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Watch Dogs: Legion

Watch Dogs Legion's NPCs: "their lives don't turn off"

We talked to game design lead Kent Hudson about characters, classes, and customisation in the next Watch Dogs.

We knew Watch Dogs was getting a threequel, but we doubt that many people were truly prepared for what Ubisoft unveiled during its E3 press conference. In a nutshell, the player can now effectively play as DedSec itself, switching between operatives that they recruit in a near-future take on London that's held in the grip of an authoritarian government.

Ahead of that reveal we were able to get our hands on the game and then speak with some of its creators, including game design director Kent Hudson.

"So Watch Dogs have always been a game that is about that sort of fantasy of modern technology giving us the ability to peer into people's lives," he said, "and one of the key jumping off points for the game was like what if that profiler that you see from the previous games was real, what if every piece of information in that was real, based on who the people are, how they live their lives, who their relationships are, where they work, where are they from, what are their interests, and all those things."

"And so once you start from there and get into the surveillance aspect of it and you cast it a couple of years in the future so we've got even more technology in the world, it really gives us the ability to sell that fantasy and then ask ourselves 'okay if these are real people who we're really simulating, how do I then intervene in their lives to bring them onto the team and make them part of our resistance?'"

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The people you recruit - and it can be anyone in the world - will aid you in a number of ways, but just because they join the resistance, doesn't mean that they're going underground. We asked Kent about the different personalities of the characters you encounter and the challenge of bringing these Londoners to life.

"In one way it is a challenge, in one way it wasn't because to build the simulation of the people in the world we already had to make them go around the world, live their lives. If you have the time you can just stand and watch someone and follow them as they go from work to home to meet their friend for drinks or whatever.

"So it's almost like the world already worked that way, so when you bring someone on to your team, they just still keep working that way. So it actually wasn't like a unique challenge, once they're on the team, to make that happen because they're still living their lives - when they're not fighting for DedSec they're still going to work, meeting their friends. Their lives don't turn off, you know, it's not like they become a militia group or whatever and they all live in a bunker or whatever. They're still in the world, living their lives and so it was like we would've had to have done work to not make it work that way."

Kent also told us a bit more about the game's three classes (Enforcer, Infiltrator, and Hacker), their traits, and the various abilities that they'll be able to bring to bear in this intriguing open-world adventure, and you can watch the rest of the interview for more on Legion's five story pillars, in-game customisation, and more.

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