Ghost Recon Frontline was announced last week as a free class-based battle royale set in the Clancyverse, the only cinematic setting in which Jim from The Office is an action hero. Frontline will support multiple modes, battles of more than 100 players, and, unlike most battle royales, also features an extraction mechanic akin to Hunt: Showdown: After completing a series of objectives, teams must hold out against an enemy onslaught for a set period of time before escaping. Sounds fine, right?
The plan was to hold the first round of closed beta testing from October 14-21, but Ubisoft announced today—one day before the scheduled start—that it's decided to put things on hold.
We have an important message regarding Ghost Recon Frontline's Closed Test. pic.twitter.com/ne1VgOLMJFOctober 13, 2021
"We have decided it is best to postpone the closed test for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Frontline," Ubisoft tweeted. "The development team is dedicated to creating the best experience possible. We'll share details on the new date for the closed test as soon as we can."
The terse message says nothing about the reasons for the delay, which seems especially odd given that it was set to start just a week after Frontline was revealed—a date that Ubisoft would have been quite confident in, in other words. But it's possible that Ubisoft did not foresee the reaction to the game itself. Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad speculated on Twitter that the test was delayed "because of how poorly [Ghost Recon Frontline] was received," and it's not hard to see why: The announcement video on YouTube has four times as many dislikes as likes, Reddit almost immediately predicted doom and gloom for the entire franchise, and replies to the tweet about the delay are filled with calls to cancel the whole thing outright—often accompanied by demands for a "real" Ghost Recon game.
I don't think Frontline looked bad by any measure when it was announced, and the addition of an extraction requirement could be a really fun twist: Extractions made for a really intense coda to Mass Effect 3 multiplayer missions, way back when. But it's a late arrival to a party already dominated by Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends, and Escape from Tarkov, and follows the less-than-stellar Ghost Recon Breakpoint—not exactly a solid jumping-off point. Meanwhile, Ubisoft is still dicking around with Splinter Cell, which has not gone unnoticed by Tom Clancy game fans either.
I've reached out to Ubisoft for more information on the reasons for the delay, and if an updated launch target has been set, and will update if I receive a reply.