Gaming

Ubisoft Working On New Ghost Recon Despite NFT Controversy

A Ghost Recon Breakpoint operator contemplates a future free of NFTs.

Image: Ubisoft

Ghost Recon Breakpoint has officially received its last update, Ubisoft announced yesterday. The news comes just a few months after the publisher’s disastrous experiment with adding NFTs to the game, and, we have learned, as its Paris studio works on the next mainline entry in the Ghost Recon series, according to two sources familiar with its development.

“The last four months marked the release of our final piece of content: the brand new Operation Motherland mode, tons of new items including 20th anniversary iconic outfits and Quartz items for Ghost Recon Breakpoint,” the publisher wrote in its announcement of the game’s wrapping up. “We will continue to maintain our servers for both Ghost Recon Wildland and Ghost Recon Breakpoint and we truly hope you will continue to enjoy the game and have fun playing in solo or co-op with your friends.”

The next Ghost Recon, codenamed OVER and originally leaked by Nvidia, has been in development for over a year and could arrive as early as fiscal year 2023, sources tell Kotaku. Instead of teasing that project as part of the series’ 20th anniversary last year, however, Ubisoft revealed development of Ghost Recon Frontline, yet another free-to-play live-service shooter deeply reminiscent of Call of Duty Warzone. Fans were less than enthusiastic, and following negative feedback from an internal playtest earlier this year, Kotaku understands the project to be undergoing a reset, and is unlikely to launch anytime soon.

It’s been an uphill climb for the Ghost Recon series for years now. Breakpoint was panned by fans and failed to meet sales expectations when it released back in 2019, in part due to new loot grind and survival mechanics that diluted the tactical shooter experience many came to the series for. Ubisoft’s Paris studio spent the time since diligently overhauling many of the game’s systems, adding new content, and trying to win back fans.

The Ghost Recon name took another big hit last December, when Ubisoft rolled out its new blockchain initiative called Quartz. The tech was used to add NFTs to Breakpoint, a move that few players seemed to engage with and many developers at the company disagreed with internally. “It’s three to four years of work for a fucking Auction House,” one current developer told Kotaku at the time.

With the end to Breakpoint updates comes new radio silence for the NFT push. According to two sources familiar with Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovations Lab, the team behind Quartz has gone mostly quiet internally following the initial backlash to its controversial experiment.

“As we’re rolling out the last update of Ghost Recon Breakpoint there will not be any additional content added to the game,” a spokesperson for Ubisoft told Kotaku. “We’ll have more to share regarding Ubisoft Quartz at a later date.”

A message on the Ubisoft Quartz website thanks Breakpoint players who claimed the initial NFTs. “You own a piece of the game and have left your mark in its history,” it states.

In the meantime, the publisher is currently hiring for a number of new blockchain related roles, including economists, content managers, and a producer to “Coordinate with game teams and help them integrating Quartz.”

If some Ubisoft developers remain frustrated and confused by the company’s NFT push, they’re also not all sold on its countless swings to recreate the live-service success of Rainbow Six Siege. Despite colorful battle royale Hyper Scape bombing, the company’s ongoing live-service shooters include not just Ghost Recon Frontline but also The Division Heartland, Xdefiant, and the recently reported project, Pathfinder. Described as a battle royale that pits players against AI-controlled enemies and one another, one source who corroborated its existence for Kotaku said they weren’t sure it would ever even come out.

When asked about these plans, a spokesperson for Ubisoft told Kotaku, “We won’t be commenting on rumors.”




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