Ubisoft Criticized for Watch Dogs Legion HitRecord Partnership


There are plenty of reasons to be excited for Ubisoft's upcoming Watch Dogs Legion, among them being the option to recruit an overwhelming number of unique NPCs that become playable, including the now iconic grandma assassin. Another reason some fans may be excited is the chance to become part of the design process, with Ubisoft giving them an opportunity to have their own music appear in the game.

Ubisoft is partnering with HitRecord, a collaborative creativity platform founded by Inception and The Dark Knight Rises actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and is offering payments of $2,000 for each song that is included in the final product. It will pick 10 songs in total and aims to send out the first payments in January 2020, which will be split between everyone who contributed on the songs.

Ubisoft and HitRecord have quickly received criticism for the scheme from a number of individuals on Twitter by industry professionals. They have called the partnership between Ubisoft and HitRecord "exploitative" and "underpaid" spec work, since those who send in songs that aren't included won't be paid for their efforts.

Among these critics include indie developer Mike Bithell, Cadence of Hyrule composer Danny Baranowski, Reigns: Game of Thrones composer Ryan Ike, Neo Cab narrative designer Bruno Dias, former RuneScape developer James Sweatman, and the Los Angeles chapter of Game Workers Unite, which has gone so far as to call this offer "disgusting." They have all requested that fans do not take part with the scheme and several of them also pointed out that Gordon-Levitt himself is a union member, meaning he doesn't work for free, yet he seems to have no qualms with enabling Ubisoft to get its fans to do exactly that.

This isn't even the first time this has happened. Only a year ago, Ubisoft partnered with HitRecord to give fans a chance to contribute art, music and video footage to Beyond Good and Evil 2, and it received the exact same criticism, accused of essentially getting people to work on the game for free. Gordon-Levitt disputed the accusations back then, reiterating that those whose work would appear in the final game would be compensated. Neither he nor Ubisoft have yet to respond to the latest criticism, though.

Aside from this, Watch Dogs Legion has also become a source of debate regarding its use of politics. The game is set during a post-Brexit London, where players will be fighting back against a totalitarian government. Needless to say, this depiction has not sat well with some Brexit supporters.

Watch Dogs Legion will release on March 6th 2020 for PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One.


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