Engadget is trying something a bit new this year for E3: live commentary for Ubisoft and Sony's press conferences. Because, really, we all need a break from overhyped PR jargon. At Ubisoft's media event, which kicks off at 4PM Eastern, we expect to hear more about Assassin's Creed Odyssey and The Division 2, which debuted during Microsoft's E3 event yesterday. Follow all the latest news from E3 2018 here!
In addition to a looming hostile takeover, Ubisoft corporate has to deal with over a million Euros in fines for alleged insider trading. The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) has levied a combined €1.27 million (almost $1.4 million) fine against Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat and VP of corporate affairs Francis Baillet. Executive director of worldwide studios Christine Burgess, Ubisoft Montreal VP of executive operations Olivier Paris and Damien Moret, who's the director of brand development for the company were also named. According to French publication Les Echos (translated), the country's stock market regulators found that those named sold stock in the company prior to the announcement that Watch Dogs and The Crew would be delayed out of the holiday release window in 2013. The news of those delays sent Ubisoft stock plummeting some 26 percent.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot previously called Vivendi's purchases "unsolicited and unwelcome," and he's been working on ways to fight the company's "creeping control" of his family's studio. In late May, Vivendi purchased a majority stake in Gameloft, the mobile games publisher also owned by the Guillemot family. Vivendi has said it has no plans to take over Ubisoft, but its stock purchases continue to worry the studio's founders. Guillemot told CNBC last week that Ubisoft's main goal is to remain independent. For an informative breakdown of the Ubisoft-Vivendi saga, see Game Informer's June explainer.
Ubisoft's survival shooter multiplayer title The Division had a successful launch back in March, but unpolished design choices erupted into outright game-breaking bugs in the free content additions released in the months thereafter. While the game's DLC roadmap pegged its second paid expansion Survival to be the next out the door, the studio will push that back until later in 2017 and dedicate the upcoming October update to fixing the core game. That leaves the third planned release, Last Fall, delayed until sometime in 2018. In a blog post, Ubisoft presented a laundry list of things the so-called Update 1.4 will address: fixing a ton of bugs in its Known Issues backlog, making loot drops more relevant, tweaking enemy difficulty, balancing gear and introductory adjustments to PvP and the Dark Zone. While admitting that there are too many issues to fix before you can release your shiny new expansion must be humbling, they're going so far as offering weekly State of the Game updates for their fans.
With more and more games turning into TV and movie properties (such as The Witcher, Street Fighter and Alan Wake), it's only natural that a major studio such as Ubisoft would want a bigger slice of the action. Among other projects, the company is working on scripts for a Child of Light TV series and a Werewolves Within movie, it told Variety. Both projects stem from the developer's Women's Film and TV Fellowship for screenwriters. Ubisoft allowed Mishna Wolff and Tasha Huo to base their projects on its intellectual property, and they opted for Werewolves Within and Child of Light respectively. After working with the company's film and TV development teams for several months, the writers both earned script deals with Ubisoft Motion Pictures following their successful pitches.