Ubisoft’s New Far Cry Game Is Under Pressure to Perform
(Bloomberg) -- Ubisoft Entertainment SA usually releases several blockbuster video game titles a year. But in 2021, thanks to a string of delays caused in part by the pandemic, the French publisher has just one: Far Cry 6, which comes out Thursday for PCs and consoles.
The stakes are high for the latest entry in the nearly two-decade-old franchise. Ubisoft shares have fallen more than 40% from a January high largely due to a weak software lineup and the fallout from allegations of sexual misconduct last summer.
“Ubi needs a hit,” said Doug Clinton, a managing partner at Loup Ventures. “They’re in culture hell and the stock has underperformed other major publishers. A hit could restore some badly needed momentum to both company and stock.”
Clinton said he expects Far Cry 6 to outproduce 2018’s Far Cry 5, which sold 5 million copies in its first week. Anything under 6 million units would be “a big disappointment,” and Ubisoft’s shares could languish during the wait for the next big title, he said.
Far Cry 6, a first-person shooter, is set on a Cuba-inspired island called Yara, amid a bloody revolution. The game features Giancarlo Esposito, the star of hit TV series “Better Call Saul,” as the antagonist, dictator Antón Castillo. The player becomes a guerrilla fighter and sets out to take him down.
Early reviews have been mixed, with many critics noting that Far Cry 6 follows the same open-world formula as many of Ubisoft’s other big franchises, such as Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs. Some reviewers expressed disappointment with the game’s depiction of Latin America.
Bloomberg spent a few hours with the game and found it slick and fun, if formulaic. It will feel very familiar to anyone who has played previous Far Cry games. Esposito’s performance is a highlight but his appearances aren’t as frequent as this reporter would have liked.
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