We all knew that Watch Dogs would have some sort of multiplayer, but it wasn’t really clear what it would entail. A GTA4-esque free roam? Races and shootouts with phone powers enabled? Possibly, but what’s being shown off at E3 2013 looks to be seamlessly integrated into the single-player game, and appears to be as interesting and innovative as you’d expect from the publisher that did Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell multiplayer in novel and clever ways.
According to the Ubisoft blog, while wandering around the open world, you can spot other players (a bit like Dark Souls) and attempt to install viruses onto their phones. This triggers a little minigame in which the hacker has to try to hide from his target, who will be hunting him down in an attempt to stop the infection attempt. No details on what rewards there’ll be for this, but Ubisoft claims there’s been a lot of thought put into that.
In case you’re wondering how silly it would be to have 30 Aiden Pearces running around, that’s not how it works. Instead, each player appears as Aiden Pearce only to themselves – everyone else just sees them as a generic NPC. What this means, really, is that when you’re looking for someone to hack (or trying to work out who’s trying to hack you) your targets will just look like NPCs. In short: to each player, only they are Aiden Pearce.
This apparently isn’t all there is to it – you can apparently wander into someone’s game and watch them, or grief them, or help them out, and there will apparently be multiplayer missions that task you with protecting others. It’s also worth noting that this stuff will be disabled while you’re doing a main or side mission, and you can just opt out of the multiplayer anyway if you really want to. Still: a neat touch.
The more I see of Watch Dogs, the more impressed I am. Here’s hoping the execution lives up to the potential inherent in the concept and ideas.