Over the past few months, we’ve had the opportunity to play in Watch Dogs: Legion’s intricate recreation of London, recruiting operatives and doing our best to take out the oppressive Albion presence. Unlike previous entries in the series, Legion introduces a new “play as anyone” philosophy, where you can recruit virtually everyone you see walking the city streets. Each recruit brings his or her own relationships, routines, work history, and possibly even a suite of specialized abilities. We knew that multiplayer was going to appear in some form in Legion, but specific details were safely stowed inside a Faraday cage (or at least, that’s how we’re choosing to look at it). Today, we have some of the first details on what what else is coming in the months following Watch Dogs: Legion’s launch.
The British Invasions
Watch Dogs fans are used to the series’ invasions, where other players can appear in your game to compete in PvP challenges. Invasions are coming to the game, but they won’t be ready at launch. Based on the possibilities that the “play as anyone” mechanic offers, it might be worth the wait.
“When we were building it, the main thing we were thinking about was how do we take invasion and play as anyone and how do we bring these two cakes together to make something beautiful,” says Lathieeshe Thillainathan, live producer on Watch Dogs: Legion. “You have your full team available during these invasions, but you can also instantly swap out anyone you see in the streets. “You can use the entire sandbox to your advantage, whether you are the defender or the invader, he says. “Another thing we added to invasion is now you can just play it in a space just with your friends in the online sandbox or you can go into a public sandbox and play with anybody that’s playing Legion.”
Thillainathan brings up a few examples of how that might work. You might need to get close to a target without alerting them of your presence. If you play as a street sweeper, you can walk around with the sweeping animation – convincingly blending into the cityscape. Or you could pick an Albion guard and harass the citizens. “Just role-playing, while you’re doing an invasion, is exciting and fun, and being able to hide in plain sight as any of the civilians that you see just creates a level of intriguing excitement, because you’re trying to figure out who’s out of the ordinary when you see your view,” he says. “It just takes one slight movement like, ‘It must be that person!’ We have tons of fun playing it, and our goal now is just to get it as polished and ready to get into player’s hands in the new year.”
Season Pass And DLC
Watch Dogs: Legion is also getting some paid story DLC (and a season pass) in December. The Bloodline DLC, in particular, may be of interest to series veterans. It includes a couple of familiar faces.
“The Bloodline DLC itself, it’s purely focused on Aiden as well as Wrench,” Thillainathan says. “A lot of our fans last year at Gamescom and E3, the first question w as always, ‘Hey, what’s happened to Aiden? What’s he up to?’ And there was a small tease of Aiden in Watch Dogs 2. Our team really wanted to explore his growth and what has happened to him since the events of Watch Dogs 1. It’s really an exploration into his story and the reasons why he comes back into London and into the action. You absolutely do get to play as Aiden throughout the DLC as well as Wrench, where Wrench also has his own dedicated story content. Both of those characters, Wrench and Aiden, are also playable in single-player in the full campaign and also online, so they go across everything.”
Wrench and Aiden are joined by a couple of other characters. Mina is a transhuman, who can tap into tech to use some kind of mind-controlling abilities. And then there’s Darcy, a new character who has ties to another Ubisoft franchise.
“Darcy, the Assassin’s Creed crossover is really just us being fans of AC and spending time with the AC team and them being fans of Watch Dogs, and we wanted to do something special,” Thillainathan says. “We’re a very close-knit family, so we’re building something that’s based around just us being fans as fanservice.” He cautions that people shouldn’t expect any major canonical impacts here, but fans may get some fun things from her story. “She’s new, but she has some ties to AC,” he says. “I don’t want to reveal too much of her backstory yet, but there are Easter eggs to her origin story and where she’s coming from and what we’re tying it to.”
What Else Is Coming?
During my time with the game, I spent an unexpected amount of time profiling people who walked past. There was something kind of fun about scoping out the citizens and seeing what types of unique skills and tools potential recruits could bring to DeadSec. According to Thillainathan, players aren’t getting the complete picture at launch. Over the next year, the team plans to support the game with free content drops – and some of them sound pretty darned sneaky.
“There are already tons in there today that we haven’t talked about, so we’re expecting people to go and dig around to see what kind of operatives they can find in the open world, because there are quite a lot in there that I know haven’t been revealed,” Thillainathan says. “And then we’re going to keep adding more of those in the background. Some of those we’ll talk about, and some of them we’re just going to drop as fun little secrets and see who finds them.”
The team is also planning on adding additional PvP modes – with a focus on incorporating “play as anyone” and ensuring that the modes are unique takes on multiplayer. But for now, the priority is co-op. “For us, the way we look at it is first, let’s make online really focused on co-op because that’s where a lot of our fans are coming from,” Thillainathan says. “And then slowly grow it up. If our fans start asking, ‘Hey, where’s this bigger PVP mode?’ it might be something we can explore into the future, but today the goal is to keep it close-knit and to make it friendly enough for anyone to come in and play. That’s kind of our biggest motivation.”
For more on Legion, check out our new video featuring a ton of open-world hijinks. Watch Dogs: Legion is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC. The game supports cross-progression between console families, so if you start playing on Xbox One and decide to upgrade to a Series X, all of your single-player and multiplayer progress will carry over.