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Why launch games underwhelm

"We can't make a version for PS4 or Xbox One so wildly different we can't market them together."

Launch games often underwhelm. We've seen it before and we're seeing it again with the next-generation of consoles. But why?

In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Ubisoft, perennial maker of launch games, offered an explanation.

"Right now, all publishers are transitioning their development resources," Tony Key, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Ubisoft, said.

"For a game like Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, most of the sales are still going to be on current generation platforms. We can't make a version for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One that's so wildly different that we can't market them together.

"So, for now, developers and designers are focused on making a game that works really well on all of the systems - but as we transition resources to the next-gen, it's going to be more difficult to do that because the power of these machines is going to allow so much more creativity."

"We can't make a version for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One that's so wildly different that we can't market them together."

Ubisoft has a number of next-gen console launch titles, including the aforementioned Assassin's Creed 4, Just Dance 2014 and Xbox One exclusive Fighter Within. Eye-catching open world hacker thriller Watch Dogs was due out alongside the next-gen consoles, but was delayed to spring 2014.

In the case of AC4, Ubisoft created a whopping six versions: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Key added that developers can struggle with launch titles because they're dealing with the shifting sands of hardware specifications.

It's a sentiment echoed by Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin, who in a recent interview with Eurogamer explained the challenges the developer faced creating the multi-platform cross-generation next-gen launch title Call of Duty: Ghosts.

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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, PC

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Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole


Wesley worked at Eurogamer from 2010 to 2023. He liked news, interviews, and more news. He also liked Street Fighter more than anyone could get him to shut up about it.