Ubisoft used an in-game mission in Watch Dogs 2 to tease a space exploration game.
The Watch Dogs 2 mission tasked players with hacking into Ubisoft’s servers to steal a teaser for an unannounced game, so it can later be sold to a video game news site.
This was a full teaser, bearing the trademark E3_conf_video, for added authenticity. It turned out that it was indeed a teaser for a real game codenamed Pioneer, which Kotaku sources confirmed in 2016.
At the time, the site revealed that Pioneer’s development was troubled, and that it was getting rebooted. The plan was to initially unveil the game in 2017.
Of course, everyone has since forgotten Pioneer even existed, until this week, when Far Cry 4 director Alex Hutchinson tweeted about it. “RIP Pioneer,” he told his followers.
RIP Pioneer. 😭 https://t.co/YP8LK1s6fX
— Alex Hutchinson (@BangBangClick) January 15, 2019
Hutchinson no longer works at Ubisoft, and currently heads a team at Typhoon Studios, which recently unveiled its first project: Journey to the Savage Planet. That said, he likely knows what he’s talking about given his history with the publisher.
It’s also worth noting that some of Pioneer’s elements may have found their way into other games, like last year’s Starlink: Battle for Atlas, or the upcoming Beyond Good & Evil 2 – seeing as both involve some form of space exploration.