Last week we took a deeper look into Ubisoft’s upcoming new IP Watch_Dogs, and after watching half an hour of gameplay on the PS4 and hearing a little more about the game’s multiplayer features, we spoke with Producer Dominic Guay about the game’s protagonist and some of the features players can expect.
Watch Dogs aims to more than just another sandbox game with cars, and not because of its hacking elements, but because of how detailed and refined its gameplay mechanics are and how comprehensive its feature list is. From hacking into everything you could think of, to downloading apps and augmented reality games on your in-game phone, collecting money and cars through online theft, to an open-world sandbox that players explore on their own and online in seamless multiplayer.
We’ve only seen brief bits of Watch Dogs and much of it remains hidden in secrecy. Media nor the public have had a chance to get hands-on with the title so everything we do know is from very controlled marketing and event showcases. From what has been intentionally and calculatingly revealed thus far, Watch Dogs looks impressive and from what Dominic Guay hints to us, there’s much more to come.
Tell us about Aiden Pearce and his goals in Watch Dogs.
People close to him [Aiden] got hurt because of the life he decided to live. So it is in part because of his way of living because he was involved in pretty shady things. Now he wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again and that’s how he becomes a little bit obsessed with surveillance. And actually there’s a side of him that wants vengeance. He wants retribution for what happened.
So that’s his initial thrust. That’s how the player is going to get into Watch_Dogs. What happens is as he grows his ability for surveillance he starts noticing a lot of other things happening in the city. He looks into a camera sees what’s happening there or taps into someone’s camera, you start finding other crises happening and he’s basically going to start losing himself in those things, basically mixing his own goals with these other things happening. And so that’s how it’s going to open up… I don’t want to spoil anything.
Let’s talk about that, then. Aiden’s ability to surveil is a progression system of sorts?
Yes, absolutely. There is not only progression in the economy — if you want more tools, more weapons, etc. – but you might have noticed that he gains XP in the demo. We didn’t talk about it, but it happened and the player will be able to acquire new skills and decide how he wants Aiden to level up through the story. Also, part of the progression is putting backdoors in the ctOS. So there’s many layers of progression: how you start putting backdoors into the ctOS for your control over the city, there’s your player and how he progresses with new skills — and you’re in control of both of these things. And also the economy; how you acquire more means and you buy new tools.
With the economy and the weapons, is there a progression system there? Is there any sort of crafting with weapons, and even with Aiden’s attire — he has a very unique look. Will players be able to customize?
Crafting, definitely. Players can craft their weapons and it’s part of the economy. It’s fueled by many things, including money. As for clothing I guess you can expect to be able to buy clothes in a city. I’ll leave it at that.
You mentioned that Aiden comes from a dark past and that he will come across other characters who can help but who may have different motivations and goals. Can you talk about any of the other characters, good or bad?
I don’t want to go into detail on those characters because that would definitely spoil the story but the point Kevin [the writer] was trying to make is that he’s not a lone wolf. Even though we haven’t given him room to speak in the demos we’ve shown so far, he’s a guy who is able to be charming and he’s able to his charm to get his way. A hacker will do that. It’s not just about a guy behind a keyboard, coding, right?
He has allies too, but like Kevin said, those people have their own agenda and so the relationship isn’t going to be them working for him as slaves, so there’s a dynamic there at play.
Are there antagonists that have similar hacking abilities as Aiden?
I won’t go into that but I will say this: If Aiden can control ctOS and if he’s able to hack, he may not be the only one. We actually already pointed out that other players will be able to do that in each other’s games.
Are the other players also their own Aiden Pearce or are they their own multiplayer character?
When we talk more about the multiplayer, things will clarify a bit. But I can say this: there’s never going to be two Aiden Pearces crossing path, so there are other characters at play and that involves the multiplayer, obviously.