Ubisoft’s newest IP, Watch Dogs, made waves at last year’s E3 conference, and with E3 2013 right around the corner, I am sure we are in for more news on Watch Dogs. The game looks extremely promising as a cross-generation experience, said to utilize the full extent of the PS4′s power. The game is supposed to be open-world, and it resembles a modern day Assassin’s Creed. The game focuses on hacking into people’s cellular devices or street cameras in order to gain information on different topics. No set story has been announced, which is probably what E3 will touch upon. Instead, I would like to list four important things that I hope we see come November when Watch Dogs launches for current generation consoles.
1) Satisfying Combat
As mentioned above, the game seems to draw heavily from Assassin’s Creed, another IP from the same developer. While I love the concept of a modern day adventure akin to AC, I really hope Ubisoft redesigns the combat system to be more fluid then it was in Assassin’s Creed. Throughout the Assassin’s Creed series, the one thing that never felt extremely satisfying was its combat. Up until the AC 3, every time I was forced into a combat encounter was dreaded, as it simply did not control the way I wanted it to. AC 3 definitely helped this, although I still would have preferred exploring over fighting.
While nothing is confirmed, I doubt we will be seeing the same sort of vertical aptitude on Watch Dog’s protagonist Aiden Pierce that we saw on any of the Assassins. I doubt Aiden will be climbing up buildings like Ezio or Connor, as well as assassinating his foes with a hidden blade. With less exploration occurring on rooftops, Aiden will be confined to the ground, where his inevitable enemies will be waiting. Because of this, Aiden may have to fight a lot more than any of the Assassins did, leading me to hope that the combat is significantly touched upon in response to this.
2) Less Punishing Stealth
Another thing from the Assassin’s Creed series that I am not as fond of is its emphasis on stealth. When stealth is done correctly, it can be a riveting experience, but oftentimes I don’t see what all the fuss is about. In the AC games, especially the third one, there are instances where you must sneak around a complex for a rather large amount of time, and if you are caught, you are sent back to the very beginning. This should be unacceptable. At least checkpoint the mission so that if I free X than fail at freeing Y, I still freed X and just have to refine my strategy for freeing Y.
I am not saying that stealth should be removed completely, just that it should be checkpointed or optional. Dishonored comes to mind when i think of a game with enjoyable stealth. Certain powers that were given to you allowed the stealth to take fun and interesting turns, while if you were caught, you just had to flee or fight. This is the kind of approach I hope they take with Watch Dogs. Not necessarily giving Aiden powers, but allowing one to sneak past their enemies, fight them, or run. This emphasis on choice leads into my next wish.
3) In-Depth Morality System
With other Ubisoft games, this concept is not usually a focus. The player is usually led along a specific set of missions with a single outcome, although the world is theirs to explore. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach, I would like the Watch Dogs team to experiment with morality in the same sense that Mass Effect does. In Mass Effect, the choices you make stay with you until the end. What if I have a choice to hack someone’s phone in order to disrupt a crime from happening, ignore the crime and let it happen, or allow a third-party to get involved. Say instead of going black or white, we explore the gray area. We may be too busy with other missions to take care of this one, so we take it to the police with our evidence. However, once we meet with them, they recognize Aiden as the criminal who hacks into people’s privacy all the time, and do not trust him enough to cooperate with him. Then the player must outrun the cops. At this point, the player can run towards the scene of the crime they were trying to stop and lead the police there instead of only informing them of the crime.
This example would provide a much more interesting way of taking care of the problems that occur within the game world. Instead of either taking matters into your hands or ignoring it, you can tweak each of those options to influence others to do it for you. This also fits with the style of the game in that you are controlling other people based on what interests them or how easily they can be manipulated. I think that if implemented correctly, this feature could help the entire industry make strides in better storytelling.
4) Unique Multiplayer
In a world crowded my first-person shooters and their addictive yet sometimes monotonous multiplayer components, the multiplayer aspect of Assassin’s Creed has always been extremely fun to me. The idea of stalking someone enough to trick them into thinking that you are after someone else is riveting and extremely satisfying when you pull it off. Watching your points stack up as you kill your target while sitting on a bench with other NPC’s is fascinating, and the accolades you gain by being killed the least or hiding the longest are nice additions as well.
While it has been somewhat confirmed that there will some sort of multiplayer in the story mode aspect of Watch Dogs, I would not necessarily mind if they added a multiplayer-exclusive mode like Assassin’s Creed. They could give you a target and you must hack certain items in order to find your target. It would function similarly to Assassin’s Creed, only with a modern-day mechanic change.
These four elements are the things that would get me even more psyched for Watch Dog’s release. I already plan on making Watch Dogs the first game I play on the next-generation, and if it includes all these features by the time it comes out, there is an extremely good chance it could become my Game of the Year for 2013. The game looks extremely promising, and I am glad that Ubisoft is willing to take a risk with a new IP, I just hope the game turns out as amazing at it sounds.
Have any other things you want to see in Watch Dogs? Let me know below!