Massive Entertainment, the team currently working on Ubisoft's upcoming multiplayer tactical shooter The Division, has praised the publisher for its decision to delay Watch Dogs late last year as being "tremendously important."
Watch Dogs was delayed for several reasons: to incorporate a number of systems originally intended for a sequel, and to make the game less repetitive. The team behind The Division, an ambitious title that is looking set to be pushed back to next year due to the sheer amount of work still to be done on it, is pleased that Ubisoft is willing to delay a title that isn't yet up to scratch in order to make it as polished as possible.
"It's tremendously important for us as a developer studio to know that the owner and the publisher are ready to take that hit," Massive's David Polfeldt said to Examiner. "I think their shares fell 25 per cent on the day it was announced it was being delayed. It takes so much courage to live through that day and still think that was a good decision. That's an important message that ultimately the management will back up the goals that we have, which is the game has to be great."
We've seen a number of high-profile examples of what happens when a game is rushed out for a prompt release rather than delayed for polishing and perfecting recently, with the most prominent undoubtedly being the bug-ridden mess that is DICE and EA's Battlefield 4, a game still suffering from game-breaking issues some six months after it was originally released. Contrast with the approach typically taken by developers with more independence such as Blizzard, who hold titles back until they're good and ready and consequently end up with some of the most polished titles in the business, hiccups like Diablo's notorious Error 37 aside. It's heartening to hear Ubisoft is erring more towards the latter end of that spectrum with its high-profile games like The Division and Watch Dogs; hopefully allowing the developers to take a bit of extra time will result in a better experience for everyone.
There's no official word on whether or not The Division actually has been delayed to next year or not, but given Polfeldt's comments it's looking likely. In the meantime, the delayed Watch Dogs is finally out next month, except on Wii U where it will land later in the year.