Rumours have been floating round recently that the next Watch Dogs game is going to be set in London, or more specifically, Brixton, and since we've got staff in the London area, we thought we'd weigh in on what we'd like to see and what we'd expect if DedSec were to make their way across the pond.
Firstly, in many a video game the British have been represented horribly by developers, most likely due to the team having no idea about the genuine feel of Britain in 2017. Whether it's horrific cockney accents reminiscent of Dick Van Dyke, or frightfully posh gentility, the stereotypes have all been seen in games, and that's something we'd rather not see in Watch Dogs 3 (as we'll be calling this hypothetical sequel). A genuine representation of London would be great to see, especially in the modern times as opposed to Victorian era.
Setting a video game in London gives you so many locations to reproduce. Just as San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, London has Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Southbank, Trafalgar Square - the list goes on. But if we're talking Brixton specifically, this is a town brimming with many different cultures and an artistic scene much like Shoreditch, and this colourful personality is exactly suited to Watch Dogs (or at least the vibe established by the second game). It's also got a lot of nightlife and entertainment options for young people, which is also what Watch Dogs 2 was aiming at.
In terms of specifically what we'd like to see featured, the London Eye might be a big one. Billboards played a big part in Watch Dogs 2 in terms of getting DedSec's message out there, and what bigger billboard than the London Eye? We could see ourselves hacking the wheel and rigging it to show a hard-hitting message, and getting some great views of virtual London when we scale it to the top (as we got to do many a time in Watch Dogs 2's San Francisco).
A Watch Dogs in London would also need a new approach to weapons. Without getting too political, guns are much more realistic in a game set in the US, but in Britain guns aren't as prominent, except in the most hardcore criminal circles. The way you approach combat, and therefore the entire game, will have to be tweaked a little bit to either prioritise stealth as the main focus, or have the melee aspect pushed the the forefront. This would also mean that more melee options other than the ball-on-a-rope would be necessary (an old British police trudgeon maybe?).
The driving in Watch Dogs 2 felt great, and this made it well-suited for the open world it provided, but this may also have to be tweaked in a British setting too. Not only do we drive on the left over here, but we also don't have as many huge, sprawling highways that you can drive across. Instead, we're more about one lane of traffic, narrow streets, tight turns, and buildings either side of the road, meaning that the usual drive up and mountain away from the cops might not be as appropriate. We're not saying they should include London traffic though... that wouldn't be fun for anyone.
Travelling on foot could also be taken in new and interesting directions as well. London isn't the tallest of cities, with only a few isolated pockets of skyscrapers, meaning that the parkour element that was introduced in Watch Dogs 2 could be taken that bit further, and rather than just doing backflips off of ledges, you could jump between buildings and have pretty awesome rooftop chases, especially given narrow alleyways as well.
Setting a game in Britain also gives the chance for British music to shine. With the underground, semi-hipster vibe the second game gave off, this is the perfect opportunity to give some indie or up-and-coming artists the chance to put their music on display, whether that be in the game itself or via the car radio's or other means, including everything from dubstep, dance, electro, rock, indie, metal, and all the stuff that's relevant these days (which is everything). You could even work local music like grime into the mix.
What would any Watch Dogs discussion be without mentioning hacking? In Watch Dogs 2 the hacking was taken much further than in the first game, giving a variety of options about how to interact with the people and the world around you. Electronic items could be used to your advantage, and more often than not you could flex your creative muscles to come up with creative solutions to problems.
In London we could see even more of this. London's a pretty crowded city (especially at rush hour), with roughly 8.6 million inhabitants, and so the social hacking we saw in Watch Dogs 2 is just as applicable. More could be done to use the technology of these individuals to your benefit in this bustling metropolis, and it gives Ubisoft even more reason to expand the system past simply making a phone ring or stealing from a bank account. Perhaps there could be wireless card scanners? Exploding tablets/phones? Maybe even pickpockets, as London's no stranger to those either.
These increased hacking opportunities extend past the people though. Trams were a prime hacking target in Watch Dogs 2, and London's transport system could also serve as a similar hacking target. There's the tube, the trains, and the buses all available to toy around with, and we could even picture some cool missions tacking part in a travel hub, where you have to black out the lights in a train or down a whole system, blocking the entire city. Also, Gatwick and Heathrow are two airports very close by, so there's that option too.
We have to underline that Watch Dogs 3 isn't confirmed to be set in London yet, nor is it confirmed at all, but if it is these are some of the major points we'd like to see considered when taking the hacking exploits to Britain's not-so-sunny shores. Is there anything we've missed out that you'd really like to see? If so let us know down below!
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