So while I’m the first person to say that every game doesn’t need multiplayer, Watch Dogs is one that if well done you know it will not only be memorable but more than likely flatout compelling unto itself. With that said, the folks at Ubisoft have recently released brand new info on multiplayer in Watch Dogs and I have to say that I’m intrigued.
In Watch Dogs, the city is truly alive and when you aren’t on a main or side mission you must always be vigilant. Why? Well because multiplayer in Watch Dogs isn’t like anything you’ve seen before and unlike some other games where you can just run around between missions, create havoc and basically abuse the NPCs, in Watch Dogs an NPC isn’t always an NPC. In Watch Dogs, if you’re not careful, you might just find yourself getting hacked. You’ll get an on-screen alert saying your being hacked. Does someone have the guts to hack Aiden Pearce? Sure they do and as the virus gets closer to completing installation on your phone, you’ve got to find out who it is and stop them. Your not ill-equipped though, you have a Profiler app that you can use to try to search for the culprit. In this case, it doesn’t have enough range so you hack a camera to scan a wider range and then you see them, a suspicious-looking NPC crouching in a nearby alley. You race to confront the hacker and a chase ensues, maybe they get away and maybe they don’t. That depends on how good you are.
This bit of action I just described would be compelling if it was just some pre-canned or slightly dynamic event that was happening in the game, but this is Watch Dogs so its much more than that. That NPC that you just chased, well guess what it was no NPC at all, it was another Watch Dog player hacking into your game. Cool right?
Now before folks start to panic about how griefers will run your game, this component of multiplayer is turned off during main and side missions, so another player could only hack in during free roam. And if you just hate the idea all together you can turn it off completely but since it only happens during a part of the game that doesn’t really matter, why would you? Ubisoft has referred to this as “good griefing” and you now what I think I like it. It adds a level of depth and randomness to what has traditionally been a rather mundane free roam experience in other games.
When you hack someone, you are always you and they are always them, meaning that while your game worlds are intersecting, they are still distinctively separate. As the player, you’ll always be Aiden but when you hack into another players game, you’ll appear as a normal NPC to them, I mean it makes sense because if you ran into another Aiden during your gaming experience it would break the suspension of disbelief. They folks at Ubisoft still aren’t ready to share details about what the risk/reward of hacking another player’s game will be just yet but they did close out the information dump with a few more details. You can hack into your friend’s game and just watch, you don’t have to actually interact with them. Or if you want to give them a hard time you can jump in and create all kinds of havoc for them. There are also multiplayer missions that will task you with protecting another player, so all the objectives aren’t adversarial, in fact sometimes it may be in your interest to help your fellow player out.
I don’t know about you guys but this has me genuinely excited to see what Watch Dogs can deliver on this front. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge multiplayer fan, I tend to think its unnecessary in a lot of cases but in this case it actually looks like a fresh spin on the concept. I was already hyped about Watch Dogs and after hearing this latest information, it can’t release soon enough. Oh by the way, Watch Dogs is this Holiday, no specific date just yet.