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Former Ubisoft Developers Announce Online Fighter Absolver With Devolver Digital

Publisher Devolver Digital has announced Absolver, an online strategic fighting game set to release in 2017.

The game will take place in the fictional Adal Empire with masked protagonists connecting with one another online and fighting each other. You can check out the trailer below to get a sense of how the combat will work.

Its developer, Sloclap, was formed in 2015 by former Ubisoft members who worked on games like Watch Dogs and the Ghost Recon series. Absolver is planned for release on PC and consoles next year, with more details about the game planned for reveal at E3.

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Ubisoft Reveals Four Editions And Preorder Bonus For Ghost Recon Wildlands

Alongside a trailer showcasing the game in action, Ubisoft has released details about the various editions of Ghost Recon Wildlands that will be available for purchase.

They are:

  • The Standard Edition ($ 59.99)
  • The Deluxe Edition ($ 69.99)
  • The Gold Edition ($ 99.99)

There is also a collector's variant of those three editions that comes with a figurine (pictured above)  and collectible posters. The collector's edition of the Standard costs $ 119.99, Deluxe $ 129.99, and Gold going for $ 159.99.

According to Ubisoft, anyone who preorders the game will also receive a bonus mission set in Bolivia.

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Better productivity through game design: Ubisoft shares tips at GDC Europe

Come to GDC Europe and learn how Ubisoft applies game design principles to improve its production tools and processes on games like Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed. …


Gamasutra News

Ubisoft aims to launch a mobile Assassin’s Creed MMORPG in China

Ubisoft and Chinese mobile game publisher OurPalm have come to an agreement that will see the pair collaborating on a mobile MMORPG for China based on Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise. …


Gamasutra News

The Division Now Has 9.5 Million Players As Ubisoft Profits Climb

The Division continues to build a strong player base, as Ubisoft report the game now has 9.5 million players. According to the publisher, those users are online with the game for an average of three hours per day.

This news comes along with the company’s year-end financial report that shows a dip in sales but profit growth thanks to cost control. Last year, Ubisoft pointed to Watch Dogs, Far Cry 4, and Assassin's Creed Unity as top performers as all three were in the top seven sellers industry-wide in 2014.

Sales slipped 4.8 percent to €1.39 billion ($ 1.58 billion). Due to 30.1 percent drop in sales, general, and administrative expenses though, operating income rose by 12.1 percent to €169 million ($ 192.7 million) and net income climbed by 14.6 percent to €129 million ($ 147.1 million). Digital now represents 32 percent of Ubisoft sales, up from 26.1 percent in the previous year.

The coming year sees the release of more AAA games than the publisher’s recently finished fiscal year (five compared to four). We know Assassin’s Creed isn’t among them, but Watch Dogs 2, For Honor, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and an as-yet unannounced AAA game.

Ubisoft is also going strong on VR with the upcoming releases of Eagle’s Flight and Werewolves Within. The publisher will be holding an earnings call this afternoon with more information on its recently completed year and upcoming slate.

[Source: Ubisoft]

 

Our Take
Ubisoft had a rough third quarter in terms of sales, but careful cost control seems to have had significant benefit to the bottom line in spite of that. The one thing lingering is Vivendi’s move against Ubisoft with creeping control via incremental stock purchase. Hopefully we’ll hear more from Ubisoft about how it is combatting the aggressive moves on the call.

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Vivendi snaps up even more Ubisoft shares

French multinational media conglomerate, Vivendi, has made another move on Assassin’s Creed creator, Ubisoft.  …


Gamasutra News

[Update] Vivendi Tightens Hold On Ubisoft With Additional Stock Purchase, Ubisoft Responds

Update: Ubisoft has commented on Vivendi's continued, incremental acquisition of outstanding shares. The Assassin's Creed publisher has taken a firm stance against the action, issuing a blunt statement regarding Vivendi's latest purchase and its statement on the intention behind it.

The full statement, provided to us via email by a company representative follows:

We are not at all surprised by this latest statement from Vivendi, nor by the intent behind it.

This is a confirmation of their habitual strategy of creeping control, in which they say they have no intention to take control of Ubisoft while steadily increasing their stake and preparing an offensive at the next Annual Shareholders Meeting.

This strategy of successively announcing conflicting intentions is contrary to good corporate practices and is not in the best interests of Ubisoft’s other shareholders.

Moreover, despite our repeated written requests since they first entered into our capital, Vivendi has never presented any details or convincing plan on how this supposed cooperation would take place.

