Ubisoft has today announced that both next-gen titles Watch Dogs and The Crew will be delayed for a 2014 release, coinciding with the studio’s decision not to ‘compromise on quality’ by releasing unfinished versions to meet deadlines. The delay on Aiden Pearce’s futuristic adventure poses a curious question: what happens to gamers who have pre-ordered a Watch Dogs PS4/Xbox One bundle?
Sony teamed up with Ubisoft to bring cost-effective bundles that include the studio’s anticipated open-world techno-stealth title, which have been sold out across online retailers like Amazon. Other retailers like GameStop took notice and began offering their own bundles, reflecting the other side of the next-gen spectrum with the Xbox One Watch Dogs bundle.
Now that Ubisoft has pushed back the title, it’s unclear what will happen to those gamers who have pre-ordered their own Watch Dogs bundles–will they be credited the retail price of the game, maybe even offered another title (and a download token) as recompense?
Ubisoft has responded to Kotaku concerning the situation, however their remarks offered no real clarification and was a very vague response:
“Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo understand the importance of releasing games of the very highest quality for their consoles. Our partnership with Sony remains strong and we will have more details to share about the specific benefits of this partnership for PlayStation customers at a later date.”
When pressed further on the unclear fate of the pre-order bundles, Ubisoft delivered more of the same PR-infused responses:
“We hope that players who have pre-ordered the game will still look forward to playing it in Spring 2014, and that the extra polish and quality we’ll be able to add to the game will ensure a fantastic gaming experience.”
Ubisoft will most likely issue a public statement when a decision has been made on how to handle the situation, but until then these responses may lead to more than a few gamers cancelling their pre-order altogether. Amazon.com‘s Watch Dogs PS4 bundle has been sold out for quite some time, however consumers might be able to pick up a launch day PS4 as the ‘Zon was recently re-stocked with consoles.
Watch Dogs isn’t the only game to get delayed to 2014; Ubisoft’s original new IP The Crew has also received a push towards a Summer 2014 launch. Ubi’s Yves Guillemot revealed the delay in a recent investor’s call and had the following to say about why the decision was made:
“Our long term goal is to win the next generation. 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.
“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. We are building franchises that will become perennial pillars of Ubisoft’s financial performance.”
Apart from the unsettling and worrisome scenarios created by the delays, Ubisoft has moved the European release date of the upcoming pirate-themed adventure Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag to coincide with the release in North America.
Instead of release on Nov. 1 in Europe, the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of ACIV now launch on Oct. 29, lining up a global launch across all regions for current-gen consoles (PC and Wii U versions have kept their Nov. 22 release date whereas the next-gen flavors will launch along side the consoles).
Granted this is only a few days, but overseas gamers who are looking forward to the swashbuckling adventure across the high seas will appreciate getting their hands on the game sooner rather than later. To celebrate the schedule change, Ubi has delivered a new Assassin’s Creed IV story trailer based on Edward Kenway, which can be found below:
We’ll be sure to keep you updated when we hear more on the conundrum surrounding the Watch Dogs bundles, and hopefully the studio can sort things out with a definitive solution sometime soon.