Ubisoft revealed their new IP Watch Dogs just last summer at E3, and while we haven't really heard much since then, community interest sits rather high. And why not? We're hitting the end of a generation, when games as a whole feel less about innovation than they do milking (as in money).
In truth, Ubisoft Montreal isn't ready to drop any major details regarding the upcoming action title, but there were a couple things they didn't get to show at E3.
For one, we do get an idea that Watch Dogs follows an open, sandbox-esque concept, where players are afforded freedoms in determining the outcome of in-game situations. What Ubi Montreal couldn't properly portray during the demo was just how much freedom you could have in this futuristic rendition of Chicago. In the scenario of taking out a target named "Demarco," the demo showed a complex approach where protagonist Aidan Pierce disrupts a mobile network to force Demarco from his sanctuary. Then he eavesdrops on an employee to figure out where the target is headed, stops his commute with a traffic accident, and proceeds to instigate a messy shootout and escape.
Thing is, this was only one of many ways the whole situation could've played out, as producer Dominic Guay points out. Apparently, the developers came up with hundreds of alternate paths. Guay says:
"One of the team's big frustrations with the E3 demo is that we can only show one path. The fact of the matter is we could have eliminated Demarco in hundreds of other ways. We know he is coming so we could have waited where he might have parked and hit him there. You saw we can also open up drawbridges on the Chicago River so maybe we could have used those instead.
"We showed the traffic hack as it's seemingly a really small action but what it creates is so powerful. It's a perfect example of how when you have power over the networks you have huge power over the city."
What Ubi also completely left out of the E3 reveal was the development of a companion tablet app, one that aims to further Watch Dog's gameplay. Rather than be restricted to functions like checking stats, Ubisoft Montreal wants the app to be a real, core part of the whole experience. The app would, of course, support your usual social features, but will also host asymmetric real-time multiplayer -- assuming the whole thing pans out. Basically, one player would be able to play a mission on the TV, while another player interacts with the first using the tablet app, gaining enough control of the in-game environment through a 3D map to hinder that person's progress.
"The core of it is that we want to keep the same fantasy: control the city from the palm of your hand. A lot of games have already done the mobile thing, but only as a way to access game stats. For us, that's not enough.
"If you get on the bus we want you to be able to continue growing your control over the city and getting benefits from that in the game. We also want you to be able to go into the living room and play with other people who are playing on the TV. That's core for us.
"And it's also a way of connecting with other players. There are going to be a lot of consequences to growing your ability to connect with other players."
The hypothetical app would also allow you to create your own side missions, offering infinitely more complex ways of interacting with the game itself. And the game's missions -- these subplots -- are all worked out by actual writers, not some generator.
Right now, the team is working around the clock to get Watch Dogs out next year, in time to stay on current gen consoles. Folks who've worked on other Ubisoft properties like Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell are part of the endeavor, making this new Ubi IP one huge project.