News Article

Watch_Dogs' Pre-Delay Budget Was $68 Million

Posted by Conor McMahon

No tight leash for this ambitious project

Watch_Dogs certainly caught plenty of attention when it first surprised the E3 audience in 2012, and broke more than a few hearts when an unexpected delay set it back from a November 2013 release to Spring 2014. A fresh eye was cast on the game's development, and in the wake of Ubisoft's apologies and promises of improvements, expectations soared high yet again.

Traditionally, production studios are wary about information they release concerning budgets and their work force, and Ubisoft itself has stated that it does not usually comment on developer headcount. Last year though, a French business publication named Challenges was able to charm a figure out of executive producer Stéphane Decroix. Prior to the delay, the budget for Watch Dogs was at over €50 million, which translates to just over $68 million in dollars. This doesn't take marketing into account, either, which could potentially double the total amount.

A trend of bulging game budgets in recent years means that this probably doesn't come as too much of a surprise for some, but it does prove just how much faith the studio has had in its entirely new IP. It's a budget usually seen funding the next instalment in tried and tested franchises and definite money-makers, but this is a chance Ubisoft is clearly willing to take on a fresh idea. More than 600 people and 6 home studios were working on finishing in time for an October release, so it will be interesting to see how things have changed with a new release date on the horizon.

Ubisoft Montreal's Yannis Mallat defined Watch Dogs as ''the symbol of a new generation home console'', and with talk like that the studio has a lot to live up to. Here's hoping the extra time is put to good use and that hefty budget shows in the final project when we get our hands on it in Spring this year.


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User Comments (51)



Warruz said:

This is what Ubisoft does though, this is their system. They are in it to make franchises, so the initial franchise has to do well and also lay all the ground work for the upcoming installations. Assassins Creed they kinda screwed up so they ending up having both a pricey $20 Million for #1 and $24 Million for #2 because they had to rework a lot.

They are clearly not taking chances when it comes to Watch Dogs so they will spend lots of the first game and recoup costs/turn a profit through the franchises life.



PinkSpider said:

Ubisoft really need to start showing what the Wii U version looks like and what it can do with the game pad



Kyloctopus said:

I know one thing: I'm buying it at launch. This was my most anticipated game of 2013, and I was sad to know it was delayed. Especially when I was about to Pre-Order it. It's still pre ordered. At least I've got a good amount of Wii U games to keep me entertained until then.



Goginho said:

Well dang. Maybe that's why Nintendo are lackluster in the marketing department, as people are complaning about that a lot. If it costs that much to advertise something, they probably don't see it as a major pay-off, and would rather save that money in creating new games for example.
This game, however, is yet to win me over, and I hope it does, seeing as how much work and effort is being put into it. Can someone compare it to GTA V for me please, as I'm too lazy to do research at the moment it on the scale of development energy as GTA V? They are both 'realistic', mission-based games, so that's why I'm asking. In the end though, I'm hoping Zelda U has that kind of attention and energy put into it. I'm expecting something along the lines of a really high budget and huge dev team for it, cleverly intermingled with that Nintendo efficiency.



Spoony_Tech said:

Sounds like they need to sell at least 10 million across all platforms to earn their money back! Well i can buy it now as it's been far too long since i've played this type of game. Lets show them that the Wii U can produce some numbers people!! Well as long as it's good that is.



WiiLovePeace said:

Wow that's heaps! & that's predelay too? Now they've been given an extra 6 months or more... Holy bleep that's a lot of monies! I hope they earn it all back. I'm relatively sure I'm going to be buying a copy for my Wii U, as you can go through "most" of the game without killing anyone, which is nice. Hope this game is awesome. Good luck, Ubi!



shigulicious said:

I was born and raised in Chicago. I can't wait for this game. I want to buy the WiiU version. Show me some gamepad features Ubisoft! I'm hoping the graphical performance falls between the PS4 and PS3, but wouldn't be surprised if its identical to PS3/360.



Subie98 said:

Its crappy that I will have pre ordered that a year ago by the time it comes out.... I want it to be good , but damn.



Nintenjoe64 said:

I'm sure some will disagree but I reckon they delayed it to make it more shootery in the wake of GTAV's success. It would be madness in this day and age and at that budget to gamble and make it pure stealth!



rjejr said:

Nice to see some mention of this game, Ubi has been awfully quit since the delay announcement. Spring is still 3-6 months away but it would be nice if they gave the occasional update.

On the bright side, I was afraid the Wii U version might be cancelled - constant mutiplayer online is a big selling point but Batman jettisoned online for the Wii version - but I guess if they already spent that much money they'll need to release it on every system they can. And if it comes out after MK8 the Wii U might even have a decent install base by then.



