Ubisoft's Watch Dogs was one of the most anticipated game in the next-gen console launch lineup until the developer delayed it along with its multiplayer open world racing game "The Crew" without giving any reason. Many gamers were not pleased to hear that they would not be able to buy Watch Dogs along with their new consoles. Ubisoft managed to take out some time and explain why the game was actually delayed.
Ubisoft's President Explains Why Watch Dogs Was Delayed - Better To Release A Polished Game Than An Unfinished One
Ubisoft is one of those developers that have been giving first quality AAA games for quite some time now. Games like Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed are the proof that the developer puts all its efforts in making a game, and knows how to make a game look better. Ubisoft has a short history of delaying its several major game titles, the developer accepts no compromise when it comes to the quality of the game. Ubisoft's two famous and well marketed titles Watch Dogs and The Crew were going to be among the launch lineup of next-gen consoles but the developer delayed the titles to mid 2014.
In a recent interview with IGN, Ubisoft's North American President Laurent Detoc said that delaying Watch Dogs launch was an intense decision, the game would have been one of the highest rated PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch titles if it had released alongside the systems but the delay was in best interest of the game and the company. Ubisoft became impressed by Rockstar Grand Theft Auto V's game quality and visuals, and so they decided to make a game that is competent.
"It’s a very intense decision,” Detoc said regarding the delay of the game. “I think one of the fascinating things about this industry is that you can go from genius to idiot in an extremely short time frame. These are some of those moments, where you’re riding sky high on Watch Dogs or Rayman, and then suddenly you have to break it to the outside world, and sometimes even convince the inside people. Not everybody agrees. You have to say, ‘this is in the best interest of the product, to do this,’ because at the end of the day we’re going to be able to do this extra fine tuning.”
According to Detoc, at Gamescom in August 2013, Ubisoft had full intentions to release the game on its original launch date, among the next-gen consoles. Despite some lasting doubts, everyone believed that the game would be launched in November. However, the game was delayed shortly after the event.
“I’ll tell you, at gamescom, everybody was looking each other in the eye thinking we would be there at launch," Detoc explained "There were already some lingering doubts, but we were plowing through it. There were more than a thousand people touching that game. Then eventually, a month later, we said, ‘this is not gonna fly.’ Then it takes a few more weeks to decide how we’re going to package that news for everyone. It’s not just about delaying for the sake of delaying it. No matter how hard we try, we also put out games that are not good quality, unfortunately."
Detoc explained that taking some months to polish a game that you have been working on for years is not bad, actually it saves you from a lot of criticism and negative feed back. Some games can't be judged by their development progress. Ubisoft knew that the game was not ready and needed some more work.
“It’s not because we go out and say, ‘great, let’s make a piece of junk and put it out there.’ It’s really painful to us. But some games, you just can’t make them that much better because of how they’ve been progressing. Part of the decision to delay Watch_Dogs is also that. We know it’s not where we want it to be. Can it get there? What will it take to get there? That’s why it takes a longer process. But in August we really thought we were going to have that game at launch.”
Still, despite the fact that the game was not ready for the launch and had some development issues, Detoc said he believes that Watch Dogs could have been among the best-rated games for next-gen consoles if it came out at its original launch date.
“I actually believe that Watch_Dogs could have ended up being the best-rated game on next gen if it came out at launch."
Pointing towards the Gran Theft Auto V, Detoc said that Rockstar inspired the developer to make a complete game that could become famous among people, because it is complete and polished. It is better to delay the game and finish it rather then releasing it unpolished and half-finished.
"We wanted it to be even higher. The whole package is there already. But without sending them too many flowers, the guys at Rockstar have showed us again that if you make a 96-percent game, people will come. Watch Dogs, I can only hope we get to that level. There’s an attachment to the brand, in the case of GTA, that makes people really want to give it that 100-percent review. We’ll be missing that on Watch_Dogs until we go further, potentially. That’s what we’re after.”