Watch Dogs 2 will build on player's ability to "humanise" NPCs through profiling | PCGamesN

Watch Dogs 2 will build on player's ability to "humanise" NPCs through profiling

Watch Dogs: makes a virtue of voyeurism.

Watch Dogs’ citizen profiler has proven to be one of its more divisive systems. While some dismissed its randomised text descriptions as shallow, player mileage seemed to vary according to the leaps of imagination they were prepared to take.

Creative director Jonathan Morin wants to push that “space for interpretation” in the sequel, and build on Watch Dogs’ foundations for “systemic contextual narrative”.

“You can humanise the people around you,” he said of the game’s successes. “That I definitely see as the beginning of something that is quite unique and could push the industry forward.”

Morin said the gaps in information from the profiler provided “space for expression” - a reason for players to care about NPCs.

“There’s a trap of trying to take that and making it so precise then there's no space for interpretation anymore,” he told Digital Spy.

“I think that would make us lose something. We need to find the right balance where we need to push that further, without closing the door and making a crafted story.”

Morin refers to the approach rather vaguely as “systemic contextual narrative” - and says that Ubisoft Montreal’s team is exploring the possibilities of it right now.

“We’re trying crazy stuff,” he said. We're trying not to fall into that trap of, 'Oh we've tried that in the past, it's not going to work'.

"If you want to push something forward, then you can think you know better than the first time around. Sometimes it's true, [but] sometimes you don’t want to break the possibilities too soon. So that's pretty much our state of mind now, to make sure we can explore fully the possibilities before we start pretending we know what we're doing.”

I was a fan of the profiler - it was a little like giving Dishonored’s secret-telling heart a squeeze once every few seconds, for the entire game. And the more absurdly juxtaposed the randomised personality traits were, the more intriguing a character became. But our Fraser wasn't quite so wholehearted a fan of Watch Dogs. How did you find it?

Sign in to Commentlogin to comment
Athan Immortal avatarXoki avatar
Athan Immortal Avatar
3 Years ago

I liked the little bits of story that were provided with the profiler, my problem was that there was no meaningful way to affect those stories.

"Fighting for custody of children."

"Bankrupted by medical bills."

"Lost everything in a pyramid scheme."

Why am I indiscriminately robbing these people? Why is my ONLY option to "hack" (rob) these people? And why doesn't that affect my reputation? More over, why can't I kick them a few thousand dollars to help with their trouble?

Right now I have over $3,000,000 in game, and have no use for it. I can't even give the pan handler on the street a few dollars.

The profiler exists as nothing more than window dressing at the moment, and I would love to see them expand on it by rewarding players for reading the information, deciding if it's right to take money from these people, perhaps affect their reputation for not taking money from "Single Mother raising 4 children" or "War veterain suffering from PTSD".

I stopped reading the profiles because eventually I would see them repeated (understandable), and it was inconsequential.

I hope Watch Dogs 2 will reward you for moral choices and affect your reputation if you give someone in need some funds.

Xoki Avatar
3 Years ago

Very true, but the part where you say 'affect their reputation for not taking money...' I feel wouldn't make any sense. People don't suddenly gain respect for you because you DIDN'T rob them.

As well as that, reputation is a public thing and people wouldn't have any idea it was you hacking the account.

However, I think your other points are great. I have way way too much money in Watch Dogs. I feel like money is too plentiful and for a fugitive I'm able to get all kinds of stuff way too easily. If money was more scarce, giving it away to those in need would be something you may actually think about and a sacrifice instead of something you do because you have millions anyway.