Watch Dogs: Legions Panel | E3 Coliseum 2019



[Applause] hi everyone thanks for being here I'm Andrea I work on at the watchdog's legion team out of Ubisoft Toronto welcome to our panel at the e3 Coliseum we're going to be giving you a little bit more of a look at watchdogs Legion which we just announced and to do so I'm gonna introduce two people on the stage with me first of all we have our creative director clean hulking and we have our game design director Kent Hudson please give him a round of applause how you guys feeling yeah yesterday was great we surprised everybody it's we've been working on this one for a long time it's been it's been a long road and it's great to put it out in front of people and get it out into the world so yeah like I said we're going to be giving you a little bit more of a look at watchdogs Legion we're gonna start with you Clint um so give us a bit of an elevator pitch just what what is watchdog Legion but somebody who has been under a rock fact the last few days right so watchdogs Legion is set in a near-future version of London where we look at a lot of the sort of core thematic issues that previous watchdogs game have looked at like how technology is used both deliberate in the press how people have people in power like abuse their wealth and their their authority and all that kind of stuff and we've taken those things and kind of turn them up to 11 and set the game in our near future version of London where you know the the government is collapsing the economies collapsed private security forces have kind of been empowered to like replace the police and military you know the surveillance apparatus of the UK which is you know the Allied surveillance apparatus since World War two is the most powerful surveillance apparatus in history but now it's being turned inward against the people their freedoms are being taken away people are disappearing and in washed logs Legion your job is to build a popular resistance to fight back against the emergence of an authoritarian regime and you do that by picking any Londoner from the world profiling them looking into their lives figuring out what their challenges are playing their origin mission recruiting them into your team making them a member of your resistance movement and anyone anyone in the game can be your next playable hero and the star of your story anyone at all absolutely anyone and we saw the granny in the air who's a fan of Grady from the trailer I want a team full of grannies yeah so why London uh you know London is a London is an incredible City there's this sort of cliche vision of London of like people with funny accents and and you know it's always gray and foggy and like you know rainy all the time actually London is an incredibly diverse and colorful city it's full of life and energy it's got all these different neighbourhoods boroughs and districts then all have very unique flavors and characteristics there's like more than 200 languages spoken in London and you know we come from a very diverse city ourselves Toronto but London puts Toronto even to shame and it is unreal in a game where you can play as anyone literally any London or you can bring in your team it made sense to look at a city where where that choice would be you would be meaningful you know like the more the more diversity and richness that you can have the better that experience is going to be awesome okay well we know what you want to see so we're going to cut to some gameplay right now and we're gonna have Kent and Clint talk a little bit over it and give you some more details about what you're gonna be watching so we have a walkthrough of a mission right mr. sound supposed to be sound it would be government's fucked off extremists a grab empower organized crimes slicing up the boroughs the war dogs are out and freedoms are bloody junk but this ain't their London this is our London and there's a new power growing it's all of us together we're building a resistance one recruit at a time Talon Bagley so cop shop eyes peeled yes so yeah we're gonna be watching the gameplay and first of all this you talked touched a little bit on the themes right right about like you know the loss of freedoms and stuff like that can you elaborate yeah absolutely so this is Piccadilly Circus it's sort of one of the one of the sort of central you know public areas of of London in Soho it's where all the theatres are but here in our version of Piccadilly Circus there's you know there's a riot drone up in the corner there albian are the the private military company who's sort of taken over control of policing in the city you see an Albion guy like stopping and doing an ID check on a civilian there and kind of intimidating or even points as a rifle adder in in London today even the police don't have guns they don't carry guns but here now you've got a London where there are literally armed private mercenaries like controlling people in the street and here Ian's um you know walking through the crowd the mission here is you know because of these drones they're looking for a new recruit might have an ability that could help them fight against drones and so he's profiling people in the crowd you know classic watch dogs gameplay' looking for different traits or abilities that would help people here he spots a potential recruit this is Jimmy but unfortunately Jimmy's like wanted by Albion and so everything in the profile is real right Jimmy is a real character he has a life he has a homey as job he has friends he has a family every single person in London is fully simulated and Jimmy happens to be a characters wanted by Albion so just as Jimmy's happens to be walking by he gets spotted by that guard he's about to do an IG check Jimmy tries to bolt and Ian are hero kind of runs in engages the security the drone sees it arms up and comes in to take him out and Ian goes down now this is sort of an beginning to our our permadeath loop here Ian's now critically