Peach64 said:

And people moan that a kickstarter needs an extra $200,000 to produce a 3DS port. The people making these games are not minimum wage workers. They're on big wages, for two or three years. It all adds up pretty quick. Then the publisher doesn't even get half of the $60 you pay for it.



ricklongo said:

I'm cautiously excited about this game. I'm currently playing Assassin's Creed IV and loving it, so Ubisoft has earned a few points with me. Still, I'm not too big on modern day settings; in fact, I find the modern day segments of ACIV to be entirely unnecessary deviations from the actual cool pirate aspect of the game.

Bottom line, it's probably not exactly my kind of game. But with the lack of open-world titles on Wii U right now, I'll likely get it as soon as it's released.



Sean_Aaron said:

Hopefully that money was spent on making an interesting story with a main character of some depth and not just another third-person run-and-gun game that nobody asked for with pretty graphics. Needless to say I have my doubts based upon what big budget releases normally turn out to be.



XFsWorld said:

@PinkSpider Agreed.

I cannot wait for this game! I wanna get it on WiiU but if it missing some features I will just get it on my XB360. They already said the graphics is somewhere between current gen and next gen, so I believe it will look great on WiiU.



maneauleau said:

@PinkSpider I still can't believe there have been no Wii U footage of the game yet. But if you search there are also no real footage of the game on any consoles. The only version being displayed is always PC I believe.



banacheck said:

Considering films can run into the hundreds of millions, I would say the gaming industry is doing very well for themselves.



marck13 said:

open-world, realistic graphics, interesting and innovative ideas .. I gonna support UbiSoft on this! ..and I am not even thinking on getting it on any other System/PC than the Wii U.



LittleIrves said:

Man... I will kind of be shocked if this even releases on Wii U at this point. I just have no faith in a big 3rd party game coming out anymore. Brace for bad news, people.



AdanVC said:

Let's not lose hope, guys. Watch_Dogs would be on Wii U and it would be awesome. Ubisoft is the only 3rd Party publisher that keeps supporting and would continue supporting Wii U. We even received Splincer Cell: Blacklist here and Assasin's Creed IV was a very decent port, just on par with Rayman Legends. I would do my part and buy this game on day one and probably the collectors edition (if there's one available for Wii U of course)



Peach64 said:

I'd be pretty confident in saying this won't get canned. The reason they skip the Wii U ports is because the sales won't cover the cost, but they've already been working on this game for so long, to can it at this point would mean all the hours spent on the Wii U version were wasted, and all the money spent to pay for those hours goes down the rain. I bet that would be a bigger loss at this point than continuing with development and getting it out.



K-Gamer said:

I'm glad Ubisoft is one of few third party's that makes games for Nintendo. Will be buying.



MrGawain said:

I'm open but wary of this game- I found AC3 a hideous bore of constriction with suspect controls so much that I gave up on it after 6 hours. In a magical world this is a different game with much more freedom and a control system where you don't lunge around like MC Hammer- but in all likelihood it's a reskin of Assassin's Creed. Some people willlike that, but not me. I will remain on the fence and watch a few videos before I make my decision to buy it or not.



unrandomsam said:

30fps pointless mediocrity that is what it will be. (If it is not 60fps then it is worthless no excuses).



unrandomsam said:

@AdanVC Sega released an exclusive (Which is worth 100 ports). So did Ubisoft but they firesaled it killing potential 3rd party sales for everybody else in the process.



Tritonus said:

"Ubisoft Montreal's Yannis Mallat defined Watch Dogs as ''the symbol of a new generation home console'',

Yeah, The Xbox One is WATCHING YOU.



ZyroXZ2 said:

The budgets on major AAA releases is getting really out of hand... No wonder indie games are taking off so well. Just about everything in-between indie games and AAA budget IP releases loses money because it needs to sell a millions JUST to recoup cost, and won't if it's not a known IP...



SavoirFaire said:

Will buy this day 1 on the Wii U. My fear is this is another ZombiU, and is a great game but people just don't "get" it.



TwilightAngel said:

if this game fails they will throw it away like zombiu and keep milking assassins creed and the worse thing ubisoft will blame us the fans for not buying this game still im buying it for the wiiu.



element187 said:

@rjejr I wouldn't be too worried about the Wii U version of the game, they dumped way too much money into it so far, they have to recoup those costs as best as they can.

But I think it will do pretty good on the Wii U... I'm hoping it at least matches Zombi U (500kish), that should be plenty of profit from a port. An exclusive that would be a disaster, but porting costs a tiny fraction of that



element187 said:

@unrandomsam so it will be mediocrity on ps4/xBone too then. Confirmed.

The devs themselves confirmed the ps4 version is 30fps, then they were asked a follow up question if it will be 1080p, the dev wouldn't answer like a politician.

30 fps is just what consoles do.... Unless your Nintendo they tend to aim for 60fps like all games should be (most anyways, RPGs are fine at 30fps)... At the end of the generation, my money is on the Wii U having more 60fps first party games than either of the sub Nextgen twins.



