From the backlash it faced after launch you’d be forgiven for thinking Watch Dogs was a failure on Ubisoft’s part, but the 10 million units sold figure speaks for itself. Whatever people thought of its lack of derring-do or its poor optimisation, there was enough there to make Ubisoft a mighty stack of cash.
Watch Dogs is to all intents and purposes not a bad game. Sure, it lives in the shadow of Assassin’s Creed like nothing else, sharing in that series’ same weaknesses, coupled with a few of its strengths, but it’s by no means terrible. The Assassin’s Creed series began with one incredibly average title though, and Ubisoft’s iterations since then has since led to some cracking games. It’s from here where Ubisoft is drawing its inspiration once more, with the French outfit intending to build on the framework of the original Watch Dogs and delivering on the premise of what people wanted from it for future sequels.
Everyone remembers their time with the original Assassin’s Creed. It lulled you in with its gorgeous and seemingly dynamic world, but then Ubisoft forgot to put much of a game in to actually play. What promised to be an open-world stealth title like we’d never before seen quickly became a repetitive slog through assassination after assassination. By the name Assassin’s Creed II rolled around Ubisoft had learned a lot, delivering what many think is the best title in the series.
It’s from this that Ubisoft’s vice president of creative Lionel Raynaud wants to draw inspiration for Watch Dogs 2, saying in a recent interview that “The reception has actually been pretty close to Assassin's Creed. 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,” he continued. Raynaud goes on to admit that while Watch Dogs wasn’t the critical success Ubisoft had hoped, it does establish and brand and promise to build upon. The plan for Watch Dogs 2 is to fix and refine, developing the technologies that didn’t quite work for Watch Dogs.
Back when Watch Dogs was released I said in my review that “Where Watch Dogs promised the world it merely delivers reconstituted greatness, a boiling broth of proven gameplay mechanics that can be pretty damn fun despite a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you’ve seen it all before.” There’s definite potential for greatness in the series, but it needs Ubisoft to make the same leaps it saw with the Assassin’s Creed series. What are you hoping for from Watch Dogs 2? How do you think Ubisoft can expand on the premise of the original?