When Ubisoft announced the reveal of Watch Dogs Legion, it was met with considerable intrigue, mostly due to the fact that players could literally pick any NPC in the entire game and suddenly turn them into the protagonist. It was a pretty ambitious statement to say the least, and since then Watch Dogs Legion has grown to become one of the most anticipated titles of the year.
However, after the negative feedback and criticism surrounding Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, namely that it felt very rushed out the door, Ubisoft decided to delay and push back most of its titles including Watch Dogs Legion, Gods and Monsters, and Rainbow Six: Quarantine.
So how has that delay helped the development of Watch Dogs Legion then? Similar to CD Projekt Red’s statement on the second delay of Cyberpunk 2077, the extra time has allowed the development to really focus on polishing the final product. Not only that, but it has also allowed for more development on key gameplay mechanics and features to bring the world and it’s gameplay to the next level.
Speaking to the press, creative director Clint Hocking said “Obviously the day the word came down was devastating because you put yourself in the mental mindset of ‘We're going to close this and get it out the door.’ And that takes a little bit of time to undo but after a few days of stewing in it, it's like, 'Oh yeah, actually, this is great. This is great.’”
“We were very close when we were ready to ship,” he continued, “and the delay has allowed us to really look at the things that were out of reach for us back then, and how to incorporate those things and add a layer of polish and realization and clarity to the game.”
He expanded on this by saying that the most important thing that they’ve done is “added a lot more refinement to traits and the abilities” on characters that you might find within the world. These traits and abilities are what separate certain characters from one another, allowing to choose which one would be best suited for a job. This has resulted in “a lot of cool characters” that you can find, making them much more diverse and interesting and better suited to specific needs.
Finally, he touched on the game’s big set pieces, known as ‘Liberation missions’, which have also been upgraded slightly due to the delay. After completing enough missions or activities in a certain borough of London, these liberation missions appear as a way to rally the people and take back control of the area:
“Once you do all of those activities in a borough,” he says, “you get a borough liberation mission, a really custom beat with unique gameplay and a really cool challenge. And then that causes the people in the borough to rise up and that makes them much easier to recruit, and it gets rid of the Albion checkpoints and reduces the Albion presence in the streets. It really makes it feel like you're actually taking the city back.”
The team has now apparently turned these missions from simple set pieces, into larger, more meaningful missions, as they truly show the scope of the population rising up to take back control.
What do you think? Are you excited for Watch Dogs Legion? Do you think the delay truly helped polish the game? What’s your most anticipated title of 2020? Let us know!