South Park: The Stick of Truth Delayed. Again.

South Park: The Stick of TruthMore delays at UbiSoft. This time it is their South Park RPG that is taking the hit. Originally slated for a December 10 launch, South Park: The Stick of Truth will now be serving up crude humor and construction paper cutout animations on March 4, 2014.

Acquired as part of the THQ bankruptcy sale, South Park: The Stick of Truth has had several issues staying on point, despite all voices involved declaring the game has never been in trouble. Seems that this (obviously) hasn’t been the case as UbiSoft president lamented that the Obsidian developed RPG would need to be turned “upside down” in order to be a quick turnaround.

I have a bit of faith that at least the writing of the game should be entertaining, but the consistent delays have been taxing. Whatever early interest many have had in the game has devolved to the point where if the game is on shelves, maybe it will be worth a purchase.

At the very least, UbiSoft unveiled a new seven-minute trailer along with the announcement.

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A Next Generation Conundrum

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Yesterday marked the launch of two major titles heading into the madness that is typical for the fall release cycle. While both Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Battlefield 4 are sure to move millions of units, the intriguing aspect is that they are poised to be tentpole titlesĀ  for both the outgoing consoles and the soon to be launched PS4 and Xbox One.

While I’m not overly concerned about Battlefield 4 as I will most likely adopt that later at a lower price (perhaps even on the PC), the Assassin’s Creed launch has put me in a peculiar situation. I’ve supported the series since its inception back in 2007, even through last year’s disappointing outing of Assassin’s Creed III.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Continue reading

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD Due Early 2014

Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD

UbiSoft’s previously PS Vita exclusive Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is set to make its HD remaster debut on current generation consoles early 2014. While no Xbox 360 release date is being slated beyond “early 2014,” the hit Vita title from 2012 is set to launch on PlayStation 3 January 14 and Windows PC January 15.

AC: Liberation was praised for its bold narrative, a story centering around the assassin Aveline, a half French half African-American woman in the years preceding the American Revolutionary War in Louisiana. It was certainly a game that caught my attention, in particular for its tone and setting coupled with the fact that it is the best looking mobile version of Assassin’s Creed to date. I had previously been holding out for a console release as many viewed the game as solid, but something that would ultimately benefit from seeing a console release.

Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD

I am a little concerned at the lack of a immediate release date for the Xbox 360 as UbiSoft has been making a conscious effort to distance itself from Microsoft. What started as time-based exclusivity on DLC for games like Watch_Dogs has extended to franchises that have performed well on the Xbox brand, including Assassin’s Creed. Further muddling the relationship is that the Xbox One’s software status seems to be pushing forward while UbiSoft is mired in delays with their next generation fare, especially with the company’s push for support in Sony’s PlayStation 4.

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation has a base price of $19.99 and includes a special promotion of a $5 discount with the purchase of the Assassin’s Creed IV DLC season pass.

Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD

Watch_Dogs Delayed Until 2014

Hotly anticipated as a day one launch title for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, UbiSoft’s near-future open world title Watch_Dogs has been delayed until 2014. The move puts the game back at least five months to at least an April 2014 window.

Watch_Dogs

You may recall that it was Watch_Dogs that initially spurred the early rumors of next generation consoles being in development as much of the technology shown in its initial demo at E3 2012 where beyond the capability of current consoles. The game has slunk back in the gaming hype this fall, despite UbiSoft prepping the game as the next big open world game, so a delay isn’t terribly surprising.

Personally, I found Watch_Dogs to be an intriguing title, but one that didn’t show me enough through its development process. With UbiSoft splitting development resources on versions across six platforms, it seemed to lack a special spark that would crown it worthy of being a next-gen title. The game has certainly shown glimmers of being a memorable game but its uninteresting story and rough looking current generation versions has me wary. Consider also that current generation open world games like Grand Theft Auto V and Saints Row IV have been stellar and UbiSoft was right to take the time to develop Watch_Dogs. Hopefully with a little more time to polish the game for a lonelier launch in the spring, Watch_Dogs can develop into something special.

Watch_Dogs

While UbiSoft has certainly shown the ability to hold major releases in tight windows, Watch_Dogs November launch would put it squarely between UbiSoft’s other major releases of Assassin’s Creed IV and South Park: The Stick of Truth. At the very least, moving Watch_Dogs away from these releases prevents the cannibalization of their own sales.

It hasn’t been a great week of news for UbiSoft. The French company announced that both Rayman Legends and Splinter Cell Blacklist fell short of sales expectations along with the delay of next generation racing game, The Crew.

Top Ten Tuesday – Tom Clancy’s Gaming Inspiration

The DIvision

Government. Espionage. Military. Tom Clancy, the best selling author and co-founder of development studio Red Storm Entertainment, died October 1 at the age of 66. While Clancy was best known for his career as the author of military and espionage thrillers like The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Red Storm Rising, he has also been able to elevate his stories from page to screen in blockbuster film adaptations and ultimately becoming a pioneer in modern games development. While not solely responsible for the popularization of Splinter Cell’s Sam Fisher or Rainbow Six’s Ding Chavez, Clancy provided the guidance and vision that allowed Red Storm Entertainment to become a AAA development studio under UbiSoft’s banner.

So while I wait patiently for next year’s launch of The Division, here are ten of Tom Clancy’s gifts to the gaming world.

10. HAWX

HAWX

While not anywhere near the pantheon of stellar flight combat simulators, HAWX deserves credit for carving out a little niche typically reserved for the Ace Combat series. Not robust enough to be a simulator but still grounded in the Clancy brand of potential realism, HAWX managed to toe the line between simulator and action-oriented flight combat simulator. While not the soap opera that its rival Ace Combat was, HAWX shared storyline with Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 provides just enough unique narrative. Continue reading

Assassin’s Creed III Review – Getting lost in the wilderness

Games like to make a lot of promises. The whole hype machine is solely based on a game’s potential. It all looks fantastic on paper: a powerful new game engine, a grand backdrop to fully explore, an immersive gameplay that features a variety of modes. It is all very Peter Molyneux, the legendary developer who promises revolutionary grandeur but only delivers a nice little story. Assassin’s Creed III is such a game.

Assassin's Creed III

I’ll admit it, I had a ton of hope for AC3. I consider it one of the key franchises of this console generation and have been following the series since its inception. While the first title following Altair ibn-La’Ahad was an interesting excursion through twelfth century Israel, it was the charm and fire of Italian Ezio Auditore and his transformation to master assassin that elevated the series to a blockbuster level. Combine Ezio’s tale of vengeance with the rich setting of renaissance Italy, and I was hooked.

So what could possibly have gone wrong?

Continue reading