It was a burning question for us once the game was revealed -- would this San Francisco Bay Area-based 'hipster-hacker' really be capable of pulling the trigger? Thankfully, Ubisoft came to the same conclusion and has revealed the entire game can be played with a n on-lethal approach.
AusGamers: Is there a fine line between moral ambiguity and intent, where the player-character is concerned in these types of games? You know there was a big dialogue around Uncharted 4 recently that, well, let’s be honest, Nathan Drake is a mass murderer, and it’s a horrible question in the scheme of videogame fun, but in the [E3 demo] it seemed like you had less of an emphasis on killing and more on making the game a chaos simulator -- how do you find that fine balance? In the first game you had intent because the main character was a vigilante, and there’s a background there as to why he was doing what he was doing, but Marcus just seems like a kid who was a hacker and got dealt a bad hand. How do you create a reason for the player to want to help Marcus create death?
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Dominic: Yeah, it’s a balancing act between player-agency and narrative. Especially in open-world games you try to give as much freedom to the player as you can, and every time you make the editorial decision of removing freedom it can be a mistake. So what we try to do instead is to grow that sandbox, in a sense. In Watch_Dogs 1 if you didn’t want to play lethally it would become a problem at some point, but in Watch_Dogs 2 we tried to move away from that. If you still want to go full aggressive that’s your choice, but we also wanted to give players another viable option in non-lethal, so we added tasers, we added more hacking abilities and at some point we thought “wow, that’s too powerful”, but in a sense it’s not -- let’s create that problem where we’re giving very powerful hacking abilities to the player and then balance them out afterwards. But we’re also not shifting away from a more combat approach if that’s how you want to play.
The character Marcus, you’re right to say he’s not really a character who goes and shoots everybody, but the player can make the decision between how Marcus would play and how the player wants to play.
, which also covers the new San Francisco playspace, co-op and competitive play and much more.