Nov 15th, 2016

Yesterday someone uploaded what looked like a trailer for a new game that was found inside one of the side missions in Watch Dogs 2. The mission has players infiltrating a faux Ubisoft San Francisco office to steal a video game trailer in order to sell it to a gaming website. Plenty of people have chalked this up to Ubisoft liking to hide easter eggs for their games within games, but there may be more to it than that.

Earlier today, Kotaku reported that the game trailer you see above is for a real game that Ubisoft has been working on called Pioneer. That’s a fitting name, given the space travel tone of what we saw in the trailer. The sources also say that the game is in trouble with its current development.

According to one source, the game was supposed to be announced next year, but the game is being retooled so it will likely miss that date. Another source says when the company decided to make the game part of an easter egg appearance in Watch Dogs, those retooling changes hadn’t occurred.

When they decided to make the easter egg in Watch Dogs 2 they didn’t know it was going to be like this so it’s a bit awkward.

To that I say baloney. Massive video game companies like Ubisoft and EA don’t do things with no purpose. Ubisoft is especially on thin ice with gamers who feel as though the company is making all of their game franchises too homogenous. They’ve got a game they’re unsure about themselves, so they left the preview of it inside Watch Dogs 2 to see how the general community would react to the trailer itself.

Are people getting hyped about what they see? What does that amount to in terms of showcasing a new game that appears to be a space trucker sim survival horror game? Ubisoft wants to know what the world thinks of this game before it officially takes the lid off and commits to the creation.

They’ve been burned once before with gamers’ reactions to Watch Dogs when it finally released, as well as some of the comments the company made about why it chose not to have female assassins in their games. Ubisoft is learning from their mistakes. We got Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, which starred a pair of twin assassins (male and female) and now, they’re dipping their toes in the water with a new franchise without actually committing to it.

Under Pressure

vivendi-ubisoft

It’s no secret that Ubisoft is in the middle of fending off a hostile takeover from French media conglomerate Vivendi. The company has been buying up Ubisoft shares like mad in an attempt to become a majority shareholder and there were some fears that the company would try and insert people onto the board of directors.

While that didn’t happen back in September, Ubisoft is far from out of the water. Vivendi has been sniffing around the company for months and continues to buy shares despite Ubisoft filling those two open board of director positions with people loyal to CEO and founder Yves Guillemot.

Ubisoft has a vested interest in keeping its current shareholders happy, which is why it has a vested interest in only releasing products that it knows will succeed. For a while, Ubisoft was riding the annualization train just as hard as Activision with titles in the Assassin’s Creed series, so much that gamers got fatigued on the bland gameplay and sales plummeted. Ubisoft can’t afford to have that happen while Vivendi is nipping at their corporate heels.