2014 was a great year. We got excellent games, great promises for 2015, awesome and unexpected movies (How great was Guardians of the Galaxy?), and so much more that other people already covered on their retrospectives. But it's time to look at the bad stuff. And to my genuine surprise, this year bad stuff, was HypeUbisoft.
I'm not gonna lie, the year started out great, or so i believed. Watch_Dogs was with so much hype (that's a key word here), and we all know how that turned out. Glitches, hidden configurations on PC, awkward physics and AI, a boring upgrade system and reflexes of things that don't exist. Okay, was not a total train wreck, you can still find some joy in playing. "Things will get better", i said to myself.
Next, i played Valiant Hearts. Now things are getting in place. A beautiful story, with a cartoon visual (that goes surprising well with the theme of the game. I know, i was surprised too), good soundtrack and illogical puzzles (that last one was a huge letdown). Honestly, the plot was the only thing that kept me hooked on the game, and i was happy to see the WW I in a game, not as another shooter. "Now we're talking", i've said. I could't wait for the next game.
So, the new South Park game was released. I got admit, i was really excited. It seemed like South Park was finally getting a game that would live up to the show. Thankfully, it did. The hype was well deserved, the game is fun, but i don't think someone that is not a fan of the show would enjoy. I mean it.
Just one more bank accout and... I have a new bike. Because reasons...
Finally, i played Child of Light. Holy macaroni, that was good. The game was a welcome surprise, and it totally hooked me, start to end. The art, the music, combat, everything fells really good. At least, things were looking good to Ubi. And them, it happened... Call it whatever you want. A wrong step, a tech demo, a bad omen.
Oh boy, i call already fell the hate i'll get for this, but it must be said. AC: Unity was the biggest disappointment i had with the series since AC:III didn't offer the closure to the series it promised.
Again, the hype was huge. They promised the true next-gen AC. Multiplayer campaign, a skill tree to offer more variety on gameplay, the possibility to change gear, and thus changing the gameplay... It was all there. Including the bugs, the crashes, huge updates, a not working companion app, and the cursed micro payments in game... The whole thing fells unfinished, unpolished, untested, even now with so many (huge) updates, things are far from being good. I would go on and on about it, but there's plenty of people out there that had already spoken about the game.
AC: Unity was a huge spot on the shirt of the franchise, and if this is what Ubisoft has in mind for the future of the series, it might as well just end now with a reputation not so clean but not so dirty. You know the saying: "You either die as a hero, or live long enough to see yourself becoming a villain". AC is already a Anti Hero to me.
The rest of the year was just Far Cry (3+) 4, and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, i was really sad that the villain did not had more screen time, and the tower climbing thing seemed a little too needless. Last but not least, we got The Crew, the MMO car driving RPG (?). I didn't played it, but the first impressions on the web show that the game did not executed it's ideas well. Also, yet again, micro payments in game. Correct me if i'm wrong, but ins't wrong to sell power in a game that offers PvP of any kind?
Felling lazy? You can always open your wallet...
Ubisoft had a bumpy ride, but it was their fault. They decided to take the hard road, but they weren't ready to face it. It wasn't exactly a disaster, but i can't help but fell like all of that could had been avoided, with just pure effort. I can't help but fell like Ubisoft it's transforming it's IPs into money cows. I hope i'm wrong, i hope Unity was just a mistake, i hope i don't see the next Far Cry with a currency system. I hope i don't see Ubisoft walking down further and further into the dark side of the force. After this year, i believe that the expectations for 2015's Ubisoft games are not so high as they used to be for many people. Who can blame them? After all, you know something is wrong when said something is compared to EA.
Was this year a omen? Only 2015 will tell. Huh? Another Assassin's Creed? Victory? That sounds incredible ironic don't you think? I hope i'm wrong.
Hat's Thoughts is a column where i give my personal opinions on stuff, usually about the gaming industry. And no, i'm no journalist.