The Crew 2 might be struggling to garner praise on Steam, where its beta ratings were poor and its post-launch reviews are merely mixed, but Ubisoft is projecting contentedness with it all the same.
“Its activity is trending in line with The Crew 1, which had benefited from a Christmas launch. Its digital performance is outperforming,” the company CFO said during Ubisoft’s investor conference call yesterday, as quoted by GIbiz. “What we can say is the game is performing in line with the activity of the prior one. It’s really on par from where we stood with the prior one. We know also the prior one had a kind of slow start and started to pick up as we built up more content and activity in the game. So if we do that, I think there would still be significant part of the sales of that game in the next three quarters” – that’s because the first Crew game had a second year almost as strong as its first.
Overall, Ubisoft reported earnings far outperforming expectations, at $444.8 million net bookings, leading to a record first quarter, with the rest of 2018 projected to look sweet indeed thanks to the new Assassin’s Creed title and The Division 2.
With The Division 2 on the way for next year, fans of the series are trying to get a handle on just how much grouping they will be expected to do when it arrives. It turns out that the answer to that is, “As much or as little as you please, just give us your money.”
Ubisoft confirmed that it will be entirely possible to solo through the whole game: “You can play through the entire story campaign into endgame and [then the] endgame [content], alone… [But] you can also do the same content [in] two, three, or four player co-op. Or eight-player co-op, two full groups in the raid if you opt into the challenge that we’re adding. So it’s very important for us that you get to pick.”
We got an early look at The Division 2 last month at E3, including mentions of the franchise’s first-ever eight-player raids. Right now, players in the first Division can earn shields that will unlock rewards for the March 2019 sequel.
When people know the sequel to their current MMO is coming out, they tend to be less inclined to complete in-game challenges in the current game. After all, why take part in The Division content now when the next game is on its way? The newest patch for the game has an answer for that: you want to earn shields. No, not the pieces of equipment that you tend to wear in various other MMOs, the unique collectibles that allow you to unlock rewards in The Division 2 for obtaining them.
Players can earn four shields right now, and more will be rolled out over time to give players new things to chase after. The patch also brings in new audio logs and various balance tweaks, so while you prepare yourself for the follow-up game you’ll still have plenty to do in the existing game. And, you know, hopefully you’re having fun anyway.
At this year’s E3, Ubisoft creative director Julian Gerighty said team behind The Division 2 tried to learn “everything” from The Division to help make the sequel better. As he reminded me, the original game’s final DLC was especially meaty in terms of PvE content and PvP balance, but it’s the first impressions of the game that mattered most: The initial Dark Zone iteration is still what gamers remember best, and that’s not necessarily a compliment. I myself was not impressed with the original demo back in 2015.
But based on my preview of The Division 2 at this year’s E3, I can say that Gerighty’s team obviously learned quite a bit – and absolutely improved on the original.
There’s no pretense that The Division 2 is not going to build on what worked for the original The Division. You can watch the story trailer just below and see that yes, it’s going to be adhering to a similar formula. It’s just that now, instead of dealing with the remnants of society in New York City, you’re cleaning things up in Washington, DC. And it turns out the best way to clean things up in the wake of the pandemic that has struck the city is by shooting a whole lot of insurgents.
Of course, if the new setting doesn’t captivate you, perhaps you’ll be more interested by the gameplay trailer just below showing off the first shots of actual group gameplay in action. Obviously, it involves a fair bit of shooting things, but you knew that going in. It’s a lengthy demonstration, but it seems to confirm that the heart of the first game is still present in the upcoming sequel. It’s all launching on March 15th.
At Bethesda’s E3 presentation this evening, ZeniMax’s Matt Firor announced that The Elder Scrolls Online’s
next DLC is called Wolfhunter, complete with werewolf theme. And even later this year, we can expect yet another DLC called Murkmire – yep, we’re diving into Argonian culture in Blackmarsh. Finally, right?! The company promises both this year – in the “second half of 2018.”
Firor says the game is up to 11 million players, with 1 million new in the last year. There’s a brand-new trailer for E3, focused mostly on Summerset, as well as a Murkmire teaser.