wounded and he chose to instead of surrendering he could have surrendered been arrested would sit in jail and you'd be able to bust him out but instead he chose to get up and keep fighting used his AR cloak to kind of hide himself and escape now he's being chased you mentioned permadeath so that means you can lose operatives like – absolutely so again all of the characters in your team are people you choose from the world you recruit into your team you help them with their problems you make them playable but they can also die just like anybody else in the world and they continue living their lives even once they're on your team if you're not playing a character say you recruit a bartender if you're not playing him then he's you know he's gonna go to work in the bar and then you when you swap to him he might be in the bar when when you do it and then here you know Ian was persistent got in a bit of a mess drones came after him Albie and pinned him down in Trafalgar Square Ian's because he got up and continued fighting didn't escape now he's dead he's gone he's gone alright so Kent let's talk a little bit about playing how do you make London like how do you make people in London playable how do you make anyone playable it's pretty hard [Laughter] we actually so we sort of you built ground up from the city and as Clint said London's a super diverse city so many different neighborhoods and so we actually mapped where people live and where they work to those neighborhoods and we kind of construct we've got this big background database that we call census which is some technology we've really invested in on the team it has you know genders races places people are born sexual orientation like all this information that we start to construct people out of but we almost build from the ground up on each character and it's not just random it's not like it's a bucket of trivia or we just say oh let's just you know roll the dice and throw it it's actually curated so someone from this part of town would work at this kind of place which means that had these kind of friends which means that they would live and work around here so it starts with building these rich characters from the ground up because once you once you cross the Rubicon so to speak of not having a main character in your game that means everyone has to be a main character which means that they have to have you know they've got to look great they've got address how you would expect they've got to have their own persona they've got to have their own animation sets and so we've got tons of voice actors we've got different archetypes that we you know animate people with so that um so the people move and talk in the way that you would expect from what you see and it's just a hugely you know complex background thing that we that we simulate these people from but we all kind of stitch it together oh yeah Helen give it up for Helen Helen for example she has a full backstory of what she's you know she's retired now but you know what she used to do and and and her age obviously influences her animation style and the way that she speaks and things like that so we really like construct all of that from the ground up and a really rich simulation to create these characters and this particular gameplay walkthrough' has been edited for time but you can switch on the fly you can swap off produce whenever you want unless you're like in the middle of a gunfight okay yeah if you're not in the middle of a gunfight but yes we actually encourage you to swap between your operatives because we really want you to feel like you've got this resistance movement this has sort of fingers everywhere in the city in fact if you look at the map in the game if you open it up to sort of see oh where's my mission gonna be or where's maybe an opportunity to go see you can actually see icons of all your people in the world like Clint mentioned they are living their lives they're working at the bar or they're having a drink with their friends or they're visiting their mother at the hospital whatever it is and if you see someone who you know a lot of times they're almost like a little miniature fast travel Network for you you say oh my missions over here let me put my maps at Waypoint oh look Brenda's right over there I'm just gonna flip over to her and like I enter her life sometimes she's sitting at a table having a drink with a friend sometimes you know she'd be doing yoga in the park like whatever it is yeah so so you can switch between these people you're kind of encouraged to do so okay so we're watching the game play now first of all that's really cool that you can write that particular troll you can take you to all of them and just write them it's a battle but talk a little bit about the classes because we've seen three different classes I think at this point yes there's a way to make people a little bit more distinct when they come onto your team and dedsec we've got three different classes in the game so high level overview we've got an enforcer which is sort of your run and gun class we've got the infiltrator class which is sort of stealth in melee and then of course the hacker class and each class has its own heads no special ability so the enforcer has a sticky mind it's a non-lethal explosion that you can sort of lay traps in the environment or use it in combat the infiltrator has what we call an AR cloak in our version of London the government is named actually mandated that everybody be implanted with an AR device you'll actually see it in the cutscenes and in the demo that they've got this little thing here on their face so everybody's seeing AR and from their face at all times and the infiltrator can actually say all the guards around me hack into their devices and like delete themselves from the guards view by doing like a fuzzy overlay of what's behind them so it's actually like a temporary invisibility we saw at the beginning of the demo with Emma with with Ian