Ubisoft is asking for reviewers to express patience when it comes to their upcoming racing game The Crew. Highlighting the game’s strong emphasis on its online interactions and community building, reviews for The Crew don’t become released from embargo until the game’s release date on December 2. In fact, press copies of the game won’t be available until launch day, limiting the chance for launch reviews to hit.
Doesn’t this sound familiar?
This move is coming mere weeks after Ubisoft’s rocky release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, a game that released to poor performance issues and bugs all while holding reviews under embargo until several hours after it was made available. A Ubisoft representative claimed that the embargo was delayed to give reviews the chance to look at the game under optimal online conditions but many felt that the glaring flaws of the game had little to do with any online functionality.
To make matters worse, the representative claimed that the features were vital, much like that in Bungie’s Destiny, a game that also felt criticism for their Activision’s decision to request that reviews be published after reviewers played all the online offerings, including their endgame content. Unfortunately for Ubisoft, at least Destiny had content at their endgame that differed slightly from their content leading up to it.
Amid the turmoil around Unity, Ubisoft even declined to give publications access to Assassin’s Creed Rogue, the Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 only title. The game received mixed reviews and many reviewers pointed out the fact that the review copy was not provided nor did Ubisoft actively push for Rogue coverage.
As far as The Crew is concerned, the move is another chalk mark in the shady category for Ubisoft. On the one hand a game like The Crew, that touts a strong focus towards online interactions, needs to be reviewed under conditions where communities can be formed and network performance can be evaluated. Ubisoft was likely paying attention to the dreadful release of Sony’s Driveclub and wanted to be given a fair shake.
Unfortunately that logic doesn’t work. Microsoft released Forza Horizon 2 to a ton of praise two weeks ahead of the game’s launch. And when the game finally launched, the game didn’t even experience a shade of the trouble that Driveclub did.
I truly do hope that The Crew turns out to be okay. I like silly racers with ludicrous upgrades. With the game’s promise to have a fully functional (miniaturized) version of the continental U.S., I hope The Crew fills a void that would echo back to days of Cruis’n USA or something along those lines.
But c’mon Ubisoft. Build a product that works. And support it fully.