Space game Pioneer canceled by Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s in-development space exploration game Pioneer has been canceled according to a tweet from the Far Cry 4 and Assassins Creed 3 director Alex Hutchinson. With Pioneer canceled, Hutchinson, now Creative Director at Typhoon Studios, tweeted footage of the project captioned “RIP Pioneer.”

This footage had previously been teased during a Watch Dogs 2 mission, in which players could hack into the Ubisoft San Francisco servers and obtain confidential E3 footage, which was then then to be sold on to a gaming site. This minute-long video displayed scenes in space that were later confirmed by Kotaku in 2016 to be from an actual game, then in development by Ubisoft.

While this tweet could be taken to mean that Hutchinson only misses working on the project, the former Ubisoft director also replied to a tweet asking “Is it super dead?” with three crying-face emojis. There has been no official comment from Ubisoft on the state of the Pioneer project yet, but given Hutchinson’s preexisting links with the team formerly working on the game, at the very least his sources are reliable.

Moreover, as Eurogamer first noted, Ubisoft already has a handful of recent games themed around space exploration, including Starlink: Battle for Atlas and the upcoming Beyond Good and Evil 2. With Pioneer canceled, it seems Ubisoft is focusing on a cross-genre portfolio of new games and ditching projects that seem too similar. In fact, some sources suggest Ubisoft is hoping to develop a new game in the Splinter Cell series, after a potential leak from a voice actor.

With the Ubisoft C-Suite hoping to increase their player count tenfold in some regions, a project with little confidence behind it is likely to be canceled. Major publishers are searching for the next Fortnite in order make the most of their investment. In fact, just yesterday it was revealed that the EA Vancouver Star Wars game had been canceled as the company redistributes team members to focus on games with greater returns.