“My name is Legion: for we are many.”
Before we begin on this topic, let me address a couple things. For now, Watch Dogs Legion is not confirmed by Ubisoft, so the information I’m working under may not be super accurate. As always, I’m going to withhold ultimate judgement for after I see the actual content from Ubisoft directly.
In addition, I’m quite fond of Ubisoft’s work on this franchise. I really enjoyed the first game, warts and all, and I absolutely loved Watch_Dogs 2. I’ve always been fully anticipating a third entry, ready to dive back into the franchise without hesitation.
Still, I can’t help but comment on the latest leaked details provided by Kotaku this week. I’m conflicted on the latest reports for the rumored third entry now known as Watch Dogs Legion. Let’s Discuss.
As many have predicted over the years, the latest game in this franchise appears to take place in London. I love the location and being able to see a modern interpretation of it is very exciting. I loved running around in a 19th century version of it in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, so I’m ready to see what Ubisoft can do with a current or near-future version of it.
The part of the leak that really got my attention however was the description for the main character or what I would call a lack of one. According to the leaks, players can basically become any NPC in the world. Play as anyone. The leak goes on to confirm that every NPC has their own animations, voice over, character traits and visuals, all governed by gameplay systems.
Apparently, players will experience and see different things at different points in the game based on the NPC they’re currently playing as.
While this sounds like a technical nightmare to develop (which apparently was an actual problem that caused a delay or two), I generally don’t understand this gameplay shift. It’s a dramatic change from Watch_Dogs 2 which had really well written characters and a lead character in Marcus that was easy to root for and was a lot of fun to play as.
I mean, in previous games you could get data and information on every NPC character in the game (name, age, small description of them) but I’ve never once felt the need to play as them when I had characters like Aiden or Marcus available. I guess Ubisoft is going to have to give us a reason to switch characters, perhaps through traits, abilities, or skills that others don’t have? We’ll see I guess.
Not only that, how much VO work did they have to record to make this work? If you’re constantly switching characters, how long is it going to take until you hear repeated lines or animations?
I mean, it sounds interesting on paper, but it’s really hard to imagine working well in practice. I’m immediately worried about the game’s story being really compelling or finding compelling characters that you can really get behind. I’d be perfectly fine with the style of Watch_Dogs 2 in a new location, even if they went in a little more serious tone. I appreciate the creativity, but I fear that they went too far.
Again, I feel like this is a game better shown than discussed through text, so there very well could be a big piece missing from Watch Dogs Legion. I’m really hoping for the best and I hope Ubisoft can assuage my fears next week at E3.