Fake game trailer in Watch Dogs 2 is real, sources say

It came to light a couple of days ago that Ubisoft's Watch Dogs 2 contains a "leaked" trailer for an entirely separate, vaguely No Man's Sky-looking sci-fi game of some sort. It was, on the face of it, a very meta joke, riffing on Watch Dogs' real-world setting and the real problem (in the view of publishers, anyway) of game leaks. But some people suspected that it's actually a real trailer, for a real game—and according to Kotaku, they're right. 

The site said today that two sources have told it the game in the trailer is a space exploration game code-named Pioneer that was supposed to be announced in 2017. It's apparently run into trouble, however, and its status is now uncertain: The game is in the process of being "retooled," one source said, and the planned announcement has been put on hold. But development schedules being what they are, the trailer was inserted into Watch Dogs 2 before Pioneer went off the rails, and so here we are. 

The whole thing is entirely unsubstantiated (although Kotaku has a good record when it comes to these things), and so there's no indication as to what specifically is responsible for Pioneer's problems. One obvious possibility is that the No Man's Sky resemblance runs deeper than mere visuals. Ubisoft may have been hoping to tap into its success with a similar game of its own, but given how badly NMS crashed and burned, even a superficial similarity is almost certainly seen as pure kryptonite these days.   

I've reached out to Ubisoft for comment on the report, and will update if I receive a reply. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.