With Watch Dogs‘ launch just around the corner, multiplayer details are becoming clearer and clearer as developers at Ubisoft unravel its seemingly complicated and ambiguous set up.
According to animation director Colin Graham, the studio’s number one goal was to create a multiplayer experience that blends in seamlessly with the single player experience. That means no loading times, no lobbies, etc.
“One of the things that we’ve been talking about is that we have seamless multiplayer,” Graham told “Angry Joe” from the Angry Joe Show. “So when you’re playing the game, you don’t have to go to another menu, load it, and you’re also not always necessarily always playing against the ‘elite’ multiplayer every time you’re playing it. You’re playing against other guys who are playing their story mission. You go seamlessly into their game. They quite often don’t know they’re there. You probably got hacked. You probably didn’t know the guy was there until he was into your game for quite a while.”
While there are those who may find the idea of being invaded unappealing, Graham insists that it’s the way Watch Dogs is meant to be played. “You don’t have to accept the observation missions and you can also turn off other players from being able to invade you,” he said. “But it does kind of cut back a little bit on what the real Watch Dogs experience is. The dev team? Nobody ever turns this feature off.”
Should you choose to keep it on, however, creative director Jonothan Morin notes that the game will actually track your interest in the feature and will use that information to alter the frequency in which you world is invaded by another.
“The way it’s designed is to make sure you don’t get invaded all the time,” Morin told PlayStation Access in a recent interview. “First of all, we track how interested you are to the feature. So if you invade other players, it will increase the chance that you get invaded afterwards.
“There’s kind of a shield underneath the system that gives you around an hour of break when you’re free roaming,” he explained. “If you invade a lot, that shrinks. If you don’t invade at all, then that grows in time so we don’t bother you with that. The goal is to make it as organic as possible so that players don’t feel like they’re getting all the time invaded for nothing.”
In the interview, Morin got into a number of other multiplayer details, including some of the game modes that will be available out of the box, one of which is only accessible on next-generation platforms.
“One of them is the hacking, which I think most people know by now, where you can go into someone else’s game, stalk them, hack them, and grab some information that gives you rewards afterwards.” That mode in particular was clearly demonstrated in yesterday’s 9-minute multiplayer gameplay video. “The second one, tailing, [the player] doesn’t necessarily know you’re there,” Morin added. “It creates that kind of paranoia.” He didn’t quite specify the exact goal of that game mode or what sort of rewards it might yield, however.
“Then there’s more classic one that you can also access in a more seamless way so you can race with other players in the world. You can also do – there’s a team vs. team mode. This one is on the next-gen version only, where you can actually seamlessly go from one contract to another and, next thing you know, you’re working with other players against other players.” Again, all of this is seamless, as Morin stressed that “once you stop that, you just turn the corner and do a single player mission. It kind of feels pretty weird the first time you do that.”
Of course, players can choose to create their own rules in Watch Dogs’ free roam mode. “For us, it’s a bonus where we give you the game and you can decide whether or not you’re friends or enemies with the people you are with, and then just grab a pen and paper just decide what the hell you want to do with it and have some fun,” Morin detailed.
He also explained that both multiplayer and single player share the exact same progression system, though actions in multiplayer can increase or decrease your Notoriety. Specific skills will also be associated with Notoriety that can be gained or lost, depending on your Notoriety level.
Lastly, while players will always view their character as Watch Dog’s main protagonist, Aiden Pearce, you can customize the way you appear to other players who view you as an NPC during multiplayer sessions.
“The only thing you can customize is the appearance that you’re going to have for other players,” Morin said. “So if you don’t want to look like an old women with a machine gun type of thing, you can at least choose what you’re going to look like to other players.
“But the old woman can be a nice trick.”
Watch Dogs hits next-gen and current-gen platforms, as well as PC, on May 27. Watch the Limited Edition unboxing here.