Despite skepticism about its graphics and a disappointing delay just before the start of the new generation of consoles, Watch Dogs still retains much of the excitement it has built since E3 2012. Ubisoft today announced in a press release that its new hacking/driving/shooting third person adventure has broken Ubisoft's record for the most-preordered new IP, and “is also the second-highest preordered Ubisoft game ever,” based on Ubisoft’s worldwide preorder sales data for all platforms as of today, May 15, 2014. It is also the "most preordered new IP in the entire industry this year."
The unofficial accolades don’t stop there. Michael van den Berg, GameStop International’s vice president of merchandising, said that there is “tremendous excitement” for Watch Dogs.
“In fact, Watch Dogs is the highest preordered next-generation console game to date,” van den Berg said. “It is on track to be one of the top selling video games across all consoles in 2014.” Once again, van den Berg’s statement is based on worldwide GameStop preorder sales data as of today, May 15, 2014.
Ubisoft did not specify exactly how many preorders Watch Dogs has earned so far, but assured us that its preorder figures are “impressive.” There is no reason for skepticism here; preorder figures would have to be impressive indeed to break such a record.
As for any other forms of skepticism, Geoffroy Sardin, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at Ubisoft, assured gamers that Watch Dogs is ready to go:
“The teams have worked tirelessly to ensure that players will enjoy a top quality game with enormous scope,” Sardin said, “and we can’t wait to get the game into their hands.”
Perhaps that means gamers have no need to worry about the game’s graphics or resolution. After all, Ubisoft is a company with almost ten thousand employees around the world, 85% of which are devoted to game development and comprise the “2nd largest in-house creative team in the world,” according to the company’s LinkedIn page. Ubisoft has a fine history of launching very well-liked games with relatively few quality complaints, taking delays when necessary such as with Watch Dogs and most recently Tom Clancy's The Division. If Ubisoft says Watch Dogs is top quality, maybe it’s top quality.
After all, a lot can happen in three weeks.
About the game itself, Watch Dogs is indeed intriguing. Ubisoft’s official description of the game states:
In Watch Dogs™ players will assume the role of Aiden Pearce, a brilliant hacker whose criminal past led to a violent family tragedy. Now on the hunt for those who hurt his family, players will be able to monitor and hack their enemies by manipulating everything connected to the city’s Central Operating System (ctOS). ctOS controls almost every piece of the city’s technology and holds key information on all of the city’s residents. Players will access omnipresent security cameras, download personal information to locate targets, control traffic lights and public transportation to stop enemies, and more. Watch Dogs™ lets the player use Chicago as their ultimate weapon and exact their own style of revenge.
One interesting thing about Watch Dogs is that most or all of the excitement around it revolves around everything but the story. Even Ubisoft basically mentions the story and main character Aiden Pearce in passing, spending more time on its gameplay. The idea of being in an open world, controlling anything electronic, and toying with multiple genres (open-world exploration, third person shooter, driving) clearly resonates with gamers. There has never been a game like this before, and excitement for Ubisoft’s newest IP is clearly growing once again.
Eventually, Watch Dogs will launch on PC and every seventh and eighth generation console except the original Wii. For every platform except the Wii U, however, gamers can finally get their hands on Watch Dogs on May 27. In the meantime, the game’s Digital Shadow app is available right now.
After all the information buzzing around, how do you feel about Watch Dogs? Do you believe graphics are still a concern? Do you care about the story or the gameplay most? Will you preorder, or will you wait to see how it does first? The comment section awaits you.