Ubisoft has a busy year ahead of them. From the recent release of Child of Light, to sizeable driving MMO The Crew, a possible two Assassin’s Creed games and upcoming cyber sandbox game Watch Dogs, Ubi has a lot on its plate. As the age old adage goes; you don’t get to be one of the world’s most popular and successful video game publishers without managing your release schedule like your team’s starting lineup ahead of the World Cup.
Unfortunately, with so many games needing to be packed into a schedule that is already brimming with potential video game brilliance, something was always going to get bumped, with New York-spanning shooter The Division recently being pushed back to 2015. But with new quotes from an alleged developer within Ubisoft, it sounds as though The Division may be released even later — in 2016 — instead. Surprised?
The reason for the delay, the source of GameReactor claims, is due to The Division’s ambition as developer Massive is said to be having issues with the cross-platform features in the game. Bungie’s persistent online FPS Destiny is in a similar vein in that it’s “always on” but even that has public and private bubbles of play in which players are somewhat closed off from othera. The Division is significantly less like that with everyone coexisting all of the time, making it unique in what it’s doing. It’s a real-time legit MMO, potentially.
While the source also explains that the team has “been given increased resources” and they are “hiring lots at the moment and are given a lot of help from other Ubisoft teams,” they did say that we’ll have to look a little further forward for The Division’s actual release date.
“Sadly I still think that the [2015 release date] is a tad bit optimistic as we still don’t have a functioning game and still have massive problems making our multiplayer component work at the concept stage. At the same time both we and our publisher are incredibly happy with our game engine and Ubisoft will naturally make use of it in lots of upcoming titles.”
That functioning game, it’s said, will go to extreme lengths to be the best in the field. An example of this, according to the source, is that The Division uses over 1000 minor animations for simple movements such as couching behind a car door or skipping over a stone. It’s little wonder then, that Ubisoft would want to shift more focus onto the PS4 development of the game (which is said to be the lead platform) despite rumoured pressure from Microsoft to work harder on the Xbox One version.
“That’s not correct. PlayStation 4 is the more powerful hardware and we feel it is easier to develop for. Snowdrop works better on PS4 and even if Microsoft do want us to shift lead platform that’s not something that has happened.”
Saying that one console is undoubtedly better than its rival is certainly one way to rile feathers, especially after people were frustrated by game’s delay into 2015, but fans are not alone in their anger. “It felt like being punched in the face to be perfectly honest” said the source of the delay, although they explained that they “don’t want to do a Battlefield 4 and release an unfinished game” which is likely a nod to the Battlefield 4 bugs and glitches that even saw EA’s investors file several lawsuits.
Ubisoft’s delay is understandable then and while the wait will be unbearable for some, playing The Division in its best possible form is not something that many of us would be willing to pass up. Watch Dogs missed out on the lucrative PS4/Xbox One launch window during the peak Holiday season for the simple reason that it’s being built to be the best, and not built for a release date – and that’s a rare sentiment we can appreciate. It’s also common for Ubisoft who delayed Ghost Recon: Future Soldier more than once, who delayed Rayman Legends, delayed the last two Splinter Cell games, delayed South Park: The Stick of Truth, even delaying Far Cry 3 – the latter of which has a successor just announced for this fall.
While we don’t know if The Division will be delayed again, it wouldn’t at all be surprising if it was. In fact, that may be likely given Ubisoft’s history of shuffling its schedule. More development time ideally equals better product, and come this fall, we won’t be hurting for games to play.