March 29, 2023

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Finally…Ubisoft Is Free From Vivendi

Plus a celebration of Ubisoft’s 32 years in the gaming industry with some of the amazing games they’ve brought us over the years.

The Ubisoft and Vivendi saga has finally come to an end after several years of the large conglomerate attempting to take over the publisher.  It is a happy ending as Ubisoft have today announced that they have finally managed to block Vivendi from taking them over for good.
Vivendi have agreed to sell back their 27.3% share in the publisher which has been split between the Guillemot brothers, Yves and Michael, and a few other investors.  So Vivendi have completely backed off and no longer own any shares in Ubisoft.
Ubisoft is one of the oldest publishers in gaming and it was believed by many that a hostile takeover by Vivendi would be bad for the publisher and completely change the game’s they make for the worse and would be very different than the company that has been in the gaming industry for the past 32 years after being founded on 12 March 1986 by none other than the Guillemot family.
Now I’ll spend the rest of this article celebrating the win for the Guillemot family in winning back the publisher they built to being one of the top publishers in our industry by looking at some of the amazing games they’ve brought to us over the years.

An old favourite of mine on the Super Nintendo, Jimmy Connors Pro Tennis Tour released in 1992 in North America but it was 1994 before it was released in the UK & Europe.  The graphics and physics for both the ball and players were quite impressive for it’s time and it is my favourite tennis game of the early 90s era in gaming.  It still plays very well as recently I have played it on my Super Nintendo Classic Mini.

A long time series and mascot for Ubisoft platforming hero with disembodied arms and legs Rayman’s first release was back in 1995 on the original Playstation.  He has had several releases starting off as one of the first 3D platforming games series and in more recent years has went for 2D or 2.5D to be precise with Rayman Origins and it’s sequel Rayman Legends, both of which are among the finest platformers I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.  Origins was great and Legends was like Origins turned up to 11.  Legends is available for Xbox One and PS4 as a remaster of the 360 & PS3 game so if you haven’t played it yet I couldn’t recommend it enough!

Released in June 1999 on the original Playstation, Driver was one of my favourite games on that console.  Capturing the style and flair of ‘70s car chase films and TV shows such as Bullitt, Vanishing Point, The Streets Of San Francisco & Starsky & Hutch (with Antonio “Huggy Bear” Fargas being involved with the game’s marketing).  With robust driving mechanics and amazing graphics at the time it stands as a fondly remembered classic of mine.  Several sequels followed on subsequent console generations but for me never quite lived up to the original.  The last entry Driver: San Francisco was very good though but that was back in 2011 so hopefully we will see the series rebooted at some point, personally I’d like a return to the ‘70s cops and robbers car chase film and TV feel that made the original so great.

Released on 10 November 2003 this reboot of the Prince Of Persia series is one of my favourite games of it’s generation.  Sands Of Time and the 2 sequels that followed it, Warrior Within & The Two Thrones were released on the Playstation 2, original Xbox & Gamecube.  Sands Of Time is seen by many, myself included, as the best entry in the entire Prince Of Persia series and also one the best in the third person action adventure genre.  If you don’t have one of the old consoles it is available on Xbox One via backwards compatibility either if you still have the original disc or you can download it from the Xbox store.

Also released on 10 November 2003 was Beyond Good & Evil on PS2, Xbox & GameCube.  The game, set in a sci fi universe, follows Jade the game’s female protagonist who while working as a photographer taking pictures of the planet’s various alien species for the Iris company ends up fighting with the DomZ organisation after discovering they are running a human trafficking ring.  The game is a third person action adventure with melee combat and puzzle solving. The plot sounds a bit bonkers and it is…or at least it is very hard to explain.  But this is an absolute classic I’d definitely recommend and at E3 2017 Ubisoft finally unveiled the sequel fans have waited several years for so I am really looking forward to that!

Currently one of Ubisoft’s premiere franchises, the original Assassin’s Creed whilst technically astounding when it launched in 2007 on Xbox 360 & PS3, it’s mission structure was very dull and repetitive and it wasn’t until it’s sequel in 2009, Assassin’s Creed  II, that the series really took off becoming a yearly franchise for Ubisoft with each new numbered entry since following a new protagonist in a different historical time period.  The latest entry Assassin’s Creed: Origins tells the story of the origin of the Assassin’s brotherhood as the name implies set in Ancient Egypt which they took another year to make which has helped re-invigorate the series with outstanding visuals,  excellent world building and exploration and much improved combat and mission design.  I loved it and  am very close to hitting 100%.  Today there has been the first leak of the next game set in Ancient Greece apparently as is tradition with Assassin’s Creed games, many believe these “leaks” are intentional marketing ploys by Ubisoft as they do it with every single game but if the rumours are true the next game won’t be released until 2019.  Expect a full reveal at this year’s E3 conferences.
There’s many more games from Ubisoft I could highlight here.  Let me know in the comments what your favourite games of theirs are.