Where is Watch Dogs?
Following an eleventh-hour delay last October, Ubisoft's anticipated hacking/driving/shooting/sneaking sandbox has dropped from "Spring 2014" to MIA, with all manner of Wii U cancellation rumours and fraudulent trademark abandonment claims echoing around the deafening official silence. Thankfully a recent investor call gives us a more firm idea of when to expect it, though those Wii U reports do appear to be based around a chewy truth centre.
First up: the good news. Ubisoft have tied Watch Dogs down to their first financial quarter, which effectively means launching between April-June. As they predicted, the delay led to a serious downturn in sales (just shy of 25% year-on-year), but the fact that they were realistic with their projections means that investors aren't particularly concerned. Especially since they expect Watch Dogs and The Crew to provide a serious payday when they finally do hit shelves.
Wii U pre-order customers have had a nervy time of late, with some retailers and reports suggesting that Ubisoft had cancelled the port over the last few months. Ubisoft have now categorically denied these rumours, but by the same token, confirm that the Wii U version will suffer extra delays.
“We made the difficult decision to further delay the release of Watch Dogs on Wii U to focus the team’s resources where they could have the broadest possible benefit for both our customers and Ubisoft,” the company announced.
This is corporate-speak for "we've taken the Wii U optimisation and Gamepad staffers off the project to work on the more profitable versions, though they'll probably get back to business at some point." Considering the console's flagging sales, it's unsurprising to see another publisher giving the Wii U short shrift. It's Rayman Legends all over again. Fingers crossed that we'll see some innovative GamePad integration as a result.
Personally, I've found this lengthy delay to be ever-so-slightly worrying. Last year I was bouncing off the office walls with excitement, having previewed a production build, interviewed the developers and even testing out the companion app as the hype train kept accelerating. However, the delay took the wind out of my sails somewhat... and more to the point, I can't help but wonder exactly why they need this extra time. Questions still abound regarding the size of their virtual sandbox, which they've remained very coy about.
With any luck, they're just holding Watch Dogs back to release completely unopposed in late Spring/early Summer, when console gamers traditionally don't have anything particularly exciting to play (and PC gamers look to all manner of indie loveliness) - and trying to cram more of the next-gen simulation features into the current-gen versions. More to the point, much like BioShock Infinite, a confirmed release date will jump-start my dormant excitement like a syringe of adrenaline.
Are you still excited about Watch Dogs? Sorry, stupid question. How excited are you about Watch Dogs, and has the delay impacted your expectations at all? Worried about the Wii U version? Let us know in the comments!