“When we got close to the end, we still could have shipped. That’s why it’s hard.”
That’s the admission from Watch Dogs senior producer Dominic Guay, who has taken to the Ubiblog to explain the decision to delay the game from its previous next-gen launch November release date until May.
“It was not like we were failing miserably, the game didn’t work, or it couldn’t be played,” he said. “We’d been playing this game from front to back for so long it really looked like this would happen.
“But when you iterate on a game and you make a change, look at what it impacts, make another change, it takes time. It’s really hard to predict how much time that’s going to take.
“When we announced a date, it was because we thought we would be done by then, and not because someone said, That’s when you’re shipping because that’s when we need it financially, so cut the game and make it happen. It was never that. It was, This is the game you guys want to make; that’s the game we want you to make.
“We looked at it together with Ubisoft HQ. We thought we’d be done for Christmas. Everyone agreed. And that’s when we announced the date. And for quite a while, it really looked like we’d make it. We had the game playable front-to-back in spring , which meant we had like five, six months ahead of us to iterate and debug, which is more time than a lot of games need. But because we are a new IP, a new game experience, that wasn’t the case. We needed that time and we needed more.
“The good news is when HQ and the studio management here looked at the game, they understood what we’re trying to do with Watch Dogs and they agreed. They said: We understand, we see the same thing as you, you guys need more time. They agreed to it. I don’t know if I’m going to get that luxury every time I ship a game, but in this case it really was beneficial. It was really what we needed to ship the game we wanted to ship.”