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Ubisoft Cancels The Division Heartland – IGN

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Ubisoft has canceled its upcoming free-to-play shooter, Tom Clancy’s The Division Heartland, amid larger plans to focus resources on “bigger opportunities.”

This news was revealed as a part of Ubisoft’s earnings release this morning, with the company saying it has “redeployed resources to bigger opportunities such as XDefiant and Rainbow Six.” The move is part of a larger, longer process Ubisoft has been undergoing in recent quarters to restructure its teams, cut costs, and concentrate its resources into fewer, bigger games.

Ubisoft offered the following statement on the cancellation:

After careful consideration, we have made the tough call to halt development on Tom Clancy’s The Division Heartland, effective immediately. Our priority now is to support the talented team members at our Red Storm Entertainment studio, who will be transitioning to new projects within our company, including XDefiant and Rainbow Six.

The Division Heartland was first announced back in 2021, and was being developed by North Carolina-based Red Storm Entertainment. It was quietly delayed not long after its reveal with its planned release moving to last fiscal year, but it never materialized. Heartland did go through multiple testing phases, and was in a publicly playable state. Recently, it received a rating in Taiwan, leading fans to believe its release was imminent, but this seems to have been a false alarm.

Ubisoft has been on a game-cancelling spree of late, having shut down three unannounced games including its mysterious Project Q, as well as Immortals Fenyx Rising 2 just last year. The prior year, Ubisoft cancelled four other unannounced games, with the company explaining its decision by saying it had been trying to make too many games at once.

And in the last year in particular, Ubisoft (like many other major gaming companies) has been undergoing major cost-cutting measures, which have included the aforementioned game cancellations, studio closures, and multiple rounds of layoffs. As noted in Ubisoft’s earnings release, it has reduced its employee numbers by over 1,700 people over 18 months “while retention has continued to improve.” As of March 2024, Ubisoft employs 19,011 employees globally.

In today’s earnings call, CEO Yves Guillemot told investors the company was “back on track” for a “profitable growth trajectory,” noting the company’s record annual and quarterly net bookings reported today. Going forward, Guillemot continued, the company will pursue a strategy of returning to leadership in open world adventure games while expanding its games-as-a-service offerings. This year, the company expects to release Assassin’s Creed Shadows (just fully revealed today), Rainbow Six Mobile, Star Wars Outlaws, The Division Resurgence, and XDefiant.

And technologically, Ubisoft is narrowing its focus on its own internal game engines to just two branches, Anvil and Snowdrop, and is aggressively pursuing generative AI tech especially with its NEO NPC program.

For the full year, Ubisoft reported €2.3 billion ($2.5 billion) in net bookings, and €401 million ($436 million) in operating income.

Rebekah Valentine is a senior reporter for IGN. Got a story tip? Send it to rvalentine@ign.com.

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