Jonathan Morin says the delay meant ensuring everything worked.
When a game is delayed, that too for six months like Ubisoft Montreal’s Watch Dogs, there’s always the desire to add more. That could of course lead to problems if the original content isn’t up to snuff, but according to creative director Jonathan Morin, the team spent all its time simply polishing the game.
Speaking to EDGE, Morin stated that, “We didn’t really start shoehorning features in one after the other. It’s tempting to start saying, ‘Oh, let’s add this and that, and we so wanted to add this,’ but the reality is we’d just end up repeating the same thing over and over again.
“Our new starting point was an almost-shipped game, so the smart move was to not touch too much. Let’s just know exactly what we want to change and deal with it in a very precise way. We already had a huge game. Now the thing was to make sure everything connected with each other in a nice way. We didn’t really add anything huge to the game. We just tweaked everything.
“When everything started to connect to each other, we started to feel the limitations of certain reactions. When you have so many animations, so many audio bars to do, so much text to write… the amount of content is so outstanding that when you start to play the game, sometimes you hit something you’ve never seen before and it’s not right, so you need more time.”
Of course, Ubisoft Montreal spent a majority of the time squashing bugs. “When you’re in a closing phase like that, you don’t have the time to do certain things the way you would want. Suddenly, we had extra time on a game that you could play easily without crashing all of the time. And that was the new starting point.
“We could reintegrate or fix certain issues without the cacophony of hundreds or thousands of other bugs being entered every day and breaking something else. Everybody started fixing features, but in a very stable manner. The level of productivity and efficiency in the team was a hundred times greater because of it.”