There’s a two-for-one special running at the Ubisoft Delay Emporium today. Alongside news that Watch Dogs‘ would be missing its planned November launch—by a whopping five months—the publisher announced that racing title The Crew had also been pushed back into their 2014-2015 fiscal year. That means we won’t be seeing the open-world racing game until next April at the very earliest.
The Crew had yet to receive a firm release date, but Ubisoft had previously announced an early 2014 launch window and factored sales of the game into their earnings projections for this fiscal year. As a result of this delay—along with that of Watch Dogs—the company has lowered their sales targets by nearly a third, from between €1.42 billion and €1.45 billion to between €995 million and €1.05 billion. That’s enough to push the publisher from the black into the red.
In a statement released to investors, CEO Yves Guillemot explained that the primary motivation behind the delay was ensuring that both new titles made a good enough first impression to become long-lasting franchises. “Our long term goal is to win the next generation,” Guillemot’s statement reads. “The tough decisions we are taking today to fully realize the major potential of our new creations have an impact on our short-term performance. We are convinced that, longer term, they will prove to be the right decisions both in terms of satisfaction for our fans and in terms of value creation for our shareholders. We are building franchises that will become perennial pillars of Ubisoft’s financial performance. In a context of growing successes for mega-blockbusters, the additional time given to the development of our titles will allow them to fulfill their huge ambitions and thus offer players even more exceptional experiences.”
Whether or not The Crew has the potential to become a “mega-blockbuster” remains to be seen, but there’s no denying its huge ambitions. When it was revealed at this year’s E3, The Crew made waves with a few exciting features, including detailed customization of each individual car part, seamless integration of single-and multiplayer, and, perhaps most impressively, one of the biggest open worlds in gaming history. Rather than settling for a series of tracks or a single city sandbox, The Crew features the entirety of the contiguous United States—in condensed form, to be sure, but it’ll still take a whopping two hours to drive from coast to coast.
Despite the cool hooks, I was less than impressed the first time I went hands-on with The Crew, but later demos have shown a lot of growth. Hopefully the delay will help keep that upward momentum and give developer Ivory Tower the time to polish it into a solid next-gen racing experience.