when he ran to the car and then the hacker class is sort of a hybrid class it's got a spider bot that you can control and that spider bot functions as a non-lethal turret in the world if you just chuck a couple down in combat then they'll help you fight but you can also take over the spider bot and sneak around levels crawl through vents take guards down silently sometimes you can complete the entire objective without ever even entering the location so those are our three classes okay OxiClean plays anyone you mentioned it it sense it's an innovation but talk about it from a design perspective why well what why prompted that uh you know I really think it goes back to those teams we were talking about at the beginning you know sort of like the problems in the world threats to our democracy the the wealth gap massive unemployment migration crises around the world like we were looking at these kinds of problems saying well you know we want to we want to talk about those things watchdogs as a brand talks about those things and if we want to go further and go a little near future we got to look at those things as well and I think our feeling was you know the solution one of the problems I see personally in the world is that people are being divided against each other and and all of these powerful forces are benefiting from us fighting each other over over over stupid shit and what I think it's my my feeling is that we need to we need to get better at putting our differences but you know putting aside our differences and trying to understand one another better coming together collectively to try to solve the real problems that we're facing that are starting to get out of control and that's that's really I think what play as any one means for me it's about it's about people working together to try and make the world a better place and a better tomorrow for for our kids and for everyone and I and I also think that when you look at resistance movements in the past you often see that you know if the soldiers are off fighting the war sometimes it is ordinary people and extraordinary circumstances who have to come together and fight back so it actually has true to that spirit of resistance as well I think and then on the other side of things watchdogs is known for hacking right so how tell us a little bit about how camp works in this game because I mean it's still there oh yeah of course of course very true to the brand legacy so hacking is you know of course you can hack things in the world we've got a you know game play ingredients that you can use to distract guards or do takedowns and things like that we've also got an entire new suite of drones in the game so the skies are constantly filled with drones flitting by and some of them are very innocuous they're delivery drones dropping packages for people but the private military contractors also have some very fierce combat drones that patrol layouts they're called on you if they you alert the guards and so you can actually the hacker class is able to take those over to actually turn them against the enemy so you can actually see the big CT drone come in on the sky with you know the machine guns going you say flip it up all sudden your view points trips up to here and you're flying the thing and you you know behind enemy lines and you take the guys out that way so there's that kind of hacking and we've also you know in the previous games we've had what we call the mass hacks or the sort of the really spectacular hacks we've actually moved a lot of that into the actual team at this point so we've actually moved hacking onto the team so now you can recruit people to your team who have the ability to do these spectacular hacks so so one of my favorite ones is if you're being pursued by the private military contractors one of your operatives likes you pop up and say hey you look like you use a little help and you say yeah please please PLEASE they're on me and you'll actually see the cars that are chasing you get hacked to start crashing off the road a drone comes in this getting ready to shoot your car and it just falls out of the sky and lands on the ground and so you get that sense that you're playing as a team and that the people we've recruited from the world you know you picked that guy cuz he had that ability but based on his backstory based on maybe he's an IT specialist or something like that you know so now he's on my team he's helping me and so the more you recruit to the team is a bigger team you build with those specializations the more you feel like the hacks are actually coming from the people you want because it you know it is a game about people so the guys are mightier heroes to us all [Laughter] all right so let's talk about the recruitment because I it seems like that's going to be extremely important you like you're trying to build a team of anybody you can play as anyone how does how does how do you go about that like we saw on the profilers some people have specific sort of I mean specific things that you can help them with you kind of like you know intervene in their lives and then try and improve their you know their opinion of that sect in that way yeah so that's that's a good point you start on the opinion of dedsec part of the simulation in our world is that everybody has a different feeling about debts like especially early in the game when people might not be so familiar with the movement some people are really against dedsec they don't understand what's going on some people like them more and so everybody's got what we call their support level so how much do they support what we're doing and when you first profile someone in the world you you basically look at that it's just you know it's just kind of presented as a meter on the screen and you say well I've got to really get their support up to the point where they're willing to join my team it's not like you're just walking around the world saying oh you look cool you're