Ubisoft Montreal News | PCGamesN

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Ubisoft prep more Child of Light projects

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Ubisoft prep more Child of Light projects

The release of Child of Light was a pivotal moment for Ubisoft. It was the baby of Patrick Plourde, who worked his way through the ranks at the publisher’s flagship Montreal studio and cashed in his influence for a shot at an oddball JRPG written wholly in verse.

The results didn’t wow everyone, but the example has rippled through Ubisoft, who have since funded projects like Valiant Hearts in Montpellier and Grow Home in Newcastle. And more is yet to happen in the Child of Light universe.

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Rainbow Six Siege alpha is a brilliant skeleton of a game

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Rainbow Six Siege alpha is a brilliant skeleton of a game

My ears are ringing and every noise I hear is deep and bassy. A dust cloud from a hole in the wall conceals everything in front of me, but as it dissipates there’s a flash of gunfire, then a response from an ally standing next to me. Another explosion, this time from the barricade, heaps chaos on top of chaos. A man starts to sing in French and another swears in English. 

The wall-demolishing vandal is dead, but his cohorts pour through a door, stepping on the splinters and wooden planks that were once our barricade. More gunfire, lighting up the room, piercing the smoke, and then… victory. The Frenchman is singing again. Yes, I think to myself, sing it. It was my first Rainbow Six Siege victory, and it felt great. 

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Far Cry 4 grows a new survival-focused open world today for Valley of the Yetis

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Far Cry 4 grows a new survival-focused open world today for Valley of the Yetis

After finishing the fantastic (and in places fantastical) Far Cry 4 last week, I felt no need to continue picking up the masks dropped by butter-fingers serial killers. Nor was I compelled to download the mish-mash of competitive modes and odd permadeath excursions that’d formed its DLC to date.

Valley of the Yetis is something different and intriguing, though: a new open world that takes advantage of Ubisoft’s free-rambling mechanics but fits them into a new structure - one that sets echoes of Minecraft and Fortnite bouncing between the peaks of the Himalayas.

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Why Far Cry 4 is wonderful for letting me choose my own subcontinental adventure

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Why Far Cry 4 is wonderful for letting me choose my own subcontinental adventure

There’s been a tendency in the more recent open-world Ubisoft games to track your progress with slightly unnerving precision. And even, after long periods of absence, to email you with the figures - as if you’ve failed to fulfill an obligation.

Any day now I’m expecting a note through the door to inform me that, though I’ve saved Kyrat, some 31% of the country remains technically unliberated. But I don’t think it’ll bother me, or awaken some untended completionist compulsion. Rather it’ll remind me of what an excellent job Far Cry 4 did in letting me play not just how I wanted, but how much I wanted.

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Assassin's Creed Unity companion app and Initiate rewards will be accessible to all

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Assassin's Creed Unity companion app and Initiate rewards will be accessible to all

Assassin’s Creed Unity’s fifth patch is due out for the PC version tomorrow, fixing a small number of issues. It’s a far cry away from the gargantuan patches of last year, which had to deal with hundreds of bugs

 

One issue has persisted throughout, though: the broken companion and Initiate apps. Patch 5 solves that by giving everyone all the exclusive content without needing to mess around on phones and in browsers. 

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Far Cry 4 expands its territory with another lot of DLC missions: Hurk Deluxe

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Far Cry 4 expands its territory with another lot of DLC missions: Hurk Deluxe

Far Cry 4 players will remember that Hurk is your fellow American and murder-tourist in Kyrat - the one with the beard and the inability to tell Golden Path from Royal Army. He also doubles as Player 2 avatar in co-op, but if you haven’t been bombing outposts with a friend you won’t have seen an awful lot of him.

That can change, if you want it to, with today’s Hurk Deluxe DLC.

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Looking back: why it's time to return to Far Cry 2

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Looking back: why it's time to return to Far Cry 2

I've been playing Far Cry 4 a lot the last few weeks, and the main thing that occurs to me is that it's not quite what I expected from the fourth game. I presumed something much different. The Far Cry series has always been about change and experimentation. The first three games, whilst all sharing common elements, are distinctly separate games in tone and feel. 

Far Cry 2 is the most obvious when it comes to being different. On the Venn diagram of Far Cry games it is the one that has the most components outside the shared zone. When it released in 2008 it wasn't fully embraced, with its harsh world and respawning checkpoints seen as a stain on the original game's fun legacy. But how does Far Cry 2 fit in today, in a world where Far Cry 4 is just more of Far Cry 3, and the shooter landscape is a distinctly different beast?

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Escape from Durgesh Prison: Far Cry 4 permadeath DLC ziplines in today

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Escape from Durgesh Prison: Far Cry 4 permadeath DLC ziplines in today

Far Cry 4 looks a bit like Skyrim, sometimes, when you’re picking flowers on the slopes of an unnamed mountain. But there’s something about the quick quest loops, and probably also the shotguns, that leaves it oh so much more frantic.

And if Far Cry’s frantic now, how do you think it’s going to be once you’ve been captured, tortured and stripped of your weapons in its Durgesh Prison DLC? And then, for good measure, set against the clock?

