Watch_Dogs: Legion is one of the most ambitious games from Ubisoft but its release date could be a real problem.
Many times when a game is announced at E3, I will have a question or concern about the teams decision on something. Watch_Dogs: Legion is one of those games, but (in a rare moment) my concern has nothing to do with the gameplay mechanics or world building.
Instead, my concern has to do with the games targeted release date of March 6, 2020.
Watch_Dogs: Legion is the first time since the original game that I’ve been excited for a new entry into the series. I’m loving how players must organize a resistance army and topple a dictatorship in cyber-punk London. Not since Saints Row has a game totally abandoned its roots in an attempt to become something more than a “GTA clone”.
At first the March 2020 release date seemed like a blessing since I won’t have to wait long. Until I realized that another cyber-punk themed game is coming out around that time, Cyberpunk 2077 (aka the most highly anticipated game of the year).
With a target release date of one month before Cyberpunk 2077, Ubisoft is making a major marketing mistake. Publishers seem to forget that time and money are a finite commodity for many people. Maybe the most hardcore of gamers will buy both of them but the average gamer is only going to have time and money for one at launch.
When compared to the momentum for Cyberpunk 2077, the odds are stacked against Watch_Dogs: Legion. CD Project Red has solidified their reputation for creating immersive experience thanks to the success of The Witcher 3. Based on the reaction from industry experts and game commentators, CD Project Red had one of the best E3 showcases. Ubisoft also has a reputation for immersive experiences, it’s not in the same league as CD Project Red.
Instead; it’s in Ubisoft best interest to push back the release date to either Holiday 2020 or March of 2021. Doing so will be beneficial in threes ways:
1. Avoid Competition: This one is obvious, they won’t have to worry about going head to head with Cyberpunk 2077. A later release date will help them in sales, especially with gamers who are still craving a cyber-punk game but with a diffrent experience.
2. More Time for Perfection: Lets be honest, Watch_Dogs: Legion is going to be one of the most ambitious titles that Ubisoft has developed. They are going to need more time to perfect the gameplay while also fixing any possible issues that might plague the experience.
3. Less Intense Crunch: Crunch time has been an issue in the gaming industry for a long time but only recently has a spotlight been shinned on the impact it has on moral. Given this being an ambitious project, the extra time would reduce the need for an intense crunch period.
Ubisoft could gain a lot by pushing pushing back the release date of Watch_Dogs: Legion. However there no benefits and a lot to lose by trying to release it around the same time as Cyberpunk 2077.
Even though we are not at E3 2019 but will be sharing some of the best announcements along with sharing our thoughts during the week.
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