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Watch Dogs for Wii U still in development, 2014 release possible

Ubisoft announced today the release date for almost every version of stealth, hacking open-world game Watch Dogs. While the game will be coming to PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on May 27, there's still no date for the Wii U version.

But Dominic Guay, senior producer on the game, tells Polygon that it is still very much in development.

"Yeah it's still alive," he said. "We still haven't defined a ship date for it, though. So it's on hold, to a certain extent for shipping."

He added that a 2014 ship date for that version of the game is still a "possibility."

"We don't have a specific ship date for it yet so it's considered within the year," he said. "So we're going to look at that and we're going to let people know as soon as we figure out an exact date for it."

One of the reasons the Wii U version of the game isn't hitting the same release date as every other platform is because it's the only version not being developed in concert by the team in Montreal.

"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," he said. "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."

Guay still believes the Wii U is a good fit for Watch Dogs and its playstyle, in particular because of the GamePad.

A 2014 ship date for that version of the game is still a "possibility."

"I mean, for our game, when we play with everything being connected, we need to make smart use of it," Guay said. "And also, 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."

The game development's shift to Ubisoft Romania in Bucharest was driven in part by a question of capability, Guay said. He added that that specific team is extremely strong technically and that there was a lot of technical work that had to go into getting the engine that drives Watch Dogs to work on the Wii U.

"It wasn't running on Wii U initially," he said. "They were the perfect team to do it. Our Bucharest studio is super strong, super strong engineers and I was impressed by how quickly they got to get the game running on the console. And they were so autonomous in doing it. Obviously we're communicating and we're working together, but they were so quick and smart in doing it, it still made sense for them to keep ownership. Obviously they're using the same game content, so they're not building other game content. It's the same game content that we'll adapt for the needs of the specific needs of Wii U. But at the core, same game, but they made all the technical adjustments for it."

Watch Dogs, which was unveiled at E3 in 2012, was originally slated for a holiday 2013 release. That was pushed back just a month before the street date. Last month, Ubisoft's Yves Guillemot said that the Wii U version of the game wouldn't be arriving with the rest of the platforms.

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