to add things to Rainbow Six Siege and The Division 2 as well.
Despite the new focus on that stuff, they still have three big games coming out over the next financial year - Far Cry 6, Rainbow Six Quarantine and Skull & Bones. While none of these have set release dates, they mention on the call that Far Cry 6 and R6 Quarantine should arrive before the end of Q2, so by September 30th. We already knew those two would come out at some point during the 2022 fiscal year, but it's nice to have the date narrowed done a little.
From the sounds of things, they're considering a name change Quarantine too, seeing as it's not the most tactful thing to call a game to have in the midst of a global pandemic.
"It is something we are evaluating, and we'll see what comes in the future," CEO Yves Guillemot said.
Ubisoft also touched on the open-world Star Wars game they're making with Lucasfilm, though they're extremely quiet on the details. One investor seemed keen on finding out a rough release year, though Ubi simply responded that "the game is at an early stage of development, and so we have to wait a bit before telling you more about timings".
The Star Wars game is being made by The Division studio, Ubisoft Massive, and though they're committed to working on Star Wars, Guillemot said we will "see more on The Division this year and the year after".
Elsewhere in Ubisoft land, SSX-esque sports game Riders Republic and Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time Remake have both been delayed until "later this year". What I'm getting from all this is that they just really don't want to announce any release dates. Though I suppose it's understandable, it's been a weird year with tons of game delays, committing to more dates they couldn't meet might just make people more annoyed.