At Facebook Connect, Zuckerberg and friends showed off a bunch of new VR stuff for the Oculus line of VR headsets, but we’re not here to talk about that entire showcase. We’re here to talk about one specific company who was among Zuckerberg’s aforementioned friends showing off VR stuff: Ubisoft.
Ubisoft announced that two of its franchises are getting VR games. The first of which is Assassin’s Creed, which is probably not too upsetting for fans of the franchise, as there’s not been a point in time where Ubisoft wasn’t actively making mainline games in that series. Heck, the next one, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, is coming out in just a couple short months alongside the Xbox Series X/S. So even if you’re not stoked about the idea of putting on an Oculus headset for a new Assassin’s Creed, you can rest assured that the Assassin’s Creed experience you want (er, depending on what you want out of those games) is happening somewhere in the corners of Ubisoft’s digital offices. The same cannot be said for the second franchise Ubisoft is making a VR game of: Splinter Cell.
If you’re unfamiliar with the tumultuous history of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, the stealth series hasn’t received a real game in about seven years at this point since the release of 2013’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist. As Ubisoft admits, the game underperformed in terms of sales, with about 2 million copies having been sold in its first three months. Since then, Splinter Cell has gone mostly quiet as a name, but that hasn’t stopped protagonist Sam Fisher from showing up in various token offerings from Ubisoft since.
These crossovers have typically be within other Tom Clancy games. Most recently, Sam was made into a playable character in Rainbow Six: Siege, which was announced with an animated trailer at last week’s Ubisoft Forward. Before that, Sam showed up in DLC for both Ghost Recon: Wildlands in 2018 and in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint earlier this year. He’s also been part of Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad, a big ol’ crossover mobile game featuring him alongside characters from other games under the Clancy name that has already had its own fair share of controversy.
Oh, and Ubisoft is also making an animated series based on the franchise for Netflix, as well.
Look, all of these crossovers and fun little cameos are all well and good. But when they’re not accompanied by earnest support for a franchise a lot of people really love they don’t feel so great. Especially when it’s becoming a pattern for Ubisoft with its similar treatment of the Prince of Persia franchise, even with the Sands of Time remake on the way. Generally these kinds of token offerings are used to suss out whether or not there’s interest in a real return, but how many times does Ubisoft have to test the waters with Splinter Cell before it knows if people care? At this point, we’ve long surpassed “shit or get off the pot.”
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Both the Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed VR games are being developed by Red Storm Entertainment, a subsidiary of Ubisoft, collaborating with Ubisoft Reflections, Ubisoft Dusseldorf, and Ubisoft Mumbai.