A new gameplay trailer for Watch_Dogs released Wednesday offers the first real look at how multiplayer will work in the hackable open world of virtual Chicago.
Ubisoft has developed an ambitious multiplayer platform for Watch_Dogs that blends online interactions with the singleplayer environment. Rather than select a multiplayer hub or choose an online game mode separate from the main campaign, the player will encounter multiplayer instances while navigating between missions in the game.
The demo features three different ways to interact with other live players, all of which take advantage of Watch_Dogs‘s open world and hacking capabilities: Online hacking contracts, using the ctOS mobile app, and competitive decryption combat.
Online hacking contracts are the most unique of the three multiplayer modes. While meandering through the city, players can identify and stealthily attempt to hack another player (When you encounter another player online, they appear as a generic NPC character model, rather than another clone of your character. Each player only sees himself as Aiden Pierce). This triggers a prompt on the hacked player’s screen, at which point the hackee must identify the hacker and neutralize him before the hack is completed. In the video above, this ends with the hacker escaping at the end of a high-octane car chase.
What makes online hacking contracts more interesting than the other two online offerings is that they don’t seem to require a player to ‘challenge’ another, and therefore there’s no option to accept or decline a hacking contract – a player can simply appear in the game world at any time and a contract can be triggered by the hacking party. If this is accurate, it will be interesting to see what happens when someone who doesn’t want to be interfered with is hacked. Can they abandon the scenario? What happens if they try to enter a mission while a contract is initiated?
The ctOS companion app works in a more conventional manner that we’ve more or less seen before. A player using the ctOS app can challenge someone on a console or PC to a ‘race’ of sorts. The app user is provided a top down view of the world map and control of all police vehicles and hackable objects in the area. The challenged player must outrun all the obstacles the app user throws at them and make an escape. Anyone familiar with Battlefield 4‘s Commander app should feel right at home using ctOS.
Competitive decryption combat is the closest Watch_Dogs gets to traditional competitive online multiplayer. Two teams of online players fight it out over an electronic device, which needs to be in a player’s possession to be decrypted. The closer the enemy is to the player holding the device, the slower the decryption process goes. Again, players have full access to the city and any hacking abilities from the main game, meaning traffic lights, bridge blockades and any other electronic device can be used to stop the other team.
Obviously the focus of this trailer is to showcase these three new multiplayer game types, however this might also be the most effective trailer for Watch_Dogs as a whole – Over the course of the 10 minute demo players get a transparent look at how the game will play both online and offline. The animations are for the most part seamless. Watching the player-character climb into the back of a pick-up truck, enter and exit a vehicle or simply pull out his phone to hack another player is a lot more useful to potential consumers than the story trailer released a while back.
Watch_Dogs launches May 27, 2014 on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One and PS4. A Wii U version of the game has also been announced, yet no official release date has been disclosed.