Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs delay only adds to its hype. It better come through.


Watch Dogs, from Ubisoft, now has a set a release date of May 27, after delays kept the title from launching with the newest consoles. (Photo courtesy of Ubisoft)

Ubisoft broke gamers' hearts late last year when the firm delayed the release of Watch Dogs, a much-anticipated title that was supposed to be one of the flagship games for the new generation of gaming consoles, and gave it a vague "April to June" release window. Well, now we can dream again, though Ubisoft will have an even higher bar to clear after these delays.

The game now has an official release date of May 27, as confirmed by it's European YouTube channel and the global Twitter account:

The game, which is set in a version of Chicago where everything is connected by a central system, puts players in the shoes of a hacker who's on a mission to use the city's smart grid against it. Players can control things such as stoplights, power grids and the train systems to help their cause or to trip up their enemies. It's supposed to provide a mix of stealth, fistfights, car chases and strategic hacking to keep the game challenging, engaging and, above all, fun.

That was the main reason for the delay, according to an in-depth look into the game over at Polygon. Apparently, the game just wasn't fun in time for its first release. Polygon's Brian Crecente reports that while Watch Dogs looked great in demos, the developers were finding it too repetitive and felt that their design intent wasn't coming across clearly enough. In their words, the game lacked a certain "polish."

A repetitive game would have been horrible for Watch Dogs, especially after more than a year of hype about the concept's innovation and considerable praise for the open world that Ubisoft designed to satisfy gamers of any play style. To fail to deliver in the last mile of the marathon would have been disastrous.

Of course, delaying the launch also carries a huge risk, as it adds to the hype and expectations for the game. We're not looking at a "Duke Nukem Forever"-style decade of waiting, but the game is already fielding criticism from gamers who've seen the most recent trailers and complained that the graphics look like they've had a serious downgrade.

"Coming in 2009 on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 Systems!" wrote one commenter on the story trailer that Ubisoft posted Thursday.

Ubisoft could not immediately be reached for comment on whether the scenes in its trailer used gameplay footage from the PlayStation 4 and  Xbox One, or the previous generation of consoles.

If Watch Dogs can deliver smart, fun gameplay, then the graphics may not matter as much. But it would be a shame if it doesn't match up to other next-gen titles we've seen that have taken full, beautiful advantage of the hardware in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Watch Dogs will be available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. A Wii U version is also in development.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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