Ubisoft has so far been tight-lipped on what to expect from the new Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell VR games, but they’re described as “new, made-for-VR entries” that are being “created from the ground up exclusively for the Oculus platform,” so don’t expect VR ports of existing games – it sounds like this is something entirely new.
Both games are under development by Ubisoft’s Red Storm studio, which has been making Tom Clancy games ever since 1997’s Politika, long before the company was bought out by Ubisoft. Ubisoft Reflections, and the company's Dusseldorf and Mumbai studios, will also be working on the new titles.
Both franchises seem like natural fits for VR. Assassin’s Creed’s in-game Animus tech is essentially just fancy future virtual reality anyway, while the prospect of pulling down a VR headset to find yourself behind Sam Fisher’s night vision goggles should excite anyone who’s played a Splinter Cell game before.
And while Assassin’s Creed may be Ubisoft’s bigger franchise these days, especially with Valhalla just around the corner, I suspect it’s Splinter Cell that will get fans more excited. There hasn’t been a standalone Splinter Cell game since 2013’s Blacklist, and the recent appearance of a grizzled, older Sam Fisher as an operator in Rainbow Six Siege has no doubt whet fans’ appetites for more.
Ubisoft’s interest in virtual reality has been modest so far, with 2017’s Star Trek: Bridge Crew probably its biggest effort in the format so far, followed by the Elijah Wood-produced Transference in 2018. Bringing two of the company’s biggest franchise’s to VR is a sign that Ubisoft might finally be ready to commit – and their being Oculus-exclusive is a reminder of how much cash owner Facebook is willing to throw around to cement Oculus’s market share.