Usually a multiplatform game delay for a specific console spells doom and gloom. Remember Aliens: Colonial Marines for the Wii U? Or Crysis 3? Well, thankfully that's not the case with Watch Dogs.
Unlike Sega or Electronic Arts, Ubisoft has been fairly forthcoming to explain exactly why the Wii U version won't be launching with its multiplatform brethren.
Firstly, the delay for Watch Dogs required Ubisoft to shift around some of their staff, and as noted in an article by Eurogamer, that meant pulling some of the programmers from Ubisoft's Bucharest studio to work on the PS4 and Xbox One versions, with creative director Jonathan Morin stating that...
There were some very talented programmers working on it and, when we started to point at the things we needed to fix, we needed those guys and their experience. It was a logical choice to say - let's get those people, let's pause the Wii U thing, let's make sure the experience is where we wanted to be.
Polygon captured a slightly more in-depth view of the topic, speaking with senior producer Domnic Guay, who better clarified Morin's statements by claiming...
"We have our studio in Bucharest working on it, and we wanted that team to have the time to explore the GamePad and be able to have fun with it and see how far they could push it," … "It's also an interesting platform, because it has its own strength, which we want to take advantage of, and we didn't want to delay all the other platforms for that one. So we're going to take the time we need to make sure the game is good (technically) when we ship it and that it also, game design-wise, makes good use of the specifics of the Wii U."
This is great news, because we recently found out that the Wii U – unlike the PS4 and Xbox One – really does have some secret sauce left to unlock. I know MisterXMedia would have his blind followers believe that the Xbox One has some secret juice the developers can secrete out of its ESRAM, like farmers milking some kind of green fluid out of a cow, or some guy getting home with a woman of the night, only to find out she has a “banana surprise”, but let's be real here people...
The Xbox One doesn't have a “banana surprise”. That's why The Forzaning exists.
Ubisoft wants to take advantage of the Wii U's hardware capabilities, and avoid a Forzaning. They're admitting the delay was because they had to pull some resources from the Wii U version because it's getting special treatment; that's excellent news for Wii U owners.
Also, Guay explains that the Wii U wasn't originally on the development table with the other platforms, since it launched later into their development cycle, saying...
“...the Wii U came along at some point in our production, so it planned through for it, and now to a certain extent we wanted to be ambitious with it, be able to go full-on and make full use of the platform. That's why we're taking more time, but it's being worked on so that's good.”
As for how well the game will look on the Wii U? Well, don't expect the 4K resolutions like the PC version. Morin revealed to Eurogamer that they're focusing on bringing the game's strong interactive mechanics to life on Nintendo's platform, and that the movie-cinematic graphics aren't their focus...
"Are we delivering the 'movie [style vision] of every single person on Earth who saw that? Probably not, that's not possible. But are we delivering on this fantasy of being a hacker, controlling everything and approaching things in different ways - yes.”
Well, I think that's all we could ask for... from the Wii U.
A lot of studios have been giving the console the cold shoulder, and it's good to see that Ubisoft wants to take time to do right by the console instead of doing a quick and dirty port, which has become a staple in the AAA sector.
Right now, the Wii U is the dark horse in this eighth gen race, and it has a very strong 2014 line-up, including Mario Kart 8, Monolith Soft's X and Super Smash Bros U. I'm glad Ubisoft is delving deep into the Wii U's secret sauce, because it's just what the system needs right now. What's more is that Polygon and Guay seem to think that the release for Watch Dogs will be within 2014 for Nintendo's system, so that's good news, too.
2014 really could be the year of the Wii U... and it all gets going on May 30th.