Watch Dogs Legion has already caught our attention, but new features continue to be announced which only add to the intrigue. The latest news comes via a community event, at which the art director was keen to stress just how replayable the game is. A consequence of another groundbreaking mechanic.
We are already aware that you can pretty much play as anyone off the streets of London – young, old, or burly. But until now we hadn’t truly realised just what that much freedom means to the longevity of the game. As a result, Josh Cook decided to spell it out to us (hoping we’re better with words than we are with thinking outside of the box), saying:
Something else within that city that maybe people really don’t know about know about is the locations are recastable.
To make a complex system like play as anyone work, we have to have that opportunity to return to different places and do different things; so you might see the E3 demo, where you’re sent to Scotland Yard to perform an objective. If I was to do that mission again with a different person, it might be sending me somewhere else. It might be sending me to Camden police station, or down to the one in Nine Elms or over to MI6.
The locations and the world are very diverse and recastable, so we have a huge amount of potential for replayability within our version of London.
It seems so obvious now, right? But the whole thing will be largely dependent on how well it is scripted.
Giving the user such freedom is admirable, though it can easily come at the detriment of quality with regards to its story. After all, just think of how many possibilities need to be accounted for. And allowing the player to pick the character who will take centre stage in a certain act could easily impact how it comes across as it plays out. There is a reason why linear games can come across as more hard-hitting, and open world games can easily be given too much free rein.
In addition, he took the opportunity to explain the permadeath that is lurking around every corner. That’s because, as you choose a body to incarnate and set things in motion, you will be responsible for making certain decisions. These will result in a few hairy moments that could prove life or death for your temporary face. A permanent consequence you will have to weigh up as you take on the establishment.
Permadeath is a bit of a controversial inclusion in the game. But it’s something that I personally love, I think a lot of people actually really love the way that amplifies the stakes of the game. I think it’s very important to note that permadeath is a result of a tactical choice. You have the decision to make, you have the opportunity to surrender, and your operatives will enter a cooldown period where they’ll be placed in a hospital or a prison or in different circumstances depending on how they go down.
But it’s a tactical choice. If you choose not to surrender, then you’re putting your operative at risk and they are at risk of dying, they will be done and they will be dead and they won’t be coming back. It really raises the stakes, it makes the game very exciting. It’s a risk/reward situation – losing them for a brief time, or continuing on and finishing up that last bit of progress – that makes for some really exciting moments in the game and I’m glad we have it. I personally love it, I think it’s a great idea.
The prospect of Watch Dogs Legion will continue to intrigue us until it launches on March 6th 2020. And after that it will probably intrigue us some more. In the meantime, read our editor’s opinion on the Watch Dogs Legion preview here.