According to an interview found in the April 2014 issue of Edge Magazine, Ubisoft “forced” developer Ubisoft Montreal to reveal Watch Dogs at E3 2012.
Creative Director Jonathan Morin states that while Ubisoft pushed their Montreal development studio to reveal Watch Dogs “a bit early”. The decision to reveal their new title was ultimately made by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. While Morin says that the past developmental state of Watch Dogs may not have met the standards of Ubisoft Montreal, Morin now believes that the early reveal actually helped increase anticipation for the current and next-gen techno-thriller.
During the E3 hype-window (i.e. the few weeks following E3 where announcements are still being released), it was revealed that the stage-build of Watch Dogs was developed and running on a high-end PC. When Ubisoft Montreal began working on their next open-world hopeful blockbuster, the Xbox One and PS4 were just rumors- the architecture for both systems had yet to reach the hands of developers. The Edge feature reveals that Watch Dogs still had several issues that needed to be ironed-out just months before its presumed release date. Morin says that while the mechanics and organized-chaos of open-world hacking were all in place, the AI still had difficulties reacting to in-game actions:
“There were some areas or missions where the wires connected in the wrong way…And it’s not really the mission itself, it’s the emergence it can create. So once you have cops showing up in a certain situation with this and with that on top of it, and it starts getting out of control in a good way, it kind of collapsed. In certain combinations, the AI didn’t react at the level of quality we wanted.”
One of the underlying features of Watch Dogs is watching realistic chaos unfold across several city-blocks, all due to a simple hacking event; citizens panicking during a blackout, traffic jams and impending accidents after disabling traffic lights, etc. When it comes to large-scale AI reactions induced by random events, there aren’t very many titles that can match the promised realism of Watch Dogs. According to Morin, Ubisoft Montreal “sold precisely that [high level of experience to players]…If you do a car crash, it needs to feel like a car crash, not a Burnout version of it.”
Watch Dogs is currently slated to release on May 27 for PS3, 360, PS4, Xbox One and PC. While Ubisoft has confirmed that the Wii U version has not been cancelled, there no official word on when it will see the light of day.