Watch Dogs 2 is a game that’s had growing pains. It’s a major improvement over the first Watch Dogs, sure. Some great times could be had. But, you can’t overlook the time it took to get the online multiplayer working and the problems Ubisoft has had rolling out the DLC in an orderly fashion. But now, something has happened that’s not only going to further sour some people on the game, but could hurt people’s opinions of Ubisoft as well.
Here’s what happened. We’ve already established Watch Dogs 2 has problems. Well, in an attempt to possibly ward off a future issue, Ubisoft has created more trouble for itself. As part of the season pass and paid DLC, a No Compromise add-on is going to arrive on the PlayStation 4 on April 18 and Xbox One and PC on May 18. This was supposed to bring more story missions and a Showdown multiplayer mode for people who paid for it. Except now, Showdown will be free for all on April 17.
Clearly, this was an attempt to get more people playing online. Which makes sense. An online game mode isn’t going to be much good to anyone if enough people haven’t bought the add-on to enjoy it. But, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth of anyone who actually paid for the $39.99 Watch Dogs 2 season pass. When they bought that pass, they were promised certain things. There would be two sets of story missions in Human Conditions and No Compromise and two multiplayer modes in the T-Bone Content Bundle and No Compromise. Suddenly taking one of those key selling points isn’t okay.
Especially when the replacement isn’t an equal replacement. Game modes are big. They add replay value to a game. It’s pretty major. To make up for Showdown’s absence in Watch Dogs 2’s No Compromise, Ubisoft is giving people the Air Shotgun and Sniper Stun Rifle non-lethal weapons, the Paramedic, Police, and Fireman clothing sets, abilities, and vehicles, and six Race Time Trials for the single player campaign. This does not make up for a PvP team-based mode. They’re isolated items that people might not even want or use. It feels like something that’d be included in one of those $4.99 or $6.99 piecemeal packs.
Worse, it makes people lose faith in Ubisoft itself. Buying a season pass isn’t something people do lightheartedly. When you find out what’s going to be in it, you expect to get what you paid for. Would you purchase a season pass if you didn’t know exactly what would be in it? Hopefully not! To see something you wanted, anticipated, and expected, then have a switch like this occur, is untrustworthy and disrespectful behavior. How can we trust future season passes from the company? Will it suddenly make modes free there too and swap in some extra equipment we probably will never use to replace it?
Would you buy a $40, or maybe even $50, season pass from Ubisoft ahead of time after this? I certainly wouldn't. There'd always be this nagging at the back of my mind. "Remember what happened with the Watch Dogs 2 No Compromise DLC." If a company is willing to spend months promoting a product as having one thing, then switch at the last possible moment for some items that aren't what were advertised or equivalent, then we shouldn't be willing to trust them with our money until we're sure we'll get what we pay for.