It seems that Ubisoft’s mysterious Pioneer may not actually be dead, as was previously thought. However, should Pioneer actually see a release, it will look much different than its original vision.
Former Ubisoft creative director Alex Hutchinson, who at one point was directing Pioneer, seemed to imply that it was cancelled. However, that doesn’t appear to actually be the case, although Pioneer has gone through some radical conceptual changes. Rather than get canceled, Pionner has actually been rebooted. The developers have essentially started from scratch.
As a quick recap, the existence of Pioneer was originally discovered in 2016’s Watch Dogs 2, during a mission where you were able to sneak inside Ubisoft’s headquarters and steal a top-secret video game trailer. It later turned out that this was, in fact, a real game in development at Ubisoft codenamed Pioneer. Unfortunately, by the time Watch Dogs 2 came out, development was reportedly in trouble.
When Pioneer was first conceptualized, it was envisioned as a “non-violent space exploration game.” Development was rocky, however, possibly thanks to sheer amount of new concepts in the game. Throughout the years, the development team of Pioneer has seen a number of shakeups, with many developers moving to different projects both within and outside of Ubisoft.
While the Pioneer project is technically still alive, it’s really alive in name only. Instead of a non-violet game with a clear emphasis on exploration, Pioneer has changed directions in a big way. While some of the old Pioneer concepts are there, it’s now a supposedly co-op alien shooter. There are also rumblings that it will tie into the Rainbow Six series in some way, as the developers are now using Rainbow Six tech. Ubisoft has reportedly attempted to get a more fantastical Rainbow Six offshoot off the ground in the past, so this could be the way to get that.
There’s still no word on whether Pioneer will actually release, so it seems everything is up in the air at this point. Game development is usually quite difficult, but projects usually aren’t as public as this one.