Concerns were raised this weekend that people who had bought Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD on Steam would have their access to the game removed, after it was noticed that the game’s Steam listing read that “this title will not be accessible following September 1st, 2022.”
However, Ubisoft has confirmed to Polygon that owners of the game will still be able to access its single-player, offline components after that date. Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD, which was first published in 2014, is one of a list of older games that Ubisoft recently said it would no longer support online from Sep. 1.
“As stated in our support article, only DLCs and online features will be affected by the upcoming decommissioning. Current owners of those games will still be able to access, play or redownload them,” Ubisoft told Polygon in an updated statement.
“Our teams are working with our partners to update this information across all storefronts and are also assessing all available options for players who will be impacted when these games’ online services are decommissioned on September 1st, 2022. It has always been our intention to do everything in our power to allow those legacy titles to remain available in the best possible conditions for players, and this is what we are working towards.”
Ubisoft routinely culls online support for older games in its catalog. In most cases, this means the games’ online and multiplayer features will be turned off, while campaigns and other single-player features will remain available.
Other games affected by the current round of plug-pulling include Driver San Francisco, Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Rayman Legends, Anno 2070, and the original versions of Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed 2. Remasters of the latter games will still be supported. Assassin’s Creed Liberation — originally a 2012 PlayStation Vita release — remains available to buy as part of the 2019 Assassin’s Creed 3 Remastered package.
Among the Ubisoft teams attempting to keep their games alive past this expiration date are the Anno 2070 developers at Ubisoft Mainz, who said: “After an initial investigation, we have decided to dedicate some of our development resources to work on upgrading Anno 2070’s aged online services infrastructure to a new system, so that these features can continue to be used past the mentioned date. However, we cannot yet guarantee that we’ll be able to successfully upgrade/replace the old services as we’d like to.”
Less lucky is the 2019 VR game Space Junkies, which, as a multiplayer title, is being turned off completely. “You will be unable to play the game going forward,” Ubisoft said.
Online games are costly to maintain; server space and bandwidth don’t come for free, and that’s before you consider the customer support, community management, bug fixing, and game updates that guarantee a good experience for players. It is a sad fact of life that these games may not be playable forever.
Single-player games and other offline content is another matter, however, and digital media skeptics have long warned that a gulf is opening up between what users think of as ownership when they buy a title from an online store, and the slender rights that this purchase actually grants them.
This was thrown into relief recently when Sony announced that, due to the expiration of a licensing agreement, people in Germany and Austria who had bought hundreds of Canal Plus movies and TV shows from the PlayStation Store would have their access to those movies removed completely. Affected titles include John Wick, Paddington and The Hunger Games.
Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD has, for now, happily been spared this fate.