Even as Ubisoft has strong plans for the future, those goals may never be reached if the latest reports are true. According to French law, any shareholder with more than a 30% stake in a company must submit a takeover bid. French media giant Vivendi recently jumped over the 30% after growing their 15% stake and will soon launch an unsolicited offer to take over Ubisoft. Ubisoft and the current management however, are turning to Canadian investors in an attempt to beat back this bid.
Ubisoft was formed by the Guillemot brothers in France and the family holds a large but not majority stake in the company. Vivendi already took over another Guillemot game developer, Gameloft and the family likely doesn’t want to lose their crown jewel as well. The move is part of Vivendi’s strategy to take to expand their already massive media portfolio with more gaming oriented business.
Guillemot brother and CEO Yves Guillemot had this to say:
“We want to increase the number of Canadian shareholders in Ubisoft to have better control over the capital. … We feel it’s a good defense.”
Canada may very well step in as there are 3,000 jobs in that country, about one-third of Ubisoft’s current workforce. While Vivendi likely won’t close down any Canadian studios like Ubisoft Montreal, future investment may potentially be focused more on France. Ubisoft also currently has a strong plan to grow revenue and all that could change after a takeover.
A takeover could also see talent and those loyal to the Guillemot to initiate a mass exodus to form a new firm. On the other hand, Ubisoft has been somewhat lax recently and there have been many complaints about their recent releases. Wether Canadian investors and the government will come to the Guillemot’s aid if needed remains to be seen.
A reddit user who was granted a visit to Ubisoft Montreal by the Make A Wish Foundation has revealed some interesting inside information regarding the development process of Assassin’s Creed: Unity. ‘w3r3w0lv33‘ recounts how, following conversations with Creative Director Alex Hutchinson, the developers knew that Unity was broken before release, but that it was only realised late in the development process which didn’t allow staff to fix the problems before it was sent out into the wild. He adds that the game’s problems were exacerbated by being always-online.
“We talked about nearly everything, including some pretty cool stuff.
He acknowledged that Unity wasn’t ready, but they didn’t find out until the very end. He said that since the game was always-online, it had a huge impact on performance. This is why when you play without Internet connection there’s generally better performance. However, Ubisoft didn’t want to delay the game to this year because that would have impacted the future Assassin’s Creed titles.”
‘w3r3w0lv33‘ also revealed that he took part in some motion-capture sequences for a new, as-yet-unknown Assassin’s Creed game, due to be unveiled on 12th May. “I can’t talk about it,” ‘w3r3w0lv33‘ says, “but perhaps in a few days.”
Assassin’s Creed Unity is the seventh instalment of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series and the game’s launch is just two months away. Based on early screenshots of the Xbox One version that have been leaked online it appears Ubisoft Montreal have quite a bit of work to do before the October 24th launch. As anyone who’s followed Assassin’s Creed Unity knows, Ubisoft has promised a truly next-generation console and PC gaming experience with improved visuals and dramatically improved AI and NPCs.
Looking at the leaked Xbox One beta build screenshots those things clearly aren’t ready yet – the streets are sparse and the textures are looking a bit last-gen. Of course, this is a beta build so they are likely to improve a lot before the final version. You can already see that the graphics are a cut above last-gen Assassin’s Creed games, expect the PC version to look even sweeter.
On a side note the guys over at GearNuke have spotted a few funny glitches with the beta build which have been compiled into GIF format. You can check those out below: