Owners of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PS4 video game consoles will need to wait even longer to experience Ubisoft’s role-playing, apocalyptic game. Earlier this week the company confirmed that the The Division release date was delayed again.
Ubisoft didn’t announce a delay for The Division release on its website or in a press release. Instead, the move was tucked into a financial earnings call, according to Polygon. Speaking on that same call Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot clarified the thought process around moving the The Division release date, saying, “It is never an easy decision to move launch dates, but we are committed to making decisions that will benefit the players.” With a statement like that it seems pretty clear that Ubisoft moved The Division release date because it wasn’t confident it could deliver a stellar experience for gamers on time.
The Division is now set for release in the fourth quarter of Ubisoft’s fiscal year. That roughly puts The Division release date somewhere between the beginning of January and the end of March 2016.
No doubt, the company is trying to play it safe and strike a balance between delivering titles on time and delivering titles that are as bug free as possible. It was Ubisoft that caused a firestorm last year when it delayed Assassin’s Creed Unity by a week. When the game did launch it suffered from a lot of bugs. Some bugs were so severe that the game would completely crash without warning. Ubisoft eventually fixed the game and gave away downloadable content as an apology.
Originally, The Division was a video game slated for release on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC in 2014. Ubisoft actually showcased the game during E3 2013, the same Electronic Entertainment Expo event that Sony and Microsoft detailed their then next-generation consoles. The Division was designed exclusively for those consoles. Videos of the game indicate Ubisoft is aggressively pushing looks and graphics for The Division.
The New York City that acts as the game’s setting has been devastated by a virus that has killed millions. The streets of New York City are empty as you traverse them, trying to do anything you can to save what’s left of civilization in the city. It’s a mission given to the government agency you work for by the President of the United States himself. The entire United States government has collapsed. The virus that killed millions and caused the government to implode broke out on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.
Beyond the apocalyptic setting, it is the play mechanics that are attracting so much attention for The Division. Instead of a single player narrative, The Division is an open-world game. Players are free to traverse the empty streets of New York City at their own will. What’s more, it’s an online multiplayer game, making the environment feel more alive — if Ubisoft delivers what it has teased so far.
Ubisoft says it expects to sell less copies of The Division now that its releasing after the holiday season. Significantly lower sales could harm the game since it’s so focused on multiplayer to begin with. Still, delaying the game is the smart move to make. Releasing the game broken could damage the already fragile relationship with gamers that Ubisoft is trying to rebuild.
It’s worth noting that Ubisoft isn’t the only video game developer delaying games that were originally slated for a 2015 launch for the Xbox One and PS4. Sony recently revealed that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End won’t launch until 2016. Microsoft and developer Remedy also delayed this year’s Quantum Break into 2016, citing the need to space out holiday releases for the Xbox One.