It’s rare to see a game as ambitious as Watch Dogs Legion. Playing as any NPC creates a nearly infinite number of scenarios. But Watch Dogs Legion can fall prey to its own ambitions. We saw this happen with No Man’s Sky. Ubisoft has enough resources and development experience to be able to pull it off. Ubisoft is using complex quantum systems to create endless possibilities. Development of the title started back in 2015, a year after the first game.
To deliver its ambitious vision, Ubisoft brought together Montreal, Paris, Bucharest, Kiev. These studios are responsible for systems such as hacking, quantum systems, gunplay, physics, and story.
Meanwhile, Ubisoft Reflections is working on reflections and driving. The entire game consists of five primary quests lines with over 60 hours of story content. Of course, endless hours of gameplay comes from choosing and recruiting different NPCs. Watch Dogs Legion is using procedural generation systems to create its NPC structure.
There’s a lot of content, and there are a lot of procedural systems. And those things are working together to give us really well-curated characters and an enormous amount of diversity. At the core of everything is a relational database called Census. You see a bin man on the street – he’s nothing. He’s just like a bin man in any other game, except when you profile him we’re able to look into that database and go, ‘well, he’s wearing the clothes of a bin man, so that’s his job. It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, so he works between noon and 8 pm. And as he’s a bin man he makes a certain amount of money, so he can afford to live in these particular areas.
From there the system decides on what neighborhood he can afford to live in. He will also have certain hobbies depending on where he lives. His ethnicity is already determined when he spawned. From there procedural generation systems determine his education and how much money he makes.
At this point, Watch Dogs Legion’s ‘narrative personas’ come into play. For example, maybe Albion detained his father. And breaking out the father could trigger his recruitment.
It is fascinating what Ubisoft is trying to achieve with Watch Dogs Legion. Each character in Watch Dogs 3 sounds different thanks to voice manipulation technology.
Hocking explained there are 20 different versions of Legion’s script “and I don’t just mean people saying the same lines. We’re talking different characters, different personas, different voices, different acting.”
Watch Dogs Legion comes out on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on March 6, 2020.