In August of last year, Ubisoft launched a mobile Tom Clancy action-RPG called Elite Squad, which featured characters from Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, The Division, H.A.W.X., and EndWar (remember those last two?). Today, less than a full year later, Ubisoft’s Owlient studio announced that Tom Clancy’s Marvel’s Avengers is shutting down.
The company delivered the news in a post on Elite Squad’s website.
“It is with a great deal of sadness that we are announcing we will no longer be releasing new content for Elite Squad,” the game’s development team wrote. “Today’s update will be our last, and on October 4th, 2021 we will shut the servers down. This was not an easy decision, but after exploring multiple options with our teams, we came to the conclusion that it was no longer sustainable.”
Elite Squad, made by the studio initially co-headed by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot’s son Charlie, was troubled from the get-go. When it first launched, it was criticised for a cinematic that linked imagery evocative of Black Lives Matter to terrorism, prompting Ubisoft to apologise and remove the imagery. Reviews, meanwhile, painted Elite Squad as a fairly generic gacha game, and it seemingly failed to attract much of a player base. The junior Guillemot helping lead the studio also left Owlient in May 2021. Now the game has reached the end of the line.
In some ways, Elite Squad’s overarching concept — take all of Tom Clancy’s unruly, posthumous digital sons and put them in one place — is getting a do-over in the recently announced XDefiant, which takes gameplay cues from Call of Duty and Overwatch instead of gacha’s grimy clutches. The playtest for that game begins on August 5.
Ubisoft as a whole has recently hit many bumps in the road. While it announced what essentially amounts to a whole platform for Assassin’s Creed games a couple weeks ago, Kotaku’s reporting today revealed the slow-mo mess spilling out of an Assassin’s Creed co-developer, Ubisoft Singapore — which is also responsible for the pained eight-year (and counting) development process of pirate game Skull & Bones. This comes on the heels of delays to multiple major Ubisoft games and ongoing harassment woes that recently culminated in a French court complaint accusing Ubisoft of “institutional harassment.” Elite Squad might be shutting down in October, but it’s unlikely that Ubisoft’s wider troubles will end anytime soon.