If this Years E3 had a theme, other than bows being the near universal weapon of choice, it was pre-announcement leaks. EA’s Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Microsoft’s New music service, Sony’s new Battle Royale characters and Nintendo’s redesigned Wii U Gamepad were just a few of the big announcements that we already knew before their respective press conference reveals.
Ubisoft however managed the impossible, by successfully keeping this years most exciting new IP a complete secret until their press conference. In a year full of sequels and leaks Tony Key, Ubisoft’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, was recently interviewed and helped shed some light on how the publisher kept the futuristic cyber warfare title secret in a year where every other publisher seemed plagued with information leaks.
“I think it says something about the industry in general that the fact that it didn’t leak is the news,” Key told IGN. “We did have leaks on a couple of our other surprises — Splinter Cell Blacklist’s title leaked out beforehand. We were going to announce that. Assassin’s Creed Liberation on Vita leaked out before the briefing. I can’t say that we did something different on this one. I just think that the team did a great job of managing their internal team and we did our best. I think we were very successful, and part of the reason why everyone’s so excited about Watch Dogs is not only because it was awesome looking but because it was totally unexpected.”
“The fact that we didn’t leak it? I think we should just say we got lucky,” Key said. “It’s really hard for something to not get leaked, especially right before E3. Everybody’s trolling for any scrap or hint of something. We’ll give ourselves credit. We didn’t transfer a lot of assets around. We were very careful and we were able to keep it a secret.”
Many people were not only shocked by the fact that an unexpected title was revealed, but also by the fact it was a new IP in a year full of reboots and new entries in existing franchises. When asked about that decision, Key responded by saying:
“The fact that we’re announcing a new IP so late in the cycle is another unexpected move, which is another reason why the whole thing was so surprising,” Key replied. “It’s generating a lot of excitement because what this generation of consoles probably needs is more surprises at this stage of its life. We hope that Watch Dogs can be something that really generates a lot of excitement and puts it out there now.”
“It’s a seriously ambitious project,” he said. “A lot of people are working on that game. A lot of technology is in that game that we’re really building for that game. It’s going to be a monster for us when it’s finally done. We have been working on it for a long time because there’s so much stuff in that game that we’ve never done before in any of our other games, so that takes a lot of time, to figure out how you’re going to design a game around that technology and how to take advantage of it. The one thing you do need to do at this stage is make sure you get it right because you’re not going to get too many chances with a new IP like that.”
When asked how long the title had been in development without leaking, Key appeared hesitant, eventually giving an answer.
“It depends what you mean by ‘development. Everything starts in a design phase with five guys, then it’s 20 guys. Then you’ve got people working on technology, then you employ game design, then the design gets approved and then the team gets built. It’s at least a couple years since that thing has been in development, but how long has that technology been in development? I don’t know, because I don’t know which guy started it in which corner of the building up in Montreal and what day that was. But this project itself has been in development for two years.”
While we currently don’t have a release window for the title, we have heard a little about what platforms it will be coming to. While it has been confirmed for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, a Wii U launch was less certain. When asked if it was coming to Wii U, responded by saying:
“Not at this time. We have so many titles in development for Wii U right now that we need to keep that team focused and this is a very very ambitious game. But it’s not out of the question.”
Expanding on his claims that this was a “very very ambitious game,” Key suggested that the game still has more surprised that have yet to be revealed.
“There’s so much more that you guys still haven’t seen,” Key said. “That’s why I say it’s very, very ambitious. Some of the things that they have in their design right now…wish them luck that they could even get all that in there. Because that team has a vision that is beyond what we’ve seen before.”
So what do you think of this news? Were you suprised by Ubisoft’s reveal of Watch Dogs? Do you think it will come to Wii U? What sort of suprises do you think they might have in store for us? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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