Today marks the date of the worldwide release of Immortals Fenyx Rising. Published by Ubisoft (one of my favorite publishers), this is a game from the developers of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey that involves a lighthearted take on Greek mythology while drawing inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It looks as if it has the potential to be well received, but should it have been released in 2021?
I ask that question because this month belongs to CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. By launching a game so close to one of the year’s most anticipated releases, it seems as if Ubisoft may be jeopardizing its potential for success with Immortals. On its own merit, reviews for Immortals have been very favorable. But when gamers have to choose between Cyberpunk 2077 or Immortals, CD Projekt Red’s new title will likely be the favored pick in most cases. The developer/publisher gained a loyal following through The Witcher series and gamers are expecting nothing less than excellence when it comes to the futuristic cyberpunk-themed game.
Let’s consider if Cyberpunk 2077 (which itself is an open-world title) wasn’t going to be released this month. Immortals would still mark the third Ubisoft open-world published game in less than three months. Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are the other two. They all offer different worlds, characters, and stories. Yet the genre the games represent is still the same. Has it been open-world overkill for Ubisoft?
Immortals is also the second game since September to be strikingly similar to Breath of the Wild. Genshin Impact, a free-to-play action role-playing game, was released on September 28. The game immediately reminded gamers of the standard-bearing Zelda title with every review making the obvious comparisons. This isn’t a bad thing since the gaming industry has always been built on being inspired by the past. When it comes to video games, it is almost impossible to find ones that have laid a completely new foundation.
How Immortals distinguishes itself from Breath of the Wild will be the key as to whether the game will be successful and memorable down the road. Like Genshin Impact, what Immortals does is give gamers who do not have a Nintendo Wii U or a Switch a chance to experience a sample of what a Breath of the Wild-type game is like. That’s a plus and since The Legend of Zelda brand is Nintendo exclusive, developers who use the Breath of the Wild foundation on the other platforms have the opportunity to provide something unique for gamers on the PC, Stadia, Xbox, and Playstation.
In my opinion, the timing for Immortals is rough. This isn’t necessarily Ubisoft’s fault because the release date of Cyberpunk 2077 has changed many times. But I can’t help but feel that Immortals would have been better served by launching in January 2021 at the earliest or even early spring 2021. That would have given gamers time to play through Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, while also allowing the Cyberpunk 2077 hype to dissipate a bit. My concern is that because of all the options available at this point, Immortals can easily get lost in the shuffle. This would be a shame because it looks like a gorgeously fun game.
I will be keeping an eye on the numbers because I am curious to see how Immortals will hold up with such stiff competition. According to all the indicators, it looks as if December will belong to Cyberpunk 2077. But it will be interesting to see how much of a fight Immortals can put up against CD Projekt Red’s juggernaut.