“It’s a very intense decision” – that’s how North American Ubisoft president Laurent Detoc describes the process leading up to the delay of a game.
Speaking to IGN, the exec explained that as late as August of this year Ubisoft still hoped to have Watch Dogs ready for the launch of Xbox One and PS4 in November.
And he believes it would have been good, too. But the decision to delay into next year will make it even better.
“I actually believe that Watch Dogs could have ended up being the best-rated game on next gen if it came out at launch. We wanted it to be even higher,” Detoc said. “The whole package is there already.
“But without sending them too many flowers, the guys at Rockstar have showed us again that if you make a 96 per cent game, people will come. Watch Dogs, I can only hope we get to that level. There’s an attachment to the brand, in the case of GTA, that makes people really want to give it that 100 per cent review. We’ll be missing that on Watch Dogs until we go further, potentially. That’s what we’re after.
“I’ll tell you, at Gamescom, everybody was looking each other in the eye thinking we would be there at launch. There were already some lingering doubts, but we were ploughing through it. There were more than a thousand people touching that game. Then eventually, a month later, we said, ‘this is not gonna fly.’
“Then it takes a few more weeks to decide how we’re going to package that news for everyone. It’s not just about delaying for the sake of delaying it. No matter how hard we try, we also put out games that are not good quality, unfortunately. It’s not because we go out and say, ‘great, let’s make a piece of junk and put it out there.’ It’s really painful to us. But some games, you just can’t make them that much better because of how they’ve been progressing.
“Part of the decision to delay Watch Dogs is also that. We know it’s not where we want it to be. Can it get there? What will it take to get there? That’s why it takes a longer process. But in August we really thought we were going to have that game at launch.”