The bounce from the unique Watch Canine to its sequel was an enormous one. The preliminary idea — the place you play as a hacker in a GTA-style open world — was fleshed out in Watch Canine 2, with extra open-ended gameplay and a tone and elegance that felt good. As large as that leap was, although, the third sport within the sequence is much more bold. Watch Canine Legion, which was formally unveiled as we speak at Ubisoft’s E3 keynote, doesn’t simply happen in a sprawling, dynamic world — it additionally forces you to take a look at the folks in that world in a brand new manner.
The brand new sport is about within the close to future in post-Brexit London. (After all, this being a Ubisoft sport, it’s positively not a sport about politics.) For essentially the most half, the town appears recognizable apart from the futuristic vehicles that dot the streets and the copious drones within the sky. Inventive director Clint Hocking describes the setting as a “time of large social change.” Unemployment is rampant, with hundreds of thousands put out of labor due to automation, and the venerable pound has been overtaken by a brand new type of cryptocurrency.
Amidst this chaos is DedSec, the Nameless-style hacker group on the coronary heart of the Watch Canine sequence. The twist is that there isn’t one particular hero you play as; as an alternative, you’ll be able to take management of just about any character within the sport. In earlier Watch Canine video games, you can scan each non-playable character to be taught a bit extra about them. Legion goes a step additional by letting you employ this data to recruit them. Every NPC not solely has a singular look, but additionally a singular life; they’ve schedules and relationships with different characters.
When you determine somebody you need to recruit, you then should make them sympathetic to DedSec’s trigger. In a single instance, throughout a hands-on demo I had with the sport, there was a lady having points with a mortgage shark, and he or she additionally occurred to be in opposition to the concept of DedSec. Happening a mission to get the cash lender off her case helped change her thoughts. When you recruit somebody, you’ll be able to then assign them a category — there are three, which typically fall underneath fight, stealth, and hacking — after which voila, they’re a part of your crew. You possibly can swap between recruits at any level within the sport, and the reduce scenes will function whoever it’s you’re taking part in as at that given second, full with new animations and voice appearing.
I solely had 45 minutes with the sport, so it was laborious to see simply how a lot depth there’s to every character. Hocking says that “they’re not only a bucket of stats with a pores and skin on them,” emphasizing that every recruit will really feel distinct. In case you do get hooked up to 1, although, be careful: Legion options permadeath, so as soon as a recruit is killed, they’re gone for good, forcing you to make the most of different members of your crew. They will also be captured or arrested, and you should utilize a special character to rescue them.
Except for the brand new recruit system, Legion feels similar to Watch Canine 2, at the least throughout the small portion I performed. Missions included issues like stealthily breaking right into a police station to hack a server, or going to Camden Market to take out some operatives. Throughout one mission, I used to be ambushed within the midst of a protest at Trafalgar Sq., and was compelled right into a Grand Theft Auto-esque automotive chase to get again to security. The sport appears to emphasise stealth — Ubisoft says half of the weapons in-game are nonlethal — and there are, in fact, loads of new devices to mess around with, like nimble spider-bots and a cloaking system that hides you from the pervasive AR.
Legion is being helmed by Ubisoft’s Toronto studio, it additionally marks a return of types for Hocking. After making his identify as director on video games like Splinter Cell and Far Cry 2, Hocking left Ubisoft and bounced round quite a few main corporations, together with Valve, Amazon, and LucasArts. Nevertheless, he didn’t ship a sport throughout that point, making Legion the primary new Hocking-led title in round a decade.
Finally, loads is dependent upon how absolutely realized the recruits really feel if you spend some actual time with them within the sport. Legion may both find yourself as a vibrant, continually altering expertise, or one crammed with a bunch of foremost characters that each one appear largely the identical. Both manner, it’s definitely an bold idea — and given Watch Canine’ historical past, that’s most likely for one of the best.
Watch Canine Legion is launching on March sixth, 2020.