Ubisoft has partnered with music hosting service HitRecord to let fans get songs into Watch Dogs: Legion. And, much like the last time this happened, it's drawn ire and criticism over soliciting voluntary spec work. Today, Ubisoft has responded to that criticism by standing its ground.
In a post to the Watch Dogs: Legion account, Ubisoft reiterated that they are already working with artists and composers for more than 140 licensed songs and an original score. But as for the HitRecord submissions, they just remind the reader that they are voluntary submissions, meant to offer a chance for their own song in the game.
On our partnership with HITRECORD. You can find more info here: http://go.redirectingat.com?id=87431X1573192&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FQNQv5sjm1R. pic.twitter.com/1k5ugm2gvq- Watch Dogs: Legion (@watchdogsgame) July 15, 2019
Of the songs submitted to the competition, 10 will be chosen and admitted into Watch Dogs: Legion. The 10 artists will receive a community payment of $2000. This type of work is often called spec work, where a client wants a finished product before agreeing to pay for it.
As the AIGA puts it, those who create work on spec risk being taken advantage of. "Some clients may see this as a way to get free work; it also diminishes the true economic value of the contribution designers make toward client's objectives." Various developers, like Mike Bithell and Danny Baranowsky, as well as the LA chapter of Game Workers Unite, have spoken out against this contest.
This particular partnership, which would allow HitRecord community members the chance to get their song into the world of Watch Dogs: Legion, isn't even the first time Ubisoft has opened this can of worms. The publisher came under criticism for a similar partnership for Beyond Good & Evil 2. Maybe things will change before Watch Dogs: Legion's release date on March 6, 2020.