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Jetsetter: Ubisoft now owns 1666, the brand new franchise from the director of Assassin’s Creed

Image used with permission by copyright holder

 Welcome back again to Jetsetter, Digital Trends’ weekly column that reaches into the far corners of the world to let you know about the games you otherwise wouldn’t. The United States is the biggest video game market in the world, with more people making, playing, and spending on games than anywhere else. It’s Jetsetter’s job to look beyond our borders, to places as close as Canada and as far away as Finland, to find the choices video games around. From big to small, from the Indian publishing schedule of Electronic Arts to a weird bootleg from the Philippines, Jetsetter’s got its finger on the global pulse.

It was a rough week for the global video game market. Two major plays, namely THQ and Funcom, saw their business shrink, and disintegrate completely in the case of the former. THQ’s demise means that the biggest non-American video game publisher in the world has a valuable new studio in its arsenal.

* THQ Montreal snatched up by Ubisoft alongside Assassin’s Creed creator’s new game.

French gaming giant Ubisoft was rumored to be considering a complete buyout of THQ, including all its properties and worldwide publishing operations. When THQ went up for auction, Ubi only bought a tiny slice of the company. In addition to picking up the publishing rights for South Park: The Stick of Truth, Ubi also bought Canadian studio THQ Montreal. The acquisition is actually a sort of homecoming. The head of THQ Montreal is none other than Patrice Desilets, director of Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed II. Desilets abandoned the acclaimed series to start a new studio for THQ and create a brand new franchise codenamed 1666. Now 1666 is Ubisoft’s property. The team is apparently thrilled. “This is the first time in my life that I have to a studio that was just newly acquired, given a speech to everyone, and then have everyone applaud,” said Ubisoft Montreal chief executive Yannis Mallat of his first meeting with Desilet’s studio. What is 1666 about? No one knows, but that was the year of the Great Fire of London (pictured above), a historically significant event perfect for inspiring of the creators of Assassin’s Creed.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

* Funcom closes Beijing studio in massive restructuring.

The publisher and creator of MMOs The Secret World, Age of Conan, and Anarchy Online Funcom had a mediocre 2012. The Secret World didn’t even sell 1 million copies after more than half a decade of development, and the company was forced to layoff a number of employees. It announced on Friday that it’s now shutting down some of its international operations. Funcom Beijing, responsible for building much of The Secret World, will be closed by the end of the year. The Beijing team’s loss is the Funcom Canada team’s gain, though. As a result of the restructuring, Funcom’s Montreal studio will now be able to work on new projects, namely a swath of mobile titles.

* New red and blue PlayStation 3s for the United Kingdom.

Damn those Brittons and their snazzy new PlayStation 3s. While we have to settle for boring old black—and a dull, ugly black on the newest models at that—the United Kingdom gets two flashy new PlayStation 3 models come February. The Azurite Blue and Garnet Red models will have 500GB hard drives rather than the 12GB of flash memory on recent European models.

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Anthony John Agnello
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Anthony John Agnello is a writer living in New York. He works as the Community Manager of and his writing has…
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is coming out earlier than expected
Basim leaps at an enemy in Assassin's Creed Mirage.

Ubisoft revealed that Assassin's Creed Mirage will now release on October 5, a week earlier than originally intended.

Assassin's Creed Mirage is supposed to be a back-to-basics entry for Ubisoft's long-running action-adventure series. It was announced in 2022 and got an October 12 release date during the PlayStation Showcase in May. Now, just two months before the game was set to release, Ubisoft announced that it has moved the release of Assassin's Creed Mirage up by one week to October 5. This coincides with a tweet announcing that the game had "gone gold," which essentially means that development of the game is complete and Ubisoft's focus can turn to post-launch support.
Delays are very common in this industry, and Ubisoft especially is no stranger to them; Skull & Bones is a prime example. That's why Assassin's Creed Mirage joins a rare group of games that actually come out earlier than originally expected. In 2022, we saw Xenoblade Chronicles 3 moved from September to July, while this year, Baldur's Gate 3's PC launch moved up from August 31 to August 3, which ended up being a much better release window for the game.
Although Ubisoft did not specifically state the reason for moving Assassin's Creed Mirage up, it wouldn't be surprising if the company wanted to give the game more space and attention ahead of other games coming out this October, like Forza Motorsport, Alan Wake 2, Marvel's Spider-Man 2, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Regardless, it's going to kick off one of the busiest months for game releases in 2023.
Assassin's Creed Mirage will launch for PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on October 5.

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Assassin’s Creed Mirage gameplay trailer shows a return to franchise roots
Assassin's Creed Mirage picture

Ubisoft showed off three new Assassin’s Creed games -- Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR, Assassin’s Creed: Codename Jade, and Assassin’s Creed Mirage -- at the June 2023 Ubisoft Forward event.

Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR will release on Meta Quest 2, and players can play as three characters: Ezio, Cassandra, and Connor. Players can block, parry, counterattack, and duel with enemies in VR. There are also a variety of different weapons to choose from, such as hidden blades, swords, tomahawks, bows, crossbows, and throwing knives. The game will also feature comfort settings, like peripheral vision blocking and teleportation to mitigate nausea, vertigo, and fear of heights. It will release sometime during holiday 2023.

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Google recently announced that it plans to shutter its cloud gaming service Stadia in early 2023, leaving players who used it as one of their primary platforms in an awkward situation. Google already promised to refund people for their Google Stadia hardware and software purchases, but people are still losing access to games they enjoyed and save files they possibly dumped hours into. Thankfully, some developers are working on ways to help Stadia players.
The most notable studio to help Stadia players is Ubisoft, which was Google's earliest partner for the technology via an Assassin's Creed Odyssey demo. "While Stadia will shut down on January 18, 2023, we're happy to share that we're working to bring the games you own on Stadia to PC through Ubisoft Connect," Ubisoft tweeted. "We'll have more to share regarding specific details, as well as the impact for Ubisoft+ subscribers, at a later date." Thankfully, the Stadia versions of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, and Watch Dogs: Legion support cross-progression, so players won't lose their save files.
Ubisoft isn't the only developer to help. Developer Muse Games is giving Embr Steam codes to those who played its comedic co-op firefighting game on Stadia if they email the developer with screenshots of Embr in their Stadia library. Meanwhile, IO Interactive confirmed that it is "looking into ways for you to continue your Hitman experience on other platforms," as the World of Assassination trilogy was available on Google Stadia. 
There's still the matter of the five Google Stadia exclusives: Gylt, Hello Engineer, Outcasters, Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle, and PixelJunk Raiders. So far, only one of those games seems like it will be saved. PixelJunk Raiders developer Q-Games said in a blog post that "we hope to find a way to continue to share the vibrant worlds of Planet Tantal in the future, and we’re open to discussing opportunities to find the right publishing partner to make it happen.. Tequila Works, tinyBuild, Splash Damage, and Bandai Namco Entertainment did not respond to requests for comment from Digital Trends.
While the shutdown of Google Stadia is disappointing for players like myself who enjoy cloud gaming, at least players will be get refunds, and in some cases get the game for a new platform.

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