With the release of WatchDogs now just over a week away, Ubisoft Communications Manager Gary Steinman has posted a new blog about just what makes Watch_Dogs a great next-gen experience.
The key to making Watch_Dogs a truly next-gen title, according to Creative Director Jonathan Morin, is what he calls dynamism, making sure that the player feels like he or she is really affecting the environment. To do that, the player was given the ability to hack almost everything in this near-future Chicago.
It’s one thing to invent something like hacking in an open city, and another to make sure it’s done in such a way that when you’re in a stealth situation or a combat situation or a car chase situation – even though you understand driving, shooting, reloading and all of those things – you start feeling like every traffic light around you is a valid solution,” Morin says. “Every fuse box you can use in combat will help you turn the tide. All those elements come together so that when the player puts the controller down he or she can say, I really like this. And when they pick up the controller to play another game, they try to hack the traffic lights, but that option’s not there anymore.Hacking is about the the choices it gives the player and the consequences of making those choices. Not only does the player have a vastly expanded set of options, but the AI has to respond appropriately to them.
For example, if you blow up a guy while hidden in a dark corner, no one will have any idea that you’re there. If you destroy a fuse box, it will look like an accident. If you hack into an explosive that an enemy is carrying and he starts freaking out trying to get the bomb off and it kills his friend, he won’t turn around and say, There’s the player! “That would feel wrong because you were playing well,” Morin says. “The game shouldn’t do that.” Instead, enemies will behave appropriately: they’ll get stressed; they’ll group up and start searching for clues; they’ll get frustrated and angry at objects (instead of you) because they assume they’re broken.That dynamic world filled with fantastic player agency is how Ubisoft defines the next generation: giving the player a lot of options in a world that reacts and is constantly changing. But those playing on the last generation will not be left out. According to Ubisoft, the only differences in the single player between the PS4 and the PS3 is the density of the city; there will be fewer NPCs in some areas. The seamless online will remain in place; however, the PS3 will not have the Decryption competitive multiplayer mode, or the ability to free roam with multiple players.
A big concern, however, is how the game will perform, and while some players may find it less than ideal, Ubisoft still argues that Watch_Dogs will deliver a supreme next-gen gaming experience:
On new-gen systems the game will run at 900p on PS4 and 792p on Xbox One, at 30 frames-per-second on both consoles. While some new-gen games now offer native 1080p, Morin says it’s much more important to deliver an amazing next-gen experience than it is to push a few more pixels onto a screen. “Resolution is a number, just like framerate is a number. All those numbers are valid aspects of making games,” he says. “But you make choices about the experience you want to deliver. In our case, dynamism is everything. Exploration and expression are everything. You want to have a steady framerate, but you want to have dynamism at the core of the experience. In addition to the the blog post, Ubisoft has posted a new trailer showing off just what Aiden's phone hacking might look like in real life:
Watch_Dogs is set to release on May 27th, 2014 on Playstation 3 and Playstation 4.