When it comes to games not living up to their lofty promises, Watch Dogs is going to stay in the history books forever. Its reveal at E3 2012 showed off a stunning virtual Chicago with fancy weather effects and billowing winter coats. The actual game released in 2014 was a fair distance away from being as jawdropping.
But Ubisoft has learnt from that experience, and vow not to make the same mistake again. “[We will] make sure the games are playable, that they’re running on the target machines,” said CEO Yves Guillemot about showing off games at E3.
Talking to the Guardian, Guillemot said that the scope of the project was the mistake they made, not realising how much the complexity would restrain them. “It’s a real challenge to create those types of games,” said Guillemot. “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.”
The backlash from fans and press no doubt rocked the road at Ubisoft, but the experience has certainly changed the way the studio approaches revealing their games at big shows. “With E3 2015 we said, OK, let’s make sure the games are playable, that they’re running on the target machines. 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.”