Two weeks after the discovery of backend data (opens in new tab) that pointed to Ubisoft returning to Steam, it is now official: The comeback will begin with Assassin's Creed Valhalla (opens in new tab), which will debut on the storefront on December 6.
Outside of its own online store, Ubisoft has been an Epic exclusive publisher on PC since early 2019. That's kept big releases including The Division 2, Far Cry 6, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Watch Dogs Legion, Rainbow Six Extraction, and of course Valhalla off of Steam, which is by far the most popular digital storefront for PC gamers. As we noted when the likelihood of a Ubisoft return first came to light earlier this month, it was an unusual situation: Epic Games Store exclusives generally tend to be for a year, or less in some cases, yet Ubisoft appeared content to make the arrangement indefinite. That's why this Steam comeback is a pretty big deal.
"We’re constantly evaluating how to bring our games to different audiences wherever they are, while providing a consistent player ecosystem through Ubisoft Connect," Ubisoft said in a statement sent to PC Gamer. "Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Anno 1800 and Roller Champions are among the Ubisoft titles that will be releasing on Steam."
Ubisoft gave no indication as to why it chose now to return to Steam, but one interpretation is that it signals the end of the big publisher pushback against Steam, and more specifically the 30% cut of sales it takes. Ubisoft joins Microsoft (opens in new tab), Electronic Arts (opens in new tab), and Activision (opens in new tab) as major publishers who came (or came back) to Steam after dabbling in solo ventures. Valve didn't blink during their absence, and Steam remains the dominant digital distribution platform for PC gaming—the place where you want to be if you're a big publisher looking to sell some games. And with the holiday season upon us, there's no better time for Ubisoft to make bank on an Assassin's Creed game that is now, in case you'd forgotten, a couple years old.
As on the Epic and Ubisoft stores, Assassin's Creed Valhalla on Steam will be available in four editions—standard, deluxe, Ragnarok, and complete—each offering a different mix of bonus stuff, including content packs, the Dawn of Ragnarok expansion, and the season pass. As indicated by the Ubisoft statement, Valhallla will also continue to make use of the Ubisoft Connect client.
Anno 1800 and Roller Champions are not currently listed on Steam, and return dates for them have not been announced.