Watch_Dogs is a title attracting a fair bit of attention across the console spectrum, whether you own a Wii U or any of its rival systems. In a landscape packed with sequels it's a new IP that incorporates the rather topical issue of hacking and network security — in a turn of events almost beyond parody, Ubisoft's own website has recently been hacked.
The concept, combined with the efforts of teams that have plenty of experience in producing large-scale triple-A games, certainly bodes well. Gameplay footage showing the hacking and detail for individual NPCs (non-playable characters) is impressive, and apparently down to a randomising system that will play a role in making the Chicago setting come to life. As previously reported, there'll also be interaction between a mobile app and the game, but perhaps more intriguingly with other players dropping in and out of your single player campaign.
Speaking to The Guardian, lead designer Danny Belanger and creative director Jonathan Morin explained how the drop-in multiplayer feature would work.
JM: If you're playing alone in single-player, there are a bunch of ways to discover content when you're free-roaming. Eventually you may trigger something or receive an instruction and suddenly you have an objective – and that objective may well be another player. So now you're in their game. You won;t be told it has happened and maybe you just have to observe the character, but at the end of the mission, whether you succeed or fail, our games separate - now you're back. Certain sequences might be entirely multiplayer in design, but we control the context of how you're doing it. It's an interesting challenge - it's a hell of a headache in design. But it seems that players are really open to it.
DG: When I play an action adventure game, I want to live that adventure – I don't want to go into a lobby and play capture the flag. We're trying to bring players together while they're living that adventure and while they're existing in a living city. In the demos we showed at E3 and the PS4 event, while we were playing something that looked very much like single-player, there was actually another player involved who had his own set of objectives and who crossed paths with the other participant. There is a lot of uncharted territory to explore here. Demon Souls was one of the first titles to touch something that's full of potential - we're exploring that in our own way.
Another trend that Watch_Dogs may adopt is to continually expand on the universe created in this first title, rather than drastically shake up settings or game styles in future sequels. There's talk of a ten-year plan for the franchise, but the developer seems flexible to what the public demands; here's what Dominic Guay said when asked whether we'd see continual updates rather than conventional sequels.
I think gamers will decide - I don't think developers will impose that model on players. But clearly what we're trying to do with Watch Dogs is be ready to go in that direction if that's what people want. In the way we build the city, our systems and our technology, we can grow the universe of Watch Dogs either in discreet sequels or in a more gradual way if that is the way the business model evolves.
Is Watch_Dogs on your Wii U wishlist, and what do you make of these comments? Let us know what you think in the comments below.