At this afternoon’s EA Play, EA and BioWare have revealed Anthem’s brand-new trailer. The game is now slated to launch on February 22nd, 2019.
During the developer discussion, BioWare said it recognized the problems inherent in storytelling in a multiplayer shared world (reiterating Casey Hudson’s dev blog from not that long ago), but it thinks it’s found a way to reconcile driving the story without sacrificing multiplayer gameplay.
Characters will play as “freelancers” piloting Javelin exosuits, trying to survive in a hostile environment, and fighting the bad guys trying to exploit the power. There are four Javelins, each with a different way to play the game: Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor, Storm. “You are not your suit,” BioWare cautions; you can flip between them depending on the gameplay you want to take part in from moment to moment.
You’re probably mentally gearing up to hear more about The Division 2 at E3 this year, but Ubisoft has reiterated its resolve to continue supporting the original The Division with this week’s announcement that update 1.8.2 will launch on all three core platforms next week on June 14th.
“Players can expect two new Legendary mission modes for Madison Field Hospital and General Assembly alongside the newest system to The Division—Shields,” says the company. “More information on the Shields system will be revealed soon! We are also introducing Reactivation Caches that will be granted to all players with the launch of 1.8.2. Designed with new players in mind, these caches welcome Agents back to The Division by preparing players for end-game activities.”
The patch is also expected to roll out balance tweaks for classified gear and a bunch of bug fixes. Ubisoft’s E3 presentation is slated for Monday afternoon, so stay tuned!
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin delve into the future of Lord of the Rings Online, debate when a sub isn’t a sub, head on into Summerset, fly high with Worlds Adrift, and more!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
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With a strong fiscal year under its belt, Ubisoft’s future looks bright indeed. The studio posted its earnings report this week, stating that it made $2.04 billion in revenue and $164.7 million in net income — both a sizable increase from the year previous.
The earnings call gave us some indication as to the release windows of two of its future online games. The Division 2 is expected to come out before April 2019, which means that at the worst, we have slightly less than a year wait to go. The studio revealed that the first Division title racked up over 20 million players to date.
Players will have to wait longer than expected for Skull and Bones, however. Ubisoft announced that it will delay the launch of the multiplayer pirate game to April 2019 at the earliest “to offer players an even more engaging experience.”
Patch 1.8.1 has arrived in The Division, bringing with it the “Xbox One X Enhancement Patch” that adds 4K rendering and other shiny, purdy visual improvements.
Players will get to experience a pair of new global events for experienced fighters. In the Blackout event, players will run around shocking people and trying to perform one-hit-kill melee attacks. In Onslaught, there are many different types of damage that have to be juggled depending on the enemy faced.
The update also includes 40 new commendations, two legendary difficulty missions, division tech increases, a global events vendor, and plenty of bug fixes.
According to a report on Gamereactor, Ubisoft would like a piece o’ that PUBG and Fortnite action.
The publication claims to have an “anonymous source inside the studio” who’s told it that Massive is building a quick-turnaround battle royale clone following an Ubisoft directive in January. As VG247 pointed out, this isn’t much of a surprise; not only do game companies like money and trends, but Ubisoft in particular namedropped PUBG in an investor call last year, suggesting Ubisoft might add the mode to its existing games via DLC.
Ubisoft answered the rumors by saying, “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” which you’ll notice is not a denial.
As we’ve previously covered, Massive is also working on The Division 2.
The next update for The Division is arriving on the game’s live servers on April 12th, and aside from graphical enhancements for Xbox One X players, it also brings in two new global events. The Blackout event allows players to build up charge by shooting or running, with more charge meaning more damage. Meanwhile, next month’s Onslaught event adds extra damage types to gunplay, with reloading changing the effect and offering a chance at better damage.
Players can also look forward to higher Classified drop rates across the board and a 20% drop rate from Legendary missions; the patch, not coincidentally, is also adding two more Legendary missions for players. It’s all enough stuff to make both the content more rewarding and offer more content to be done at the same time; get ready to lock and reload when it’s live on April 12th.