Gamer83 said:

That much money and the last time I saw it, it looked like complete crap. I'm keeping my pre-order and hoping whenever it finally gets released that it delivers on its initial promise. But at this point, that's a massive leap of faith.

If this game fails, tossing the IP aside is exactly what Ubisoft should do.



Urbanhispanic said:

I'm looking forward to this game and I agree with a few other people here who said they need to show more footage of the Wii U version. Ubisoft scaled back some of their support for it so they need to pull out all the stops if they want us to buy it for the Wii U.



MikeLove said:


When Nintendo starts making games that push graphical limits like Titanfall and they get them running at 60fps, be sure to let me know. Until then, Nintendo having simplistic/cartoony games running at 60fps (and upscaled to 1080p from native 720p) is not that much of an achievement. Don't try to tell me you don't think that the Xbox or PS4 could get 60fps on a game like SMW3D if it was ported/developed for their consoles. Hell, get a couple enemies on screen when you are sailing in Windwaker HD and the framerate plummets to 20-25fps. There is nothing on the Wii-U running at 60fps that the other consoles couldn't replicate, while there is plenty the other systems have already done graphically which the Wii-U could only dream of.



jayclayx said:

you guys need support this game, otherwise this will be one of the last AAA third party games on the wii U for a long time.



jayclayx said:

@element187 I think you are confused about what a sub hd is, but I can tell you that ps4 and xbone has already 60fps games at native 1080p like battlefield 4, killzone, forza or diablo 3, I have a wii U and a ps4 and if you are talking about technical stuff the wii U may be the sub next gen, no offense but it is a fact and if you don't trust me just take a look at games like driveclub, final fantasy xv,deep down, etc.



Sean_Aaron said:

@SavoirFaire I "got" Zombi U as a concept, but the controls prevented me from enjoying it: two buttons to swing the default melee weapon made zero sense and I hate using a second stick for camera control for a first-person game. I can't see why remote+Nunchuk support wasn't included.

Watch_Dog's is narrative-driven so that's going to weigh more with me than pretty pictures or controls, but if the controls have issues I'll pass. Hopefully there's going to be a demo - that helped me avoid Zombi U!



MikeLove said:


"I can't see why remote+Nunchuk support wasn't included."

Hmmm...possibly because the game was a showcase title for the console that showed off how the gamepad could improve gameplay??

"I hate using a second stick for camera control for a first-person game"

Thats been a standard control scheme for FPS games for the past decade



Sean_Aaron said:

@JohnRedcorn which is why Nintendo includes remote support in all their releases?

And on Wii dual stick controls are absolutely not standard; ditto for any platform bar Playstation and Xbox.



MikeLove said:


Can you use Wiimotes on Lego City Undercover? No?

Again. The game was built around the gamepad, and thus, can only be played with it. Why is that hard to understand? We you equally shocked when you discovered you couldn't play all the Wario Ware and Nintendo Land games without the gamepad? How about no Wiimote support in Sonic Lost World?

And according to you, although 2 out of the 3 home consoles use dual stick controls (even though the Wii-U does the same with gamepad and pro control) for FPS games, its not the standard?? Hahaha! What planet are you on? It was standard on the GameCube as well. If anything, using the wiimote and nunchuck is not a "standard" method to control a FPS game. Its an alternative.



Sean_Aaron said:

@JohnRedcorn Apparently I need to repeat myself to be heard over the attitude, so try to pay attention this time:

1. Pressing two buttons to pull off the cricket bat attack makes ZERO SENSE.

2. Regardless of what every other game system now and forever uses as a control interface DUAL STICK IS NOT STANDARD ON THE WII. I sincerely hope you don't need me to point out why that is, but the point is that if you're used to playing a first-person game on Wii moving to dual stick controls - WHICH SUCK - is very frustrating when you also struggle to pull off the basic attack.



rjejr said:

@element187 - Yesterday I was less worried about W_D. This morning I'm a little more worried. The WIi U looks like it will be overtaken by both X1 and PS4 in total install base by the time this releases. And I don't think Rayman sold very well on Wii U. If Ubi was looking for an excuse to drop the Wii U version I think they have it now. Though I think they woul donly drop the Wii U version if they also dropped PS3 adn 360 adn went only "next gen".



MikeLove said:


One button raises the weapon, the other strikes. What's the problem? Is that too difficult of a concept for you to grasp? Maybe you should stick to Pong or Pacman, where you only have to use a joystick and not think too much?

It seems like your issue is a lack of hand eye co-ordination and basic motor skills.



Sean_Aaron said:

With that logic the guns and every other weapon in the game should work that way - it's bad design, plain and simple. If you want to make a game more difficult or intense there's better ways of doing it. If it wasn't for the tank controls I'd just avoid using it altogether, but not buying the game is the only option Ubisoft considered as an alternative. For shame.

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