Games publisher Ubisoft has decided to delay many of its forthcoming triple-A games, reportedly to avoid poor sales figures and critical reception, as experienced recently by Ghost Recon: Breakpoint.
The most upsetting of these is the delay to Watch Dogs Legion - the game we proclaimed as our favourite during E3 2019.
Originally due for release on 6 March 2020, it has been put back to the second half of the year.
Rainbow Six Quarantine was also due for release in the first quarter of 2020, while Gods & Monsters - the new game from the Assassin's Creed team - was scheduled for a 25 February release. They too will now come out later in the year.
The long-awaited multiplayer pirate skirmish game, Skull & Bones, which we've been enthusing about since E3 2017 is now unlikely to see the light of day before 2021.
Ubisoft puts the problems faced by Ghost Recon: Breakpoint and The Division 2 down to the lack of innovation in each, particularly the former, leading to underwhelming response from gamers and the media: "Our strategy of introducing gameplay innovations in our games has had a very positive impact on our brands. However, to win over players, these innovations need to be perfectly implemented in order to offer an optimal experience," wrote Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillermot in an earnings report. "This has not yet been sufficiently the case with Ghost Recon: Breakpoint.
"While the change of formula has been very well received by some players... Ghost Recon Breakpoint did not come in with enough differentiation factors, which prevented the game’s intrinsic qualities from standing out."
The company is therefore keen to give the development teams of its forthcoming games more time to ensure that they differ enough from previous outings to make them more worthwhile: "We want our teams to have more development time to ensure that their respective innovations are perfectly implemented so as to deliver optimal experiences for players," he added.
The delay will also allow the company to mark their sales on the next financial year results, to start in April 2020, rather than be soaked up by this year's.