Posted Thu Mar 6, 2014 at 07:03 PM PST by Brian Hoss
Five Months After, Ubisoft Offers to Explain the Delay of 'Watch Dogs'
"For us "polish" is that very hard-to-plan period where in theory you're finished but you need to still adjust things a little bit."
It's been five months since Ubisoft announced that 'Watch Dogs' would not be a 2013 title, an announcement that saw one of the company's biggest marketing efforts and next-gen launch title temporarily fall off the face of the earth. Now that the game finally has a release date, Ubisoft has published an interview of Senior Producer Dominic Guay that attempts to explain where the game was in terms of development when the delay was announced and what changes were made during the intervening time.
"We looked at it together with Ubisoft HQ. We thought we'd be done for Christmas. Everyone agreed. And that's when we announced the date. And for quite a while, it really looked like we'd make it. We had the game playable front-to-back in spring , which meant we had like five, six months ahead of us to iterate and debug, which is more time than a lot of games need. But because we are a new IP, a new game experience, that wasn't the case. We needed that time and we needed more."
"When we got close to the end, we still could have shipped."
The primary thrust of the interview is explain that the game was content complete, but that usability testing revealed several areas that needed polish including control and UI feedback, as well as the reception of several implemented features like the distribution of content in the open world versus where players spent their time, and even the game's pseudo multiplayer mode. Beyond that, the team elected to add some features to the game, but only those ideas that where rooted further back in the project and could be considered variations on existing features.
"Here's a quick example. We've always had the ability for the player – for Aiden – to hack into an NPC's communication device – basically, their headset, to block them from calling in reinforcements. We actually used a variation of that in the first demo we showed at E3, where Aiden hacked in the communications system and disrupts a bouncer from talking with someone on the phone. We had discussions about that, but we never implemented other ways of hacking into that system. But we also wanted the hacking of the headset to be useful in combat. Someone had an idea a while ago: What if we had high-pitch, high-volume sound push into those headset? How would someone react to that?"
"But there's a difference between that – which is a variation on something we'd already done and had been discussing for a while – and starting to add all sorts of new, weird ideas. We didn't go there. We didn't think that was needed. The game has so many new features, it was really about making those features work well, work smartly and adapt to the kind of players who play the game."
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