For a while, it seemed like nothing Ubisoft did would please the gaming community and reinstate the publisher as one of the most beloved in the industry. Series like Assassin's Creed went from being bona fide superhits and beloved entries to franchises that are constantly drawing the ire of the community.
This is not to say that Ubisoft had no hand in the fanbase turning a cold shoulder to them. Even in widely-enjoyed games such as Assassin's Creed Odyssey, fans held a grudge against the company for the inclusion of "time savers", which are essentially "microtransactions".
It also didn't help that many of Ubisoft's AAA releases were littered with glitches and bugs, with the larger sentiment being that the games had been rushed.
This resulted in Ubisoft becoming representative of everything fans felt was wrong with the AAA games industry.
Has Ubisoft finally turned things around in 2020?
In 2020, however, Ubisoft appear to have won back a large portion of their fanbase as two of the most anticipated titles of this year are Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin's Creed Valhalla.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla winning over disgruntled fans
Fans were initially not too impressed with Ubisoft's decision to go down the familiar and beaten path of Scandinavian history and Norse mythology with Vikings, seeing as there are plenty of games based on similar ideas like God of War and Hellblade.
Many fans have been vocal about their desires for an Assassin's Creed game set in Japan. However, some would agree that the ship has sailed in regards to that idea, with Ghost of Tsushima coming in to fill the Samurai-filled hole in the gaming industry.
The first few cinematic and gameplay trailers didn't do much to win fans over, with some vehemently against the complete RPG route Assassins' Creed has gone down. However, the new Gameplay Deep Dive's comment section on YouTube is buzzing with positivity as fans admit that they have finally been won over by Ubisoft with regards to Valhalla.
The RPG elements seem to be fitting into place, with Assassin's Creed fully embracing multiple storylines, level-based progression, skill-trees and varied enemy types.
Watch Dogs Legion and the revival of a franchise
Watch Dogs didn't get off to a great start and drew the ire of the critics as well as the fanbase with a controversial graphical downgrade and a severely lacking campaign.
In an interesting turn of events, the sequel to Watch Dogs not only managed to surpass the quality of the first game by leaps and bounds but also breathed new life into the franchise. While the game did not do well financially, it has definitely cultivated a devoted fanbase, and sales have gotten better over time.
Watch Dogs Legion, therefore, was a relief to the fanbase, with Ubisoft assuring fans that they had not given up on the franchise. Yet, fans remained cautiously optimistic with the upcoming open-world title.
The feature that allows users to recruit any NPC and play as them has been the subject of much fanfare and celebration. Much of the earlier impressions of the game have been massively positive, which means things are looking up for Ubisoft.
Ubisoft must capitalize on this resurgance
With Far Cry 6 just around the corner and the sequel to Rainbow Six Seige also drumming up anticipation, Ubisoft are potentially riding a wave of massive momentum.
Very rarely has a publisher introduced so many new IPs in gaming (Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, Far Cry, Splinter Cell, etc) and seen the kind of success that Ubisoft has.
Ubisoft are sitting on a goldmine, which is an enviable yet precarious position for a publisher to be in. Moreover, if Ubisoft can actually put Sam Fisher in a Splinter Cell game and not any of the other hundred franchises they have, it would be massively appreciated.Published 18 Oct 2020, 17:25 IST