In November 2016, Ubisoft launched Watch Dogs 2 to widespread critical acclaim, including a broadly positive review from Digital Trends. Now, the studio is giving PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners the opportunity to play through the first three hours of the game for free.
Ubisoft announced the promotion in a blog post published yesterday. The three-hour trial will be available to PlayStation 4 owners from January 17, before being made available to Xbox One owners on January 24.
Watch Dogs 2 represented a significant shift away from the dour tone of its predecessor. The sequel is altogether more vibrant across the board, from its graphics, to its cast of characters, to the variety of missions that comprise its campaign.
Critics agreed that Watch Dogs 2 was a big improvement over the first game in the series — but unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to have been reflected in the game’s retail performance. In the U.K., the game only managed to sell 80,000 copies in its first week, compared to the 380,000 shifted by its predecessor, according to a report from Eurogamer.
It seems that positive word-of-mouth wasn’t enough to combat memories of the middling first game. That will no doubt have frustrated Ubisoft, as the Watch Dogs franchise seemed poised to be a long-running series in the vein of the behemoth Assassin’s Creed.
At this point, since the consensus seems to be that Watch Dogs 2 is a good game, it’s in Ubisoft’s best interest to give players the chance to try it out for free. The best case scenario is that plenty of people decide to purchase the full game after the trial, which could help turn its poor sales performance around. Short of that, there might be more good will for the franchise in the even that the company decides to push forward with Watch Dogs 3.