on the team now so you start to dig into their lives you profile them you scan their lives we've got a really cool map view where you can actually see where they're gonna be during the day and you start to investigate their problems and you know maybe they're being harassed by the you know the PMC's or maybe their debt to the crime families because they you know had to buy some medical treatment because you know their their their health organization collapsed and things like that so you you you figure these things out and then you you go actually try to help them get over those problems and show them the dead sex here to support them is here to try to make the world better and there's all different ways you can do it the consequences of how you do it is different you know if someone's got a loan shark for example and you say oh easy right I go beat up the loan shark and oh this person Oh cleared your loan you're on the team now great that loan sharks also a potential playable character in the world every but literally everyone is simulated the guards that you shoot at in a level are simulated they have fun and you know families in lives so if you if you just walk up and take the easy way out and shoot that guy in the head you'd you know his sister and his mom and other people he knows in the world suddenly hate dedsec because like wait a minute dead sectors killed this guy like what so all the sudden they've got more Opposition in the world so you have to think about the consequences of what you're doing so it's really freeform how you can bring people on your team and there's sort of a lot of different approaches to how to do it but ultimately you have to go find out what's going on their lives what kind of problems they're having and solve them to help frame okay and you just mentioned like the the sort of like cascading effect of the actions that you have in the world I'm assuming that there's non-lethal alternative to taking people out absolutely that's that something is really important to me personally and is something the team is really embraced as well you know for example almost half of the weapons in our game are non-lethal so if you even if you really like run and gun gameplay you love the cover shooting you know you want to rego in guns blazing you can go guns so we've got four different types of non-lethal weapons so even though mechanically they're different and interesting and that actually matters because if you go through a go through a level and you and you're not killing everybody they have you know that that support meter slides less and you're not creating those enemies in the world we've also got a really robust melee system that you we've really invested in compared to the previous games where it's sort of like a rock-paper-scissors a Dodge grapple punch system that you've got to you know think more tactically in the melee and we've invested a lot in stealth and so you can play whole levels just stealthy without ever pulling a gun and one of the really cool things that we're excited about is that if I as a player don't pull a gun the enemies won't pull a gun either so if I'm still think through a level and I get spotted and and and he's like hey stop you know he'll come and first try to de-escalate it melee and if I can win that melee fight with them level cools back down no one went hot and I can actually return to that stealth gameplay and keep going so we really try not to force you into those situations and so yeah we're really trying to support the non-lethal gameplay we obviously do have you know lethal weapons as well you can play that way you're free to but you know in our game it does have different consequences so it is something you have to consider a little bit more than in other games okay gonna pop some quick quick questions to do both of you before we end which is your favorite class clean my favorite class I think I'm an infiltrator at heart I mean I worked on the Splinter Cell Games and and I like sneaking around taking guys out in the dark okay what about you it's a flip it's a coin flip for me between infiltrator and hacker because the hacker if you played with the spider you can be stealthy you can do the cell takedowns and stuff like that so it depends on what day you ask me but we have a granny class that's gonna be mine a grading class yeah grannies can have every class yeah favorite characters is in assault as an enforcer granny I was awesome granny with a machine gun like takes a running gun perk so she moves really fast when she's aiming down iron sights it's amazing yeah yeah when you find people in the world they don't have a class predetermined there they're kind of a blank slate other than that one gameplay trait so you can actually make surprising combinations you can decide what class are gonna be once they join the team so you can really get creative with your builds all right cool well I hope you all enjoyed that I guess one last question to ask which is when is watchdogs Legion coming out on all platforms March 6 2020 yeah on PlayStation platforms Xbox platforms and PC and say DC and stadia yeah so hope you enjoyed that and make sure you go get watchdogs Legion thank you so much for listening to us thank you guys coming out talking about it thanks so much engine

13 thoughts on “Watch Dogs: Legions Panel | E3 Coliseum 2019

  1. I love the permadeath, it gives weight to dying in open world games that is normally not there. If you like a character, you play smart and try not to let them die.

  2. its great having a gimmick but have they fixed the repetitive rote mssions?
    once you play a ubisoft for few hours they become a little mundane

  3. These creative directors and writers are such great relay and propagandist for modern LGBT/globalist ideologies..

  4. Thanks for this interview, the game looks promising. And good to know that Clint Hocking still is a stealth player 🙂

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