Ubisoft disables Watch Dogs 2's seamless multiplayer mode one day before release while it waits for a patch fixing multiple issues with the game to pass certification.
Watch Dogs 2 is set to officially launch tomorrow on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but early copies have already gotten out, with plenty of gamers streaming the title on Twitch. Early feedback seems to be mostly positive except for one glaring exception: Watch Dogs 2's broken online multiplayer mode.
Eurogamer reported over the weekend that Ubisoft had disabled Watch Dogs 2's seamless multiplayer feature because it "caused the game to lag and crash periodically." But a new report from Eurogamer today details that the problem is more complicated than that.
"Seamless multiplayer," as described by Ubisoft, allows players to suddenly join someone else's game in order to hack or help them. But Eurogamer notes that, as of today, the game's co-op mode is also having issues. While co-op requests sent directly to someone on a gamer's friends list will go through with no issues, it's being reported that online sessions with random co-op partners are not functioning properly. These random sessions are related to the purple icons on the game's map, where players can group together to take over a gang hideout, free a DedSec prisoner, and other activities.
Ubisoft is aware of these problems and to its credit, deployed a patch this afternoon that's intended to fix the issues. But according to Eurogamer, the update first has to pass certification by Sony and Microsoft, which usually takes some time, making it unlikely that multiplayer will be fixed in time for launch day. Ubisoft released a statement on the problems:
During the pre-launch phase of Watch Dogs 2, we discovered an issue tied to the seamless multiplayer feature that caused the game to lag and crash periodically. In order to eliminate that issue at launch and for players to enjoy a smooth game play experience, we have decided to wait to launch the seamless multiplayer feature until the patch that fixes this issue is deployed. The patch is currently in certification by Sony and Xbox.
In the meantime, players can still play the full single-player experience without any concerns and play co-op by inviting friends through the game menu. But that does mean that the Bounty-Hunter mode and other activities that would occur with other outside players who enter your game will be unavailable until the patch is deployed on each platform.
To follow updates on Watch Dogs 2 and follow the status of the seamless multiplayer, please feel free to visit our Watch Dogs 2 Community site.
It does sound like the issues should be fixed soon, but this is not the kind of story that Ubisoft needs getting into the press one day before release. About two weeks ago, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told investors that pre-orders for Watch Dogs 2 were below expectations but added that he expected sales to be robust once gamers saw reviews on the final product. The review embargo did lift earlier today and multiple game sites have posted positive early hands-on impressions. But many reviewers are also intentionally deciding not to post a final score until the game's multiplayer can be fully tested, which means there's an awful lot riding on this patch for Ubisoft.
Assuming Ubisoft gets the situation under control soon, gamers will then be able to move their attention to Watch Dogs 2's upcoming DLC. There will be three main packs released, with the first arriving only on PS4 on December 13, as Sony has a 30-day exclusivity deal for all DLC content. The first pack is called the T-Bone Content Bundle and unlocks a new outfit for protagonist Marcus, a drivable school bus that has the ability to flip cars and a new difficulty for the co-op mode called Mayhem, which will make the missions more challenging.
Watch Dogs 2 releases November 15 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and November 29 on PC.