Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs Legion will be an ambitious game. The team lead by Ubisoft Toronto is working wonders with proprietary AI technology, which will allow players assume the role of any NPC they come across in Legion’s London setting. However, advancements in technology are not all that’s being put to the test. Apparently, quality control is reaching its limits, too. Human testing for these kind of experiences may need to soon be joined by automated systems, according to one Ubisoft developer.
Speaking with Stevivor, Watch Dogs Legion Associate Producer Shelley Johnson addressed the many complexities involved in developing the upcoming title. Sure, the systemic NPC system presents a host of intricate twists and turns all its own. Yet, according to Johnson, testing the system brought about another set of unexpected troubles. Namely, “the limits of human testing” were on full display, she said.
Johnson told Stevivor the following,
To be honest it’s really the first game, I think, for Ubi