“Watch Dogs,” which had been one of the most anticipated new games of 2013, just became one of the most anticipated new games of 2014.
Ubisoft announced Tuesday that the release of the title has been pushed back until at least spring of next year.
“Our ambition from the start with ‘Watch Dogs’ has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next-generation of gaming,” read a statement attributed to the “Watch Dogs” development team. “It is with this in mind that we’ve made the tough decision to delay the release until spring 2014.”
Set in Chicago, “Watch Dogs” presents a world in which governing forces are spying on citizens with hidden surveillance systems and guns are easy to come by. Gamers play as protagonist Aiden Pearce, who has the ability to hack into the mobile phones or the homes of anyone he passes, pulling up arrest warrants or seeming innocuous details such as someone’s food allergies.
Ubisoft’s post Tuesday noted that the company “struggled” with whether to delay the game, which had been scheduled for a Nov. 19 release on current and next-generation consoles. “As we got closer to release, as all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place in our last push before completion, it became clear to us that we needed to take the extra time to polish and fine tune each detail so we can deliver a truly memorable and exceptional experience,” the post stated.
Ubisoft also pushed the release of next-gen racing game “The Crew” into 2014. In announcing the decisions, the Paris-based company notified shareholders that it was lowering its projected 2013 sales.
“The tough decisions we are taking today to fully realize the major potential of our new creations have an impact on our short-term performance,” said Ubisoft co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot. “We are convinced that, longer term, they will prove to be the right decisions both in terms of satisfaction for our fans and in terms of value creation for our shareholders.”
“Watch Dogs” creative director Jonathan Morin said he wanted players to walk away from the game “with a very different take on security, moral ambiguity and why there’s crime in the world.” Ironically, it might so mirror reality now that it may be the rare mainstream title that’s less of an escape from reality than a way to talk about real-life issues.
Plot details pf the game have thus far been scant, but Ubisoft is continuing to move forward with Sony Pictures and New Regency to bring “Watch Dogs” to the big screen.
“The story focuses on information and the control of information, which we think will lead to an exciting thriller,” Hannah Minghella, president of production for Columbia Pictures, said in a statement when the film plans were unveiled in September.
“Watch Dogs” already had been available for pre-order, with some retailers offering to bundle the new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles with the game. Details on the options available to consumers who pre-ordered such bundles have not yet been announced.
— Todd Martens
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