Ubisoft Continues Embargo Shenanigans With The Crew

The Crew

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.

The Crew

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.

The Crew

Polygon – Ubisoft warns players not to trust early reviews of The Crew

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Ubisoft’s 2014 Titles Gone from Steam

Assassin's Creed: Unity

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is scheduled to launch next week Tuesday on November 11. Except for Steam. In fact, several of Ubisoft’s big marquee titles for this Fall season are suddenly absent from Steam’s storefront. Not only is Unity missing, but Far Cry 4 and The Crew are also missing in action from Valve’s digital distribution service.

The games originally disappeared from Steam’s United Kingdom page but have since been removed from every Steam market globally. Searching the database yields no results for the upcoming games, no way to pre-order any of the games and there is no word on whether existing pre-orders will still be honored. The disappearance is curious, as Steam was very active in the pre-order marketing push for all three of the titles, citing exclusive items and even access to a beta for The Crew.

Far Cry 4

Both companies are currently quiet about the issue, if in fact, the issue has to deal with the two firms ironing out a a distribution deal. The most information came from a brief response from Ubisoft claiming they are in discussions with Valve regarding Assassin’s Creed: Unity. This isn’t the first time that Valve has had disagreements with a major publisher, with several snafus with Electronic Arts (ultimately pointing EA to create the Origin service) and a very slow release cycle for Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 3 from Ubisoft back in 2012.

Not having any of Ubisoft’s major titles available would be bad for both Ubisoft and Valve so it behooves both companies to come to an agreement quickly. Given Ubisoft’s strong fanbase and Valve’s position as the top PC digital distribution platform, I would be surprised if Assassin’s Creed: Unity misses its launch next week.

The Crew

PCGames N – Ubisoft’s new games aren’t available on Steam in the UK

Top Ten Tuesday E3 2013 Edition – Biggest News to Come Out of the Pre-Show Presentations

E3 officially begins today, as the show will open to denizens of reporters (not named Theory Flaw) ready for terrible food, hourly deadlines and product demos galore. But while many games will get their moment of glory in the coming days, the major players have already opened their hands for heads-up poker. Franchise reboots, new exclusives, new consoles and product strategy highlight this list of the biggest news to come out of the pre-show presentations.

10. Crimson Dragon

I had to try my hardest not to write Dragoon because this is clearly designed in the vein of the stellar dragon riding series Panzer Dragoon. Even bringing back Panzer Dragoon series director Yukio Futatsugi this Kinect based Xbox One game features massive bosses and gorgeous dragon-borne aerial combat. While I fear it may play a little too closely to Child of Eden, this is clearly a bold move by Microsoft.

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