At this point, it's safe to say that Assassin's Creed Unity isn't the rousing success that Ubisoft was hoping for. Only a few days ago, Unity was one of this fall's most highly anticipated titles; now, it's quickly becoming a punchline due to a host of performance issues and a number of hilarious (and sometimes terrifying) glitches.
The critics haven't been kind, either. While Game Rant's own Andrew Dyce found Assassin's Creed Unity an acceptable if imperfect step towards the future, other outlets have been significantly less kind. Even late night talk-show host Conan O'Brien has weighed in on the game's finer points, mocking the mundane side quests and inexplicable British accents sported by its Parisian cast.
Well, investors have taken notice as well. Yahoo Finance reports that Ubisoft's stock price fell over 9% following the game's release as a result of Unity's poor review scores, tumbling from $3.62 to $3.29. If Ubisoft doesn't do some damage control soon, that number could fall even further.
Yahoo also quotes a 2013 article from IGN in which Ubisoft's North American President Laurent Detoc claims that Ubisoft will never publish an Assassin's Creed title with a Metacritic score in the 70's.
"That damages the brand. I’m not going to give you the names of products, because you know them as well as I do, but if you start to make games at 70 percent, even with a big brand, eventually people are going to change their mind about that brand. They won’t want it anymore."
Assassin's Creed Unity's current Metacritic score? 76%, and that's for the better-performing Xbox One version. Yeah. Ouch.
Laurent's right about one thing, though: one bad game can pack enough punch to sink an entire franchise. It's been a year since Battlefield 4 came out, and EA and DICE are still struggling to regain consumers' trust. NBA Elite 11 was so bad that not only was the game cancelled before release, but subsequent entries in the series had to be re-branded (and even then struggled to get off the ground).
Still, it's not impossible for canny developers to recover after critical failure. Final Fantasy XIV launched with a slew of technical problems and extremely poor reviews, but after undergoing a complete overhaul is now considered one of the better MMORPGs on the market. The original Assassin's Creed was also met with a middling reception; obviously, that series ended up doing just fine.
Until now, anyway. Ubisoft's still got a chance to turn this one around, if they can quickly address some of those performance problems and deliver with this year's other notable last-gen release in the series. Let's just hope that they can pull it off before more investors start to lose faith.
Source: Yahoo Finance