It’s extremely common for a game to ship with an online social feature nowadays, as has been the case with games like Destiny and DriveClub. Assassin’s Creed: Unity has its own social features as well, allowing players to seamlessly hop in and out of four-player co-op. It’s this multiplayer component, and not the bugs, that forced the after-release embargo according to Ubisoft.
“Having the online elements available and having populated worlds is essential to creating a representative and complete experience for reviewers. Achieving this prior to launch is incredibly complex, which is why some games are being reviewed much closer – or as was the case with Destiny, even after – the game launches.”
Sure, not being able to connect with other players online puts a damper on the experience, but I’m not buying the idea that it’s too incredibly complex to replicate before launch. Case in point, Sunset Overdrive. Another single-player focused title with an online co-op component that still managed to have reviews out on time.
How? By setting up multiplayer sessions with developers and other journalists around the world during the week before, ensuring that you’d at least be able to get some multiplayer time in. As simple as setting up a time schedule. And if we could find a way to get it working here with our comparatively small journalist community, then I’m sure it’s not such a major issue.
Despite the excuses, Ubisoft acknowledged that what they did might have been a little underhanded. They’re planning to review their internal review policies to hopefully never have this happen again, although I’m a little skeptical.
“We are working to adapt our services and communications with consumers accordingly, both by changing the way we work with reviewers and by offering customers open betas or other early access to some games, all so that they have the information they need and want.”
Whether that means they’ll never try to embargo a game until after release again is uncertain, especially since it’s common practice for titles that publishers don’t have the utmost faith in. Another reason to stay your credit card in times of pre-order temptation.
Last Updated: November 14, 2014