Ubisoft Cancels Three Unannounced Games, Delays Skull and Bones for the Sixth Time
Ubisoft has announced that it has, for the sixth time, delayed Skull & Bones, as well as canceled three more unannounced games amid “major challenges” in the industry, the underperformance of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023, and an upcoming “restructuring.”
In a press release today, Ubisoft outlined a new strategy for the remainder of its fiscal year, as well as lowered expectations for the last fiscal quarter. Ubisoft explains the move as a result of the company “facing major challenges as the industry continues to shift towards mega-brands and long-lasting titles than [sic] can reach players across the globe, across platforms and business models.”
While Ubisoft notes its goal has been to build large, overarching, global brands, the release adds that “games from this investment phase have yet to be released, while our recent launches have not performed as well as expected.” Specifically, the press release later calls out Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope as underperforming in the final weeks of 2022 and early January despite “an ambitious marketing plan.” Just Dance 2023 underperformed as well.
In response to these issues, Ubisoft is delaying Skull & Bones for the sixth time, and is also canceling three unannounced projects on top of the four it already canceled last year. For Skull & Bones specifically, the new target looks to be “early 2023-24.” Assuming this means fiscal year, the soonest we’ll see Skull & Bones now will be April of 2023, and may be as late as December.
Ubisoft is also depreciating €500m of research and development on upcoming premium and free-to-play games and the games they’re canceling, and it’s looking to both focus on fewer games going forward and potentially restructure and reduce costs in the coming year. It’s reduced its net bookings target for the quarter ending in December to €725m from its previous target of €830m.
During an emergency investor call today, this news certainly worried some investors, who questioned what Ubisoft had remaining in the tank with all these delays and cancellations. They were reassured that for next fiscal year (the one that starts in April), Ubisoft has Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora (which was already delayed once), Assassin’s Creed: Mirage (revealed last September), and “other premium unannounced games, including a large one.” Oh, and Skull & Bones…if it doesn’t get delayed for a seventh time before then.