Ubisoft have announced, as had leaked, that they’re off to merrye olde Londone tahn for more open-world hack-o-murdering in Watch Dogs: Legion next year. Once again we’ll get to hack computers, dodge drones, punch men in the throat, and shoot other men in the face. This time we’ll be doing the Lambeth walk as everyone from a cockney geez to a sweary old lady, with supposedly every civilian we meet being a recruitable–and playable–member of our hacktivist collective. How exactly that works is something of a mystery right now but huh, interesting. Here, have a gander at the staged gameplay demo from the announcement.
That ‘you can be any NPC’ idea is a curious one and, right now, an under-explained one. The video shows they have different perks and flaws, from murderskills to reduced mobility, but… do they all have different voices? How interesting and coherent are their generated backstories?
“The characters you’ll meet roaming around London aren’t randomly generated; instead, each has a persistent schedule and backstory, as well as special traits you can leverage to help your cause using the Play as Anyone feature,” Ubi say in a blog post. “By helping characters and improving their opinion of hacker group DedSec, you can persuade them to join – and once they do, you’ll be able to take full control of them.”
It’ll support four-player co-op too.
Legion creative director Clint Hocking, of Far Cry 2 fame, did appear on stage to suggest that Brexit might be bad for Britain and perhaps deadly police, omnipresent surveillance, and mass deportations are also bad. While this worried me, I do trust that Ubisoft have the maturity to maintain their proud apolitical stance and offer plenty of opportunities to see both sides. Perhaps Watch Dogs: Legion will be the game to convince you that slavery and murder and drone missile strikes in crowded streets are good, actually.
I had hoped that the scarcity of guns in London would nudge Ubisoft to realise that guns are gash in Watch Dogs but naw, their near-future city is instead flooded with firearms. Oh well. It does have those funny English accents those funny English people have.
One of our roving reporters out in Los Angeles will see more of the game this week, I’m sure, so I imagine we’ll hear more soon.
Watch (No Underscore) Dogs: Legion is due on March 6th, 2020. It’ll cost £50.See our E3 2019 tag for more news, previews, opinions, and increasingly surreal liveblogs.