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Assassin's Creed Unity Dead Kings DLC gets a release date and a spiffy trailer

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Assassin's Creed Unity Dead Kings DLC gets a release date and a spiffy trailer

If you’ve not had enough of Assassin’s Creed Unity’s facsimile of revolutionary France, then you might consider grabbing the Dead Kings DLC, due out later this month. 

The DLC is free, to boot. It was originally part of the Unity season pass, but then Unity launched in a sorry state, with bits falling off and others being stuck together with chewing gum, so Ubisoft canned the season pass and is giving everyone Dead Kings. 

Take a look at the spiffy cinematic trailer, below. 

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Ubisoft ponder the future of Far Cry: will it hold dinosaurs, vampires or Vietnam?

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Ubisoft ponder the future of Far Cry: will it hold dinosaurs, vampires or Vietnam?

Ubisoft have sent a handful of Far Cry 4 players messages in the last few weeks. Not to ask them to deliver any ashes, or guilt them into liberating a put-upon Himalayan country, but to inquire as to where they’d like the next Far Cry game to be set. How about a “Jurassic Park style" dinosaur island? Or the Spaghetti Western-era Americas?

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Ubisoft expects Assassin's Creed Unity patch 4 to fix remaining bugs

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Ubisoft expects Assassin's Creed Unity patch 4 to fix remaining bugs

Assassin’s Creed Unity is a billboard sized advertisment for the follies of annualised games, which has lead to folks over at Ubisoft scurrying around, attempting to plug in the gaps and fix the game-breaking bugs. The last patch fixed over 300 bugs, but that didn’t solve all the problems. Patch 4 is underway, and a full preview of what it fixes is expected this week. 

In the meantime, Ubisoft has released details on the biggest problems it’s set to tackle. 

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Rainbow Six Siege won't strip players of control

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Rainbow Six Siege won't strip players of control

The trend of shooters stealing control away from players is an inexplicable one. Increasingly, interacting with the environment - beyond shooting - has been chucked out in favour of micro-cutscenes, where players are forced to watch their characters do things, absent any control. 

Rainbow Six Siege is not going down that path. It’s a skill-based shooter where precision is key, so the trappings of the cinematic shooter don’t really have a place in it. It’s in stark contrast to Ubisoft Montreal’s other shooter series, Far Cry, which espouses freedom but frequently takes it away. 

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The making of Watch_Dogs: money, manpower and Ubi Montreal

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The making of Watch_Dogs: money, manpower and Ubi Montreal

Pick any two Ubisoft earnings calls from the past couple of years - they’re all public record - and you’ll notice a familiar refrain emerge. Every three months, the publisher’s investors would call on Yves Guillemot to slash Watch_Dogs’ R&D costs. And every three months, the mild-mannered but steely CEO would politely refuse.

Those R&D figures represented the cost of doing something new at the bonkers scale Ubisoft routinely work at. Between 2009 and 2014, Watch_Dogs wasn’t just about NPC manipulation - it was a hardcore numbers game.

Try 98 motion capture sessions with 64 cameras - at a rate of two working days a month for five years. Or two new consoles with 150-200 MB of memory - more than enough to dislodge the last generation’s cap on animations, and bring in ballooning team sizes and spiralling budgets to match.

And in the face of it all, Ubisoft Montreal. A Canadian studio with a headcount of over 3000 and the audacity to make the maths work.

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Mea culpa: Ubisoft offers free DLC to Assassin's Creed Unity players and a free game to season pass holders

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Mea culpa: Ubisoft offers free DLC to Assassin's Creed Unity players and a free game to season pass holders

Assassin’s Creed Unity’s launch has been a troubled one. A slew of bugs have hampered the journeys of would-be Assassin’s, resulting in a patch that had to squash over 300 bugs, and issues persist elsewhere. The mobile companion app still doesn’t work on all advertised devices, and it’s the only way to get some of the exclusive content, while the Assassin’s Creed Initiates site is still broken. 

Ubisoft Montreal head honcho, Yannis Mallat posted an update on the Ubisoft blog, acknowledging the unacceptable number of issues. In addition to today’s patch, he said, Ubisoft would be providing free DLC to all Unity owners and a free game to season pass holders. The season pass has also been discontinued. 

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Fraser and Matt have a little chat about Far Cry 4

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Fraser and Matt have a little chat about Far Cry 4

Matt and I have been holidaying in Far Cry 4’s lovely Kyrat for the last week, and we return with enviable tans and only a few bullet wounds. It’s a dangerous place, so we got off lucky. But is it a destination we would recommend? Should you take your Christmas holidays there, or even bring the family? Far Cry does have co-op after all. 

Read on, and enjoy the sort of enlightenment you can only get in Shagri-La.  

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Far Cry 4’s director given go-ahead by Ubisoft for a personal project

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Far Cry 4’s director given go-ahead by Ubisoft for a personal project

The last year has seen Ubisoft kick out some unusual games, from the absurdity-loving 80s homage Far Cry: Blood Dragon to the tear-inducing Valiant Hearts. They’re all personal labours of love for small teams, and it looks like the next unique project from Ubisoft may be coming from Far Cry 4’s creative director Alex Hutchinson. 

Along with members from the Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed 3 development team, Hutchinson has had a pitch for his game idea greenlit by some head honchos at Ubisoft. 

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