Why Watch_Dogs Delay has Nothing to do with Quality Control

Maybe you’ve heard the news that Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs has been delayed from its original release date of the 22nd November to an unspecified Spring 2014 release.

Here’s the official statement to the press, from Ubisoft, in full.

“Our ambition from the start with Watch_Dogs has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next-generation of gaming. It is with this in mind that we’ve made the tough decision to delay the release until Spring 2014.

We know a lot of you are probably wondering ‘why now?’ We struggled with whether we would delay the game. But from the beginning, we have adopted the attitude that we will not compromise on quality. As we got closer to release, as all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place in our last push before completion, it became clear to us that we needed to take the extra time to polish and fine tune every detail so we can deliver a truly memorable and exceptional experience.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you. We thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the way you respond on the web, at events, press conferences and during other opportunities we have to interact. Your passion is what drives us.

We can’t wait to see you in Chicago next Spring. We are confident you’ll love this game as much as we love working on it.”

At first glance it’s an admirable statement, they don’t want to compromise on quality, and if that apparent current gen trailer that went down like a flaming bag of dog shit the other month really is representative of the current state of the PS3, Xbox 360 and probably, Wii U versions of the game than Ubisoft really do need to make some drastic changes, thus the delay.

However,It’s certainly not to improve the next gen versions because, from everything I’ve read. seen and heard about its the game, on the ps4, xbox one and PC at least, is already shaping up to be absolutely spectacular. 

Moreover it had, until yesterday at least, become a major part of the PS4’s launch lineup in Europe, being the only third party game to be part of an official bundle. Now Sony wouldn’t let a sub par third party game be bundled with their great white hope for next gen dominance. They’re cleverer than that.

It seems a very curious 11th hour decision, the game has been getting incredibly positive press, the preorders are through the roof, this was going to be THE GAME to get this Christmas. So why delay?

Sure they will have time to make the game even better and hopefully the devs will be able to avoid the usual stresses which go along with the crunch period and bring us a fantastic game, in a timely manner, regardless of platform. This I don’t doubt.

But I honestly think that the quality of Watch_Dogs isn’t the reason that it has now been moved to spring, which is, by the way, already looking pretty packed with the release such as Wolfenstein, The Evil Within and iNfamous: Second Son, and that’s just off the top of my head. Ubisoft wouldn’t have moved Watch_Dogs from a guaranteed smash hit at Christmas to the busiest spring gaming has ever seen if they didn’t think it could handle it. Which in my mind says they either know it would sell regardless of quality, in which case why delay it? or that they know the game is good enough to go toe to toe with whatever the market throws at it.

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The pirate who stole the PS4 launch.

No, piracy is to blame for Watch_Dogs not coming out this side of Christmas. I am of course talking about Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag, which hasn’t been as well received as Ubisoft had hoped it would and has been completely sidelined by the hype surrounding the release of Watch_Dogs.

I think I’m relatively safe in saying that public consensus with regards to Assassins Creed IV is that it might be better than the last entry in the series, which isn’t hard because Assassins Creed III is  bloody awful and easily the weakest game in the entire series, but it had one redeeming feature, naval battles, which are now, surprise surprise, the main focus of Assassin’s Creed IV; which has lead many to see it as a cynical cash grab and the final nail in the coffin of a once great series, ruined by yearly releases.

Having played it at Eurogamer, I’m quietly optimistic that maybe it might be able to remove the sour taste that AC III left in my mouth. But apart from a few tweaks and fewer loading screens there’s not a lot that really differentiates ACIV from III except, from the looks of things, a more interesting historical period and a greatly improved cast.

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What I do know is that putting Watch_Dogs out at the same time as ACIV would have meant that one of them would have lost out, and my money would have been on AC IV. Why fight against yourself and jeopardize the sales of one of your biggest franchises at the hands of your greatly anticipated, brand new and IP.

With Watch_Dogs now on the back burner Ubisoft can focus their attention and considerable marketing budgets on making sure every man, woman and child knows about, and more importantly, is thinking about buying Assassins Creed IV with the cash they were going to use to get Watch_Dogs.

Will moving Watch_Dogs help, ACIV? Maybe. If you’re really desperate for some open world hijinks on your new PS4 or Xbox One there’s not going to be any other alternatives now, and I have seen early adopters time and again settle for a game they otherwise wouldn’t have bothered with simply out of desperation.

Will this move hurt Watch_Dogs. Not at all, do I mind? not really, It just means i’ll be buying Super Mario 3D World at launch instead of a couple of weeks later.

What do you guys think? tell us your thoughts on the delay in the comments below.

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