Elite Squad, the Tom Clancy mobile game, will soon be going offline a mere 12 months after launch. This all-star action RPG featuring recognizable characters like Splinter Cell’s Sam Fisher and Montagne from Rainbow Six was first announced during Ubisoft Forward 2020.
Designed and developed by French studio Owlient, the game was given a cartoony look a la Fortnite. The art style choice didn’t sit well with fans of the Tom Clancy games, citing the series’s long-standing realistic visuals. The fact that the game strayed away from its tactical action roots may have also played a role in its downfall.
After launching in August last year with very little fanfare, the game seemingly didn’t manage to grab an audience. Ubisoft made a blog post titled “The Story Ends” on July 21, the release day of the game’s latest update, announcing that there would be no more new content. In the post, the UK publisher writes that it was “not an easy decision, but after exploring multiple solutions with our teams, we came to the conclusion it was no longer sustainable.”
They go on to state that the company did its best to keep the game afloat. The last major content release was with the mobile game’s Season 2 in March this year, which added a significant number of upgrades to the game’s combat and covering system. This update also included some new commands, balance fixes, and changes to the game’s economy.
The post goes on to thank the community of players who played the game extensively and participated in its social media and Discord server. As part of their parting words, Ubisoft stated the game’s final day would be October 4. Until then, Elite Squad players will be able to play the game as usual. There has been no word regarding the in-game shop’s operations until then, or whether players will be receiving any refunds on purchases they can no longer use.
It’s important to note that the release of Elite Squad was mired in controversy. The game’s intro video featured images of a raised fist, a symbol often associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Many gamers accused Ubisoft of perpetuating alt-right conspiracy theories. It’s possible that the initial backlash overshadowed the game’s release campaign.
The announcement of the game’s shutdown comes hot off the heels of the reveal of a free-to-play Tom Clancy game called XDefiant. Like Elite Squad, this new game’s wild punk rock aesthetic isn’t sitting well with gamers. Concerns and grievances are being voiced all over social media about the peculiar directions Ubisoft seems to be taking the Tom Clancy brand.
It also follows the company’s earnings call in May, where they expressed their intention of moving towards AAA free-to-play development. The first title to kick this off will be the recently revealed Assassin’s Creed Infinity. What all of these decisions mean for Ubisoft’s future in the mobile games market remains to be seen.