Watch Dogs' Mixed Reception Was Similar to Original Assassin's Creed's, Ubisoft Says

Watch Dogs

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With over 8 million copies shipped to date, Ubisoft's Watch Dogs could be considered a commercial success. And though the game received a generally positive critical reception, some elements of the game have been criticized.

In a new interview with CVG, Ubisoft Montreal executive Lionel Raynaud acknowledged that Watch Dogs did have its flaws, but said the game has succeeded in establishing "a brand and promise" for its future. He goes on to say that Watch Dogs' initial reception was similar to another Ubisoft franchise, which is now one of the company's crown jewels.

"The reception has actually been pretty close to Assassin's Creed [1]," he said. "With the first one we didn't have such a good reception, and it was fair. We had a lot of flaws in the replayability of gameplay loops and you could feel that the game was a first iteration."

At the same time, Raynaud said the original Assassin's Creed game showed the franchise's "clear potential." It's a similar situation for Watch Dogs, he said.

"It was difficult to do everything at the right level, which is why we took more time," Raynaud said, referencing the game's delay from November 2013 to May 2014. "The time we took was definitely useful--it allowed us to release the game without compromises and do everything that we wanted."

Though a Watch Dogs 2 has not been officially announced, Raynaud's comments about the potential of the series, coupled with Ubisoft marketing executive Tony Key saying in June that Watch Dogs is clearly a franchise, strongly suggest that Ubisoft will make another game. Addressing this possibility, Raynaud said Ubisoft isn't going to shy away from changing the Watch Dogs formula substantially for a potential new entry in the series.

"There are flaws, obviously," Raynaud said about the original Watch Dogs. "We absolutely want to tackle these flaws and surprise players, and the way to tackle some of those flaws is going to be quite radical. There are parts of the game that will need to change.

"We have this ambition to have games that are worlds with systems that offer more agency and freedom for players, that allow them to discover the world in the way they want," he added. "We want them to be less narrative- or character-driven and more creative, with more choices for the player."

Raynaud admitted that this mindset is a "high ambition" and will require that Ubisoft "develop technologies that [it] didn't have for Watch Dogs 1." Nevertheless, "This, combined with fixing and refining what worked well, is probably the way to go for Watch Dogs 2," Raynaud said.

Ubisoft has also reached a deal to make a Watch Dogs movie, though we don't know any more details about it.

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