[Disclaimer: The Friday Night Rant is just that, a rant. It contains extemporaneous remarks which are not to be confused with this site's journalism or more serious editorial opinions. It is meant to be an entertaining take on the industry and may be divisive in nature.]
Whew, that was close wasn’t it? Everyone almost got to play the game that Ubisoft has been crowing about so much they already held a poll to see who should play Aiden in the movie. I think Tom Cruise won btw.
Watch Dogs first jumped out at us at E3 of 2012, immediately sparking rumors that it was to be a next generation game. While that sort of worked out in the favor of a cross gen debut, it seems most gamers had no qualms about putting it on their must-have list for this holiday season for whatever console or PC rig they happen to own at the time.
Now a lot of folks are a bit down with the official postponement by Ubisoft until 2014. I can’t say I’m worried a bit about it though. While a great deal of that is probably the fact that I wasn’t planning to make it a day one purchase, I also think that if we really want this to be half the success that Ubisoft expects it to be we ought to give it the extra breathing room.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is coming at the end of the month and it would be a terrible pity for the annual franchise that keeps quality coming to be overshadowed by another sandbox adventure. The thing about games of the same genre these days is that they tend not to differ all that much in the overall experience. When dealing with the hardcore folks you need to give them time to recharge or they will do something silly like choose one game and put the other off indefinitely. So with Black Flag and Watch Dogs no longer clashing with each other they will both have a shot at maximum sales.
There’s also the gigantic presence of GTA V to contend with. Gamers just got themselves a heaping helping of sandbox action. The effect of this could be to put the hardcore off the genre long enough for most who hoped to buy Watch Dogs as a current gen game to put it off until next gen. Now, not everyone will be getting their new generation console next month so some of those sales could be put off until well into next year. GTA and Assassin’s Creed do happen to differ quite a bit so there is less of a problem there, but with Watch Dogs being GTA for hackers and all it’s a bit more of a clashing of titans as it were.
While I strongly suspect these are the bigger reasons Watch Dogs was delayed, there is also the possibility that it wasn’t ready for prime time. If that was the case then it will be better for Ubi and everyone else if they have the time to crank it up from an 8 range to a 9 range. And if it is already in that territory then hey, every game benefits from polish. I think we all wish certain games intended to become huge franchises had just been delayed until they could be cleaned up like oh say Remember Me.
If anyone out there is upset about this delay because it will further diminish the number of launch titles for the next generation believe me I feel you. I have been so underwhelmed by what has been announced on both sides of the console aisle that I have yet to see anything I absolutely must have on day one. Launches are never that pretty though, and the reason we buy hardware is for what is coming out over its lifespan. Watch Dogs or no Watch Dogs we are going to be waiting awhile before the truly worthwhile next gen experiences start coming. I just can’t place as much stock in a cross gen game as everyone else seems to be willing to.
The only thing left is for them to avoid conflict with inFamous: Second Son because that game is going to be out of this world.