Update: By means of an email from GameStop Italy's customer service, we're told that in regards to Wiitalia's report, "This information is wrong, tomorrow the reservation[s] of Watch Dogs will restart." We're reaching out to GameStop Italy for clarification, and will continue to update the story as we learn more.
Original story: An Italian report pours doubt over Watch Dogs reaching the Wii U, and Ubisoft hasn't stepped in to deny rumors of a cancelation for the platform. Wiitalia claimed GameStop Italy is refusing to take Wii U pre-orders of the open-world hacking adventure, after a reader was told by a store employee that Ubisoft had dropped the Wii U version. Wiitalia said it then called other GameStop stores and was unable to order the Wii U version at any of them. We've reached out to GameStop Italy to clarify the situation.
Retailer rumors and mishaps happen all the time, so we typically take them with a pinch of salt. What's more concerning, though, is Ubisoft's reluctance to nip the story in the bud. We reached out about Wiitalia's story this morning, and a company spokesperson told us, "We have nothing to comment at this stage." When pushed on whether or not the Wii U version of the game would be available, a separate Ubisoft spokesperson said, "We have no comment at this time."
Ubisoft announced Watch Dogs for the Wii U back in February 2013, hot on the heels of its demo at the PS4 reveal event. Developer Ubisoft Montreal seemed positive about working on the Nintendo console, with creative director Jonathan Morin telling CVG that, "I would say the Wii U version is pretty much in between what the current gen is and what the next gen is from a version standpoint. It's hard to position it. I would tend to say it's maybe a bit closer to current gen than next gen for certain things, but it's a beautiful game on Wii U and it's cool to play it just on the GamePad."
That interview was published on October 8, 2013, only a week before a last-minute delay took Watch Dogs from a November 2013 launch to a spring 2014 one. Communications manager Gary Steinman said the delay was necessary for Ubisoft Montreal to "polish and fine tune" the game. However, the postponement of such a big mulitplatform game, with 6.2 million sales expected, contributed to an instant drop in Ubisoft's stock.
Ubisoft previously noted dismay with Wii U sales figures when it delayed Rayman Legends last year, switching it from a Wii U exclusive to a fully-fledged multiplatform game.
"What happened was that we saw the Wii U was not going to sell enough of those games. The game is going to be fantastic, and we didn't want those creators to wind up in a position where even after making a fantastic game, they didn't sell well enough," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told VentureBeat. "We decided that we had to come out on enough machines that players can try it out on any one that they have, and give more time to both improve the game on the Wii U and create versions for the other consoles."
As things stand, Watch Dogs remains slated to launch on PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, PS3 and Wii U sometime this spring. We'll update this story as we learn more.