Like crossing west over the International Date Line, crossing into the next generation of gaming consoles can leave developers and publishers in a strange, somewhat perplexing state of dilemma. How much longer should you focus on rapidly-outdating systems, cozy in the confines of a decade’s experience. And how willing are you to leave it all behind, embracing the reality that a new day has dawned?
Initially — and because for some it also makes perfect business sense — many triple-A studios are apt to target both generations. We expect it from Call of Duty, it’s already been confirmed for Bungie’s Destiny (which gets unveiled this Sunday!), and now it appears that Watch Dogs — Ubisoft’s open-world cyberpunk adventure thriller which dazzled at last year’s E3 — will be playing to the platform panopoly when it releases in late 2013.
Screens of a new Watch Dogs promotional poster have surfaced on Kotaku (click below to enlarge). The front side loudly advertises the game as a Holiday 2013 release set to be “available on all consoles;” the rear portion presents a quote from G4 proclaiming it as a “truly next-gen adventure.” With late 2013 believed by many to be the advent of Microsoft and Sony’s next consoles (or at the very least, one of the two’s); with Watch Dogs believed by many to be destined as a next-gen title the instant it appeared on the E3 stage, shimmering with graphically rich environments, textures, human animations and shootouts; we’d say it’s quite apparent that Ubisoft is developing its Chicago-set cyber-hacker for systems both known and presently awaiting reveal.
But there is still the question of what, exactly, “all home consoles” means. Obviously, the family of Xboxs, the family of PlayStations and the family of Wiis could be construed as “home consoles.” But by the end of 2013, what of the Ouya (expected to release in June)? What of Project Shield (expected to release in Q2 2013)? What of the Steam console (expected to release… well, whenever Valve finishes it)? It’s a surprisingly peculiar term, “home consoles” — broad, ambiguous, and subject to change within the very near future.
And Ubisoft didn’t attempt to downplay any speculation when responding to the leaked photos, either. Here’s the statement given by Tony Key, Ubisoft senior VP of sales and marketing, regarding whether Watch Dogs has been confirmed for any particular platform:
“Ubisoft is pleased with the response for Watch Dogs from media and fans. The game is an original IP that has been created from the ground up at Ubisoft Montreal with inspiration from many titles and ideas the studio has worked on throughout the years.”
Deflective? Maybe. But perhaps the posters tell most of the story anyway. Casting players as Aiden Pierce — an anti-heroic hacker-extraordinaire capable of manipulating any computer device connected to a near-future Chicago’s “central operating system” – Watch Dogs undisputedly stole the show at E3 2012 by teasing a compelling crime-drama narrative, immensely deep gameplay, high-powered action and, as mentioned, a veritable next-gen vibe.
However Ubisoft’s “inspirations” and “ideas” come to fruition this Holiday, we hope the distribution of pre-order posters — similar to the way Bungie appears to be rolling out Destiny — suggests that more Watch Dogs details are well on their way. Could Ubisoft be gearing up to reveal more at Sony’s February 20th press event — perhaps with a brand new demo to accompany a PlayStation 4 reveal?
Watch Dogs releases in late 2013 for PC, PS3, Xbox 360… and anything else Ubisoft deems a home console at the time.
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