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Watch Dogs Wii U won't release in May - more misery for Nintendo?

After quite the awkward silence, Ubisoft is now confident that its former next-gen launch title, Watch Dogs, will be shipping soon--on May 27 for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360, to be exact. But Ubisoft curiously left a specific detail out of today’s announcement: The Wii U version of the game, which supposedly is still on the way, was not given a date.

It’s not a huge surprise: Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said last month that Watch Dogs Wii U would be launching after the other versions, but he didn’t give a clear idea of the timeline. The quote that Watch Dogs senior producer Dominic Guay gave Polygon puts it into sharper focus, and it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence: “Yeah, it’s still alive,” says Guay, adding “we don't have a specific ship date for it yet, so it's considered within the year.” That means that, according to Ubisoft, Watch Dogs Wii U is still in active development, and a 2014 release is a possibility. But it doesn’t quite appear to be a likelihood.

So why isn’t the Wii U version being treated the same as all the others? As Polygon points out, the Wii U version is the only one not being developed by Ubisoft’s Montreal studio; instead, it’s being handled by Ubisoft Bucharest. The reason given is two-fold: For one, Ubisoft wanted to take full advantage of the Wii U’s unique control scheme, something which Montreal wouldn’t be able to commit resources to. And secondly, the Montreal team had a tough time getting the game engine to work with Wii U hardware, and felt it necessary to hand it off to a dedicated group to get it done.

These reasons certainly sound believable, but they may not paint a complete picture of the current status for Watch Dogs on Wii U. The fact that the Wii U version changed development hands is understandable, but candidly characterizing it as 2014-maybe-I-don’t-know seems to indicate that the Wii U version just isn’t a priority for Ubisoft. And if that’s the case, Ubisoft can’t really be faulted for it. In fact, it’s not much of a surprise at all, given how other third-party releases on the Wii U have been given a similarly short end of the stick.

Take a look at last year’s Batman: Arkham Origins, for example. In addition to technically performing markedly worse than its Xbox 360 and PS3 counterparts, it also shipped with no multiplayer component, and Warner Bros. later rescinded their DLC plans for the platform, pointing to a lack of demand. Ubisoft’s own Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag was a similar case, with the publisher announcing before the game’s release that there would be no DLC for the Wii U version.

These could just be one-off, isolated cases, but they seem to be forming a trend. Publishers seem increasingly less willing to invest in Wii U versions of their big-budget games, and given how poor Wii U console sales are in general, they can’t be blamed for taking their focus off of the platform. The games in question here started development when a Wii U port would've made sense--that is, before the Wii U actually came out and made a name for itself as a non-starter. As third-party developers become more aware of the Wii U’s real-world standing, it seems reasonable to expect that most of them could start disregarding the console entirely.

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22 comments

  • cryance-chirsten - March 26, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    http://upcomminggamedownload.blogspot.com/2014/03/watch-dogs-demo-edition.html . Watch dogs demo setup here . I downloaded for my pc :)
  • fbt - March 22, 2014 2:28 p.m.

    Miserable? Why...? IMO people who can't enjoy first party Nintendo games are miserable.
  • talleyXIV - March 9, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    Now Ubisoft is going to be shocked when it sells significantly less than on other consoles. What do they expect? People like myself don't want to buy your game for the Wii U when you either release it late, remove features/don't give DLC or both. It's like when Sniper Elite V2 came out for Wii U, had no multiplayer and cost $60 when other versions cost $20, and then the developer said they were disappointed in sales. You have to be moronic to believe that something different would have happened.
  • db1331 - March 7, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    I'm genuinely curious. Does anyone here have a Wii U, but not an XB1, PS4, or PC? I don't get why in the hell anyone would buy anything on the Wii U that isn't a AAA Nintendo exclusive.
  • Jackonomics2.0 - March 7, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    Basically this. Buy a PS4/Xbone/PC for the third parties Buy a Wii U for the exclusives. And your pretty much set On some occasions, the Wii U version of a third party may be uniquely different, or just has a reason to buy said version, like how Rayman Legends sold the most on Wii U.
  • db1331 - March 7, 2014 1:28 p.m.

