15 Minutes of Fame: The Rise and Fall of Watch Dogs Fandom
When Watch Dogs
was originally shown at Ubisoft's E3 press conference in 2012, it was the definition of a showstopper. Even the small tease we all received was enough to warrant an impressive amount of anticipation, not only for the game itself but for the next gen consoles releasing shortly after (which technically weren't even announced yet). This was a watershed moment not only for Ubisoft but for the near future of games as well, despite Ubisoft initially announcing Watch Dogs
only for PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360, it was rather obvious that this was our first glimpse into next gen and boy did it make us salivate at the mouth.
was firing on all cylinders, a brand new, original IP with unique and interesting mechanics that gave you the power of Chicago in the palm of your hands. Most notable perhaps was the visual fidelity, the game looked absolutely phenomenal, jaw dropping in fact. The idea that the new consoles were still a year away was almost unbearable after witnessing Watch Dogs
, the game simply couldn't get here soon enough. A few months later we were treated to the official announcement of the Playstation 4 and shortly after the Xbox One, next gen was here and Watch Dogs
was set to be a launch title for both. Anticipation only increased as the fateful day of November 15th slowly crept in, people were lined up to pick up Sony's new powerhouse and most likely Ubisoft's new title along with it . It was by far the hottest game coming alongside the new machines and deserved the high pedestal so many game players put it on. There was never a large dump of information about Watch Dogs
, but the few gameplay pieces we were treated to were enough to capture us all with its tantalizing gameplay and huge ambition. A city controlled by the touch of a cell phone, terrifying, grounded in the realm of possibility, and completely awesome.
Fast Forward to October 2013, just a month out from the Playstation 4's launch, most game delays aren't entirely surprising, but when Ubisoft announced that Watch Dogs
was being pushed back until Spring was a shock. Not only were there pre-order bundles of the game being sold but it even featured a spotlight on the back of the Playstation's box art. Disappointment set it but the mood slowly subdued and most of us aspired to believe the game was delayed because of the release of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
, Ubisoft's other pioneer title launching dangerously close to Watch Dogs
on next gen consoles. Despite the hopeful intent of the delay, it was nothing less than a crippling blow to the title. People questioned whether pre-orders for new consoles should be kept, the thought of a Playstation or Xbox without a Watch Dogs
disc inside was never out of the picture until now.
Finally November rolled around and it was here, the next generation started with a bang. Both consoles flew off shelves, both selling millions in just a week of release even without Watch Dogs
tagging along. The downward trend of the game slowly began here, the excitement for the originally hot title slowly began to cool. What exactly happened that caused such drop in interest for Watch Dogs
I don't mean to discredit the game entirely, it is still rather anticipated but the spur of excitement it once had has all but dissolved. The first plague that caused the loss was obviously the initial delay of the game. We wanted Watch Dogs
and we wanted it now, at the start of our new venture into the future of video games. Taking that away was disheartening but hey, we are no stranger to delays and if we want the game to be good, more time could only help right? Unfortunately that is not always the case and nothing is more damning to this notion or Watch Dogs
other than the most recent trailer.
Bland in story, characters and graphics, Watch Dogs
could not have fallen harder off the pedestal we so proudly put it on. The new trailer released a week back still had the mechanics that originally peaked our interest, but the story and main character could not be more humdrum. In addition to the already stout negativity people are expressing about the story and characters, visually the game has taken a serious nosedive. What once blew me and the rest of us away now looks rather dull and just not that impressive. Perhaps the games former bar set for the visuals were too much and needed to be toned down for the sake of gameplay and framerate, though it is undeniable that this brings back harsh memories from the likes of Aliens: Colonial Marines.
We can also assume the downgrade in graphics is also due to the game coming to last gen consoles as well as current gen. When we were first shown the game it isn't crazy to consider the game was only optimized for a PC and thus looked the way it did. After the presentation, when the game really started to kick into development, it is possible they overreached too much and left the PS3 and 360 in the dust... as well as the WiiU. It is hard to damn them for tossing the game across as many platforms as possible because hey, they probably want the game to sell as many copies as possible; that doesn't change the fact the next gen versions will most definitely suffer from it.
You can never fairly judge a game until the final release, we never want to see a game turn out bad, especially the ones we hold in the highest regard and anticipation for. With all of this said, the underlying core is still fascinating and Ubisoft seems to have kept that intact which can defiantly translate to a solid game. Another point to make is bad trailers aren't unfamiliar in the game industry, plenty of fantastic games have aired sub-par trailers and turned out fine, the same goes for movies. The most you can gain from a trailer is the idea of what is in store in the full product which still has a strong promise. Are the preconceptions about the game as high as they once were? No, absolutely not, but there is still enough for fans to grab onto for dear life and hope everything turns out okay when it releases on May 27th on PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.