French media conglomerate Vivendi has slowly but surely been working toward acquiring a controlling interest in Ubisoft, and Ubisoft equally surely been doing its best to fend it off. Vivendi brings enough financial muscle to the table that if it really wants to take over, it likely will, sooner or later. But in an interview with PCGamesN, Ubisoft's vice president of live operations Anne Blondel warned that losing its independence would likely have a very negative impact on the games it makes.
Blondel said being "super-independent" and "very autonomous" has been a big part of Ubisoft's success over the past 30 years. And no, you can't really describe a publisher the size of Ubisoft as "indie," and major franchises like Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, and Far Cry are obviously both big-budget and formulaic. But she cited smaller-scale releases including Child of Light and Valiant Hearts as examples of games that were given the green light despite not having the greatest sales potential, and suggested that under Vivendi's care and control, they probably wouldn't have happened.
"I think that’s what makes Ubisoft so different, and personally speaking, I think this is what we are," she said. "So far so good, I would say, because gamers are still [with us] and I know for a fact, having been there for 20 years, that if you [separate] us from our independence, if you take away the way we like taking risk and inventing new stuff, well it’s not going to be the same Ubisoft—for me, it wouldn’t be the same.”
Aside from its conventional efforts to maintain independence—the sorts of things you read about in shareholder reports—Ubisoft has also been working over the past several months to bolster goodwill among gamer. It's been giving away games monthly since mid-year, and recently moved to daily freebies through a sort of digital advent calendar; it also recently pledged to put an end to "compulsory" DLC for its games.