Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
In the first roundup of 2023, Ubisoft and Nintendo have different levels of success
Ubisoft Aren’t Doing Very Well
Ubisoft have announced that their financial results for 2022 were “disappointing” and have cancelled numerous projects in response.
According to Ubisoft, sales of their games have been disappointingly low, with Mario & Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023 cited among the worst offenders. Their reasoning is that games outside their big brands aren’t selling, and so will be doubling down on them. What are those brands? Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, The Division, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six. You will notice that three of these are Tom Clancy franchises. They’ve also cited economic conditions in the wider market as part of the problem which…uh…yeah, fair enough.
In response, they have cancelled multiple unannounced games, and pushed back the release of pirate game Skull & Bones yet again, this time citing a release early in the financial year 2023-2024 (ie. April at the earliest). They have also confirmed a greater focus on live service titles.
What’s interesting about Ubisoft’s conclusion is that the “worst offenders” were two of only three games that Ubisoft released in the last year, the third being Rainbow Six Extraction, a game that received a ton of poor reviews from critics and players alike. It’s also fascinating that they want to double down on live services when most of their recently launched titles of that kind have done poorly, and the upcoming new Tom Clancy IP is already garnering a poor reception.
Naturally, CEO Yves Guillemot has laid the responsibility entirely at the feet of his staff, as he addressed them in a company-wide email urging them all to do better, stating “the ball is in your court.” This is, of course, the same Yves Guillemot who failed to address widespread sexual harassment happening within his company, even when some of it was being perpetrated by his right-hand man. So perhaps it’s not surprising he’s refusing to take any responsibility.
It’s possible that Ubisoft’s struggles have come from a mass exodus of staff because of said mishandling of a major scandal amidst a huge wave of new studios setting up shop in Montreal coupled with Ubisoft’s reputation now being that of a company who make decent yet completely uninspiring titles built on a formula. But we won’t see that in their reports.
Nintendo Are Doing Incredibly Well
Despite Sparks of Hope being considered a flop by Ubisoft’s standards, their license partner in the project has been having much better luck.
After a close race with Sony and Microsoft in December, the Switch has gone on to be Europe’s best-selling video game system of 2022. This includes the UK, which has been cited as Europe’s biggest gaming market. Nintendo also take seven spots of the top 20 best-selling games for the year, with Mario Party Superstars, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Switch Sports, Mario Kart 8 and all three Pokémon releases (Scarlet and Violet are listed as separate releases) all finding a place in the list.
What’s more, the Switch is now the third best-selling console of all time, having overtaken the Game Boy family in December. However, while this is impressive, it still has a long way to beat its rivals in second and third. The Switch is now on 118.99 million sales vs the Game Boy’s 118.69 million, but the top spots are currently held by the DS in second and PS2 at the top, which are both north of 150 million.
It’s an impressive feat though, and Nintendo must be pleased with the Switch’s unstoppable performance after the failure of the Wii U.
Kandria (PC) is a side-scrolling open world game full of hack and slash gameplay, Celeste-style platforming challenges and two warring factions you have to choose your allegiance to, all set in a post-apocalyptic landscape.
Lone Ruin (PC, Switch) is a roguelike action game with more than a little similarity to Hades. An spell-flinging explorer enters an ancient city seeking a great power, while battling enemies with twin-stick style gameplay.
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider (PC, PlayStation, Switch) is exactly the kind of throwback platformer that fans of Ninja Gaiden and Strider are looking for. You play as a ninja super soldier who turns on the authoritarian regime who created him, waging a war of revenge across a series of classic-style levels.
One Piece Odyssey (PC, PlayStation, Xbox) is a game celebrating the 25th anniversary of the One Piece anime franchise. Take control of Monkey D Luffy and his crew on a vast RPG telling an original story set in the universe.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week this week is Children of Silentown (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox), a spooky little point and click adventure.
You play as Lucy, a young girl living in a village where disappearances are common. Now that she’s old enough, she decides to get to the bottom of what’s going on, delving into the mysteries of the village and braving the forest where no one dares set foot.
There’s a great spooky setting at play here, and the art style, clearly inspired by Tim Burton and the likes of Coraline, is gorgeous. Mechanically it appears to be a pretty standard point and click with a few darker elements to shake things up. Definitely looks like it’s worth a go though.
See you again next week for more from the world of games!