Ubisoft seems to be doing everything in its power to scupper the comeback chances of its promising Driver: San Francisco, with the revelation that the title will bring back the always-online DRM checks the company was thought to have phased back. The news comes hot on the heels of Ubi's announcement that D:SF would debut the company's Uplay Passport system, which requires second-hand buyers to purchase an access code for online play, together with confirmation that the title's release date has slipped. It truly is all your bad news, in one bad-news basket!
Above: Ubisoft's last venture into always-on DRM left a lot of damage in its wake (see what we did there?)
Nobody in the world liked the Ubisoft Online Services Platform when it debuted in 2010. US Armed Forces stationed abroad pointed out that many of their favorite Ubi games were functionally unplayable over patchy foreign networks with the system's constant DRM verification, which was a funny way for Ubisoft to realize that there are literally thousands of potential customers outside the US (and plenty within) lacking a constant Internet connection, but there we go. Then the servers went down, and nobody could play their games, and really the only people who didn't mind any of this were pirates, who'd cracked the titles months ago, so it's nice to know Ubisoft was keeping someone happy.
Anyway, Driver: San Francisco is confirmed by Ubisoft to bring the Online Services Platform – scaled down in January to make only one online check at the start of play – back in full effect, with a failed check resulting in a short grace period followed by the game hanging until players go back online. The announcement could hurt sales for the title: PC figures for Assassin's Creed 2 were said to suffer from UOSP's inclusion, and that title was coming off the back of a very positive reception for the console versions of the game, whereas Driver: San Francisco's challenge is to restore the series' damaged reputation after the poorly-received Driv3r.
Ubisoft urged consumers to remember that the game would release simultaneously on consoles, which is cold comfort for PC players; the US release date, it's been announced, has slipped by a week from late August to early September due to “shipping considerations and getting the best exposure in North America, not production of the game.” A hard week to be a Driver fan – but do you think the finished game could still make it all worthwhile?
Jul 27, 2011