Tom Clancy’s Taking the Mick. Ghost Recon Online was a free-to-play, team-based multiplayer shooter developed by Ubisoft’s Singapore lot. It was released on Uplay a year and a half ago, and was widely deemed a worthy example of the genre – if halfway ruined by its payment model.
It’s remained in active development since – a fact its publisher has chosen to believe makes it a prime candidate for Steam Early Access. And it’s clear to see why.
Just yesterday, a triumphant Dean Hall hailed the success of the early access release model – which has seen both DayZ and Rust scale the Steam top-sellers charts this week.
“The concept of Kickstarter and early access games is not without problems, and I think we’ve yet to see the full extent of that,” said Hall. “But what this says to me is that gamers crave real creativity in their games along with engagement in the process, and that the ‘indie’ way is not just restricted to small projects in fringe games. It’s big and serious business now.”
Right on cue, here’s Ubisoft producer Corey Facteau: “Bringing Ghost Recon Online to Steam has been our goal since the game’s inception. We took the time necessary to reach a quality level that can go head to head with the best online games available today before releasing on Steam.
“To ensure a seamless transition to the new platform, we will use Early Access to fine tune the Ghost Recon Online experience before releasing it to the rest of the world,” he added.
I do wonder if Ubi are stretching the boundaries of Early Access here somewhat. Ghost Recon Online is not a new game, and Steam does have a free-to-play section that might otherwise accommodate it.
Perhaps they’ve been encouraged by the success of The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot – the in-development Ubisoft Montreal RPG released on Steam Early Access in November. Eventually destined for free-to-play, the game is currently only open to players who pay £14.99 for closed beta access.
Facteau reckons Ghost Recon Online’s team focus has seen its audience expand to include MOBA fans – “who comprise fifty per cent of our user base”. Hmm! Are any of you lot part of that figure?
Ghost Recon Online is already available on Steam in Canada, and will roll out across the world as Winter thaws.