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Ubisoft’s open-world hacking game Watch Dogs delayed until 2014

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(Credit: Ubisoft Montreal)

The debut of Ubisoft's highly anticipated new franchise "Watch Dogs" slips out of the next-gen launch window into 2014.

By Jeff Bakalar, CNET

A video game delay is nothing new in this business. But five weeks out from launch? That's a bit disconcerting.

Nevertheless, Ubisoft's open-world hacking game, the same title that made a huge splash all the way back at E3 2012, now won't see the light of day until the spring of 2014 -- April 1 at the earliest. All this according to a post by GameSpot, which also details the statement direct from Ubisoft:

"Our ambition from the start with Watch Dogs has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next generation of gaming. It is with this in mind that we've made the tough decision to delay the release until spring 2014. We know a lot of you are probably wondering: Why now? We struggled with whether we would delay the game. But from the beginning, we have adopted the attitude that we will not compromise on quality. As we got closer to release, as all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place in our last push before completion, it became clear to us that we needed to take the extra time to polish and fine tune each detail so we can deliver a truly memorable and exceptional experience."

And from Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot:

"Our long-term goal is to win the next generation. The tough decisions we are taking today to fully realize the major potential of our new creations have an impact on our short-term performance. We are convinced that, longer term, they will prove to be the right decisions both in terms of satisfaction for our fans and in terms of value creation for our shareholders. We are building franchises that will become perennial pillars of Ubisoft's financial performance. In a context of growing successes for mega-blockbusters, the additional time given to the development of our titles will allow them to fulfill their huge ambitions and thus offer players even more exceptional experiences."

No doubt Sony and Microsoft are upset about the delay, as Watch Dogs was set to appear as a launch title for each of the company's respective next-generation consoles.

Speculation of nondisclosed reasons for the delay were plentiful on Twitter, with some claiming the record-breaking sales of Grand Theft Auto V forced Ubisoft to distance itself from a game that involves similar mechanics. Regardless of the fact that Watch Dogs plays quite different than GTA V, I can't see that being a primary reason for the push back.

That said, Ubisoft has been showing Watch Dogs off to members of the press, myself included, for quite some time now. While the sections I've seen and played feel like near-final builds, there hasn't been much diversity in their offerings. The segment I was able to play a few weeks ago was nearly identical to the hands-off demo Ubisoft showed off back in May.

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