If you follow gaming news online at all you’ve probably seen that Watch Dogs has been bumped from its November release date and pushed well into 2014. (http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2013/10/15/report-watch-dogs-release-date-pushed-to-2014.aspx)
The reasons for delaying this game generally make sense. If the game isn’t ready to go then it isn’t ready to go. The fact that we are than a month away from the original launch date made me raise my eyebrow a little but overall if I am going to get a better game because of this delay I say go for it.
The fact that the game was delayed didn’t make me groan when I saw it. What made me groan when I saw this news was the fact that we may have to go through six more months of hype for Watchdogs.
The thing I fault Ubisoft for is announcing this game way too early. If Watchdogs settles on a late June release date we may have to see it for a third consecutive E3. I don’t like that.
I think Ubisoft is risking a couple things. I think you could start to see some fan burnout and also some very high expectations that might be hard for a new IP to reach in its first outing.
I’m definitely feeling Watchdogs burnout myself. I’ve seen so many demos, trailers, web documentaries and event appearances by this game that I’m tired of seeing it. I know the world. I know the protagonist. I know about the hacking. I know about the stealth driving. I know about the PVP. I know about the celebrity appearances. Honestly I’m starting to wonder how much we don’t know about this game. I’m not sure what more they could see to get me any more excited about this game. I’m at a point where I just need to get my hands on it and play it myself. Watchdogs has built up a lot of hype and promise and I think Ubisoft needs to stop talking about it and start delivering.
I think we also could be in for a case of unreasonable expectations. Sometimes delaying a game isn’t a good thing. Sometimes teams just second guess themselves and won’t pull the trigger because they are trying to create the greatest game of all time. Ask the guys behind Duke Nukem Forever how that works out. Eventually the hype starts to build beyond levels of what a developer can actually deliver. Three years of non-stop hype for a game is a long time. I hope Watch Dogs doesn’t get crushed under the weight of the lofty expectations (rightly so at this point) that people have.
The biggest thing you can take away from this is that Ubisoft is announcing some of its games far too early. I think they need to start announcing other games in the same manner that they announce Assassin’s Creed games. Ubisoft doesn’t acknowledge the next Assassin’s Creed until the year it is actually scheduled to come out. Too many things can go wrong for a game that is two years away from reaching the market to announce it. They are one bad break away from being in the situation they are in now with Watch Dogs where they have to find a way to keep people interested for three years instead of six months. To that end I think The Division was announced way too early. Best case scenario is that game comes out during the 2014 holiday season. We are going to see The Division again next June guaranteed. I sincerely hope I’m not seeing it again in June of 2015.