Looking back now, a few weeks after the launch of the highly-anticipated but moderately received Watch Dogs, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot says he still thinks the decision to delay the game was a good one. A good decision not because of the work and chances they were able to do to the game before it launched, but because of what comes next.
"Firstly, it gave us a way to make everything work together, you know, you spoke about online, about multiplayer and so on, and also, current gen," he said. "We needed more time to tweak all the things. And what is interesting also is that we're already doing some extra content, and you will see more and more of the possibilities of Watch Dogs quite soon."
Guillemot declined to say if that would mean typical DLC for the game or something to expand the game in some way.
"I can't say much today, but there will be good surprises there," he said.
That is in part driven by Ubisoft's desire to increase the lifespan of the games it makes, the same inspiration that drove the overarching decision to set more and more of its games in open worlds and make them more like massively multiplayer games. Both The Crew and The Division will require online connections to play, though Assassin's Creed: Unity won't.
"It's something we want to do more and more; to make sure that you can play longer with a game and that you can come back," he said. "Because things can change in the future, gamers have influence on the game, or us going in the game and tweaking some elements.
"So I want to be more and more online so we can evaluate and you can be interested to come back and play because things have changed and you have the possibility of being surprised again."
The service was not expecting that many people playing at the same time
Part of pushing for more online-required games means making sure your online service can handle the traffic, something that didn't work out for Ubisoft for the launch of Watch Dogs.
Uplay seemed to crumble under the weight of the rush of players going online to play Watch Dogs.
"The service was not expecting that many people playing at the same time," he said. "There were too many people trying to play at the same time."
He said that about 530,000 players hit the service simultaneously following launch.
As uPlay has evolved from a tool used to fight piracy to a community building service, Guillemot says the company is boosting the sorts of awards it hands out.
For instance, Ubisoft invited 1,000 people to come check out their E3 games at a hotel near the convention center. A dozen of those people, all contest winners, were flown out to E3 and given show passes. All of them were uPlay members.
"This is major for us," he said. "We need gamers to help us improve our games from the beginning. On The Division, for example, we had the fastest community creation-building. I think it's the biggest community at the moment on a new IP, and they're already communicating a lot with those fans, asking them what they want, showing them things, seeing their reactions. They also give them tools to express themselves on blogs and things."
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