    Last gen I had a PC obviously, and bought probably 95% of my games there. I bought a Wii on launch day for Twilight Princess. I bought a PS3 once they went down to $250, to play things like Demon's Souls, RDR, and Uncharted. I reckon I will do the same this gen. I'll get a Wii U if they bundle one with the new Zelda. If not I'll wait for a price drop. Then I'll get a PS4 once they have a lot of good exclusives on the cheap. I'll tell you who buys third party games for the Wii U though. People who aren't gamers. My brother in law got a Wii U for Xmas. He isn't a gamer by any means. They had a Wii, and I guarantee you used it for Wii Sports more than anything else. So he was over at my house the other day for my son's birthday party, and he says, "So I started playing Assassin's Creed III." I said, "On what?" I had forgotten it even came out on Wii U. He goes, "I like it ok, but it's a little slow so far. I'm only a couple hours in." I asked him if he was even playing as Connor yet, and he had no idea what I was talking about. He thought you played as that first guy the whole game. I haven't even played AC3 yet, and I know more about it than him. He then went on to say he wasn't too fond of the way you have to aim your gun with the motion controls. I died a little inside listening to it. Especially since I had just passed on the game for $7.50 on Steam the day before, and he paid goodness knows what for that shitty version.
  • Jackonomics2.0 - March 7, 2014 7 p.m.

    That's quite a story there, what a misinformed kid, I was surprised how long you stayed as Haythem though. But Ubisofts Shitty Apple joke at the end of his segment was really a mood killer. Still, there are certain conditions. We can all agree that if your ever gonna think about buying a third party on a Nintendo Console, atleast let it be an exclusive. Bayonetta 2 and Monster Hunter for example.
  • Vonter - March 7, 2014 4:15 p.m.

    Wiimote pointer controls in shooters are more immersive than dual analog, shame is rare developers put it in.
  • Ensoul - March 7, 2014 5:49 p.m.

    I fit that description. My PC isn't a game rig, and I don't have xbone or Ps4. The lack of PS4 is more because I'm waiting and the WiiU I bought within the last 8 months at 250 for the deluxe model. You buy a Nintendo system because you want to play nintendo games. So far most of the newer games are still coming out on 360 and PS3, which I have. The new Batman game isn't though, so I really want to get a Ps4 for that.
  • Doctor_Pancakes - March 7, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    Plus Arkham Origins looks and plays great on the Wii U from my experience although sadly it was a step back from the excellent Arkham City Armored edition not having game pad functionality like it did. Multiplayer is just a waste of time for me so that never really mattered mattered in the first place. I haven't been disappointed with the Wii U at all and I could care less for Black Flag DLC, the game was great as is. I really don't understand the medias hate for the Wii U at all...
  • Doctor_Pancakes - March 7, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    Misery? I don't see any other console getting Mario Kart 8.
  • lancevance821 - March 7, 2014 11:31 a.m.

    I wont buy a wii u until the release of X or a great jrpg. Same reason I wont buy a ps4 until ff15 or kingdom hearts 3.
  • Jackonomics2.0 - March 7, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    This is the third name you gave the article, make up your mind.
  • Shyplay - March 7, 2014 7:16 a.m.

    In short, many developers don't want to support the Wii U because the developers before them didn't sell as many games for it as they wanted. It sounds like the Wii U is just stuck in a constant loop of "People are lying about how good the Wii U is, so I won't support it as much, which will give the people more lies to spread." If only people would stop lying all the time... Or at least double check their facts.
  • GOD - March 6, 2014 9:27 p.m.

    "Why should we release anything on the Wii U when the last five games that we barely released, while also being delayed longer than all other versions, and with no online or DLC didn't sell that well?" -Said some CEO who likes to speak in circle jerking arguments
  • GOD - March 6, 2014 9:34 p.m.

    Also they say that's a being given to another studio so (without even considering the extra time they already got from the delay) you'd think it would be a pretty close window for the Wii U version. First of all they cited the controls as one reason, but that can't honestly take that many resources to change over the controls. The Wii U version is just a port with additional controls. It's at least as strong as a 360, but has a touch screen. If they want it to even be worth paying another studio to work on they'd need to finish it the same time as the others are releasing. The idea that on top of all other dev time it will take more than seven extra months just for a port is ridiculous.
  • DragonLord23 - March 6, 2014 8:50 p.m.

    I am going to find a way to convince ubi and Warner to get the dlc on the Wii U. I really want that experience!
  • Vonter - March 6, 2014 7:09 p.m.

    Well as a side note studios have been laying off a lot people in recent weeks. The industry as a whole is having problems. Still the light in the dark for Wii U is the support of indie developers whose games hopefully receive major focus given the lack of retail games. Also I'll be waiting to see if Gamesradar discusses the supposedly downgrade in presentation of Watchdogs and the issues of why it was delayed that much.
  • TheGooseinator - March 6, 2014 5:29 p.m.

    I'm gonna be pissed if the Wii U version gets cancelled. Please, third parties, just give them SOMETHING to work with!

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