Yesterday Ubisoft announced that Watch Dogs would be released on May 27th this year on all platforms except the Wii U (which may not even make it out in 2014). After the game was delayed last year, Ubisoft might have expected a little more excitement surrounding the semi-close release date. However, the internet struck back.
Soon after the announcement, gif-creators began piecing together new footage of the game with 2-year-old footage. The consensus was that the game simply looks worse in 2014 than it did during its first exciting reveal at E3 2012. There’s far less graphical effects present. Landmarks first shown are missing, the building look… bad. It’s just not what people expected. Ubisoft insists that the game hasn’t received any graphical tone-downs though.
Had the game released last November as planned, Ubisoft could probably have banked on hype and the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One to carry the game to success. Launch hype alone would have caused several game-starved next gen investors to convince themselves that it was a good game.
But according to Ubisoft, it wasn’t as good as it should be. The game was delayed because it just wasn’t fun enough. It was too repetitive and the crucial hacking element of the game was not playing out to the developer’s expectations.
The situation was bad enough that Ubisoft put the Wii U version of the game on hold in order to pull key developers in to fix Watch Dogs on the rest of the platforms. As of now, the Wii U version is on hold indefinitely. Ubisoft says that the Wii U version will resume development once the other versions are complete. This has led many to speculate that the Wii U version will eventually be cancelled. Senior producer Dominic Guay was quoted by Polygon stating that 2014 was a “possibility” for the Wii U’s release.
Ubisoft’s delay of Watch Dogs might not have been the best move for short term profits, but it’s possible that Ubisoft did not want to repeat the same mistakes they made early on with the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Many regard the first title in the series as too repetitive and a result of too much hype. In 2014, companies like Ubisoft do not release huge new IP’s with the intent of only making one game. Watch Dogs is certainly planned to be a series, so creating a positive impression the first time is important for Ubisoft. It’s possible, however, that they may have bit off more than they could chew this time.
If you’d like to see a louder, quicker, and more opinionated version of this article, watch the video below.