The hostile reaction toward the graphical downgrade experienced by Watchdogs between its unveiling and release led to a change of policy at Ubisoft.
The game was upon its release last year widely criticised for failing to live up to the visual promises made in some of its pre-release material. Now Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has told The Guardian that the fiasco has actually led to changes in how the company approaches pre-release footage.
With E3 2015 we said, OK, let's make sure the games are playable, that they're running on the target machines,” he said. When we show something, we ask the team, make sure it's playable, make sure gamers can immediately see exactly what it is.
That's what we learned from the Watch Dogs experience – if it can't be played on the target machine, it can be a risk.”
Guillemot also defended the game itself, which fared reasonably well with critics but was by some considered a disappointment after what was, owing to delays, a long pre-release campaign.
It's a real challenge to create those types of games,” Guillemot said of ambitious, open-world titles. When they come out, especially the first iterations, they are not perfect on everything. We think we launched a good quality game for a first step in a new brand with a new technology. It's just so complex – seamless multiplayer, connectivity with mobile and tablets, so many things – it was maybe a bit too much for a first iteration.”
So what of Watchdogs 2? On this, Guillemot was less forthcoming: We are continuing to work on everything we created so we can get to the next level.”