Some more about skipping the Uplay launcher

Update 2013-06-04: Seems this method no longer works after the recent uPlay update. uPlay Games purchased on Steam at least start without user interaction, but the “after game report” is still present.This is very likely a deliberate move by Ubisoft since their precious uPlay platform would be rather pointless if no-one actually had to use it. I’ve looked briefly at the new files but couldn’t find any way to skip the launcher. Damn. And here I was thinking Ubisoft tried to make up for their past mistakes …

A few days ago I wrote a piece on how to skip the annoying Uplay launcher so games “blessed” with it would work with Steam’s Big Picture Mode. At that time, I was only able to test with one game – Far Cry 3 – but came to the conclusion that most, if not all uPlay games would likely work the same way. While I still don’t own more uPlay games on Steam than before, I digged through my collection of retail titles and did some testing on them. Of course, I can’t know for sure how exactly they integrate with Steam, but that should not matter.

First of all, one thing I wanted to try was offline mode. uPlay starts up much, much faster when offline, and unless you really need the online features (or want to play multiplayer), it’s probably a good idea to just stay off the grid. Thankfully, most titles work perfectly well even without uPlay being online, so that’s that.

So here’s what I’ve tested so far:

Anno 2070: Considering this game requires a mouse to play, it’s pretty damn useless in terms of Big Picture Mode, but I had it laying around and tested it anyway. Sadly, it does not work, as the required parameters are not passed on to uPlay. The launcher never enters developer mode as a result.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations: Does work, but not when starting the game via AssassinsCreedRevelations.exe – instead, one has to run ACRSP.exe (single player) or ACRMP.exe (multi-player) with the developer mode parameters. This might cause issues when the game is run from Steam, but I don’t know that for sure, since I don’t have the game there. Of course, the multi-player executable doesn’t work when offline, but that’s common sense.

Driver: San Francisco: works perfectly well in online+developer mode, but as stated before, it crashed once while offline. The game does check something online in the title screen, which was where the crash happened, but it never occurred again, so it might be only on first boot. Who knows. Obviously, multi-player is disabled while uPlay is offline.

Far Cry 3: I had already tested it in online mode for the first article, but it also works offline. Of course, staying offline means no multi-player.

Heroes of Might & Magic VI: Another game without controller support, so this is just for the record: it works on- and offline. Oddly enough, all uPlay features seemed to function even while offline, but I don’t know enough about the game to verify. I just have it in my collection for whatever reason …

I will do some more testing if I get my hands on more games, but it definitely looks like one can expect this method to work with most Uplay titles.

Update 2013-05-14: According to an user over at CheapAssGamer, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon also supports this method.

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