General Gaming News

Ubisoft Montreal cancels mysterious game three years into development


According to an insider source, Ubisoft Montreal has cancelled work on an unannounced live services game from the legendary studio. Ubisoft Montreal is one of several production studios owned by the French publisher. The company itself is most notable for its work within the Assassin’s Creed franchise. The studio is hard at work on 15 other projects at the moment, according to different sources. And with this new shutdown of an active project, fans are left wondering what’s next for the company.

The information was revealed on Twitter by Ubisoft programmer Louis de Carufel in posts that have since been removed. In a series of tweets, preserved below, we learn quite a few things about this mystery project. There’s a pretty strong likelihood that Ubisoft higher-ups canned the project after seeing early builds and deciding that the concept either didn’t work or that it was doomed in a crowded market.

I just learned that the project I’ve been working on for the past 3 years has been cancelled. This is tough news because I’ve been working with all these people for around 7 years, during which we have shipped both Watch_Dogs and Watch_Dogs 2.

However, the good thing about working at @UbisoftMTL is that nobody in the team has lost their job! Every single one of the 200+ people in the team will be reassigned to an existing project in the studio (there’s over 15 of them). We even get to choose which ones we prefer!

So it’s tough news, but I now see it as an opportunity to learn a new engine and meet new people. Some of the projects are shipping in 2020, while others are just starting. It’s gonna be a difficult choice!

This tease hasn’t confirmed what the game actually is, but some other details have since been revealed.

For one, it appears that the project was some kind of live service game, possibly drawing influences from the likes of Destiny 2 in tone and gameplay. The project has also allegedly been in the works for some time, so it seems like the concept was at least in working order and moving through the early stages of further development and refinement. So if the game was dropped after execs took a look at it, it’s possible that Ubisoft wanted to avoid becoming another Lawbreakers.

After all, Cliffy B’s attempt at “another billion dollar IP” infamously flopped after beta, garnering only a few thousand players at peak. Many blamed the industry fatigue from the hero-based shooter craze dominated by Overwatch for the failure. The similarities between Lawbreakers and Overwatch were too obvious to ignore, and Boss Key Productions could never really escape the looming shadow of Blizzard. And while that failure didn’t sink the company, repeated failures capped off by Radical Heights bombing, led to the company closing down rather quickly.

And while Ubisoft Montreal likely would not have closed if one project went poorly, there’s a ton of risk averse people in the games industry, and failure is always a looming threat. So it’s very likely that Ubi dropped the game after thinking it over.

The team working on this new game won’t be let go, and has likely been moved to other projects. So that’s good news. This also is unrelated to Pioneer, a game teased and then canned by Ubisoft last year. Cancellations in the games industry always stink but, at least people get to keep their jobs and Ubisoft has several other AAA projects in the pipeline for the next few years.

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ISKMogul is a growing video game publication that got its start covering EVE Online, and has since expanded to cover a large number of topics and niches within the purview of gaming.