Ubisoft has once again partnered with actor Joseph Gordon Levitt’s HitRecord studio for a unique promotion around user-generated content, this time for Watch Dogs Legion. As part of the collaboration, Ubisoft is looking to the community to create music for the open-world game.
HitRecord is asking the community to create 10 songs for Watch Dogs Legion which will play in the game on radio stations and generally throughout the game’s setting in London. As with other HitRecord projects, the songs are likely to be made collaboratively. That is, someone could write a bass line, another person could come up with guitar parts, someone else might lay down the drum beat. Other people can work together on lyrics and overall levels of polish. These are just a few examples; the possibilities, as you can imagine, are vast.
In all cases, HitRecord will pay $2,000 per song, which will be split among the people who contributed to it, and they’ll also have their names put into the game’s credits. People whose work is not selected for Watch Dogs Legion receive no payment.
HitRecord will review all final Watch Dogs Legion musical pieces, and at that time it will also ensure each artist is properly accounted for. After that, HitRecord will made a decision about how much money each contributor should receive for their part in creating the song. This information will be posted to HitRecord’s public site for everyone to see as part of what’s called the “Payment Proposal.” There is then a two-week period when people in the community can comment on the Payment Proposal, and then HitRecord will make its final decision; the first round of payments will go out for creators in January 2020.
More information about payment is available on HitRecord’s website by searching for Watch Dogs Legion here. You can sign up to create music for Watch Dogs Legion here on HitRecord.
HitRecord is looking for songs in the rock, hip hop, electronica, metal, and punk genres, and Ubisoft is seemingly looking for songs that are in some way related to London.
Some people, including game designer Mike Bithell (Thomas Was Alone, John Wick Hex) are speaking out against this partnership. Specifically, Bithell said he takes issue with the use of “spec work,” which is basically labor done for free with the hope of future payment.
“This sucks. Pay people for their labour. Stop exploiting fans and hobbyists, while devaluing the work of those with the gall to actually expect consistent payment for work done. Do better Ubi, we’re counting on you,” Bithell said.
Disgusting. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a union contract yet he’s peddling spec work for a billion dollar company. The game industry exploits our passion to pay unlivable wages, this is the next logical step. Soliciting unpaid labor for a product that will make millions. #NoSpec pic.twitter.com/U2hKS69Hot
— GWU Los Angeles (@GWU_LosAngeles) July 13, 2019
HitRecord previously partnered with Ubisoft for a similar user-generated content program for Beyond Good & Evil 2. People also voiced their concerns about that “spec work,” and Gordon-Levitt responded by saying the controversy was due in part to people not understanding how HitRecord works.
“Honestly, this concern was sorta painful to hear,” he said in a post on Medium. “It’s not at all how I think of our community’s creative process. I do think that part of this disconnect is simple misinformation.”
Watch Dogs Legion launches in March 2020 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It is a super-ambitious game due in part to the main hook that you can control basically anyone in the game. Check out the video embedded above to learn more.