The Watch Dogs series has left a sizeable impression on the video game industry ever since it released at the beginning of the PS4 and Xbox One generation. While the poor critical reception to the original led to a low commercial response to its sequel, Watch Dogs: Legion looked like it might save the Watch Dogs franchise after grabbing the industries' attention from the get-go by introducing a new gameplay mechanic that will allow for any character in the open-world to become a playable character.
Unfortunately, it appears that players are going to have to wait for a little longer. Originally announced with a March 6, 2020, release date - Watch Dogs: Legion is one of multiple Ubisoft games that has been delayed from an early 2020 release into the 2021 fiscal year which begins on April 1. With no further information given about the delays - when does Watch Dogs: Legion release?
Following The Last of Us: Part II's delay late week, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot announced that Watch Dogs: Legion would be delayed from its March release date into the 2021 fiscal year which runs from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021. After Ghost Recon Breakpoint and The Division 2 both had underwhelming releases, the company made the decision to delay the next Watch Dogs game alongside Gods & Monsters and Rainbow Six Quarantine.
"We are tackling these issues head-on and already are implementing significant changes to our production processes," Guillemot said. "We are confident in our capacity to adapt and evolve, as we have done successfully many times in the past. In this overall context, we have decided to postpone the releases of Gods & Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine and Watch Dogs Legion until 2020-21. While each of these games already has a strong identity and high potential, we want our teams to have more development time to ensure that their respective innovations are perfectly implemented so as to deliver optimal experiences for players."
One factor that played a significant role in the delay and might indicate new potential dates is the timing of the original release dates. Gods & Monsters was previously confirmed to release on February 25, followed by Watch Dogs: Legion on March 6, leaving less than two weeks between the pair. While Rainbox Six Quarantine didn't have a release date, it had a release window for the first quarter of 2020 as it was expected during the current fiscal year.
The following is a statement directly from the Watch Dogs development teams. pic.twitter.com/087pG3SXeR— Watch Dogs: Legion (@watchdogsgame) October 24, 2019
Ubisoft has a number of games releasing in 2020 including Watch Dogs: Legion, Gods & Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Roller Champions, with Beyond Good and Evil 2 and Skull and Bones in development, the annual Just Dance game, and the highly-speculated next entry in the Assassins Creed franchise. The first Watch Dogs released in May 2014, and Watch Dogs 2 in November 2016 which means there isn't a strong pattern.
However, with the PS5 and Project Scarlett both releasing in Holiday 2020, this could be a good indication of what Ubisoft is planning. Until an announcement has been made that Watch Dogs: Legion is a cross-generation game, it's more than likely Ubisoft would avoid a Fall release. Pushing Gods & Monsters to the beginning of the new fiscal year and releasing Watch Dogs: Legion in Summer 2020 leaves a large gap between releases with the expectation that Rainbox Six Quarantine will receive a substantial delay given it had no release date in the first place. Assassin's Creed also generally releases in the holiday season and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag was a cross-generation release. As a bigger franchise, it has a bigger push.
The sheer volume of delays announced from Ubisoft shows the companies dedication to making its games the best it can be and while the announcement is certainly disappointing, it's for the better. Watch Dogs: Legion's approach to playable characters and the new permadeath feature has the potential to not only reinvent the series but how the industry looks at open-world games moving forward.
Based on the information we know and strong contenders for Ubisoft games coming in 2020 alongside next-generation consoles, it's likely that Ubisoft will want to avoid being overshadowed again and release Watch Dogs: Legion in Summer 2020. For those that are buying the game no matter what, pre-orders are available now for the Collectors Edition and Season Pass.
Watch Dogs: Legion is in development for PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One.