Ubisoft's management remains committed to preserving the independence of the company, which is the condition for the long-term value creation that will benefit all of our shareholders.

Original Story:

Vivendi has been making moves in the video game world just three years after receiving a huge buyout/bailout package from Activision to the tune of $ 8 billion. The company has been buying up shares of Ubisoft hinting at a hostile takeover.

The latest purchase brings Vivendi’s control to 17.73 percent of capital and 15.66 percent of voting shares, according to a Reuters report. In the letter from the company to French market regulators, Vivendi says it has “no plans” to take over the Assassin’s Creed publisher, nor will it be making a public offer for outstanding shares.

Ubisoft has said that it deems Vivendi’s actions unwelcome and unsolicited. The publisher has made moves in Canada to secure additional private and public investment. 

In February, Vivendi made a move to take over Gameloft. That company is owned by the Guillemot family, which also founded Ubisoft.

[Source: Reuters via Gamasutra]

 

Our Take
In the video game world, we’ve learned to interpret “no plans” as “something that could happen, but we aren’t talking about right now.” It doesn’t mean Vivendi won’t make a move on Ubisoft.

The overtures are there, and Vivendi has been making moves on Guillemot family companies for months now. And it’s been doing it with a warchest built from Activision’s emergency buyout when Vivendi was in deep financial trouble. This is a strange but fascinating cycle to watch.

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Ubisoft Addresses Cheating In The Division With A Huge Wave Of Bans And Suspensions

Complaints about cheating in The Division continue to swirl around the game, with some credible sources wonder if the cheating can even be fixed at all. In response, Ubisoft has released a statement detailing steps being taking to stymie cheating and bug exploits.

New cheat detection methods and harsher penalties for those caught cheating are at the forefront of a new wave of suspensions and bans that will be rolling out over the next few days. This is the largest wave of punishments handed down to date.

Ubisoft addressed its efforts in a blog post today, saying there will be a list of known exploits and the consequences for abuse. You can read the whole statement here.

Our Take
Step into any major hub of Division discussion on the internet like the game's subreddit or other forums, and you're likely to find a ton of conversation regarding how cheats are a serious, serious problem. Cheating and exploits in MMO-like titles can ruin the experience for everyone, so it's great to see Ubisoft taking these problems seriously and coming down hard on offenders. I'm hoping they can continue to come up with new ways to keep the game fun and cheat-free for everyone. 

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Desilets ends legal fight with Ubisoft, regains rights to 1666

Longtime game designer Patrice Désilets took to Twitter today to announce that his ongoing legal fight with former employer Ubisoft is over, and he’s regained rights to his onetime game project 1666 Amsterdam. …


Gamasutra News

Ubisoft, Patrice Désilets End 1666 Amsterdam Dispute, Rights Return To Creator

The lawsuit between Patrice Désilets and Ubisoft over. The long, drawn-out battle for the rights to the 1666 Amsterdam project Désilets originally started with THQ ends with Ubisoft returning the rights to the project and all its assets to Désilets. In return, the Assassin's Creed creator has dropped his lawsuit.

Ubisoft acquired Désilets and the game in an auction of THQ's assets following the company's bankruptcy. Shortly after the acquisition, the deal turned sour. When they couldn't reach an agreement over the oversight of the project, Ubisoft terminated Désilets and shelved the project, which led to the lawsuit. 

"I’m glad Ubisoft and I were able to come to an agreement that will allow me to obtain the rights to project 1666 Amsterdam,” Désilets said in an official statement. “I will now devote myself entirely to the development of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, my next game with Panache Digital Games. This is what matters most to me today: making the best games and showing the world the creative talent of Quebecers. I also wish every success to the Ubisoft teams.”

Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat also issued a statement: “Putting aside our past differences, Patrice and I are above all interested in the creation of video games and the evolution of this medium of entertainment. This agreement is good news for everyone. Ubisoft’s creative teams are currently working on innovative projects that will mark our industry for years to come. This is precisely where we want to focus our energy, on our teams, to continue what we have been building in Quebec for nearly 20 years. As we have always said, Patrice is a talented designer and we wish him all the best in the development of his future endeavors.”

To read more about the dispute between Désilets and Ubisoft, read our extensive Life After Ubisoft article that details the fallout and lawsuit.

 

Our Take
High-profile cases like this rarely reach the courtroom, so we aren't surprised that the two parties found a resolution outside of a long, drawn-out legal battle. The big question is now when, if ever,
Désilets will return to the project. Right now he has the funding for Ancestors, so we don't expect him to resume development on the ambitious open-world action game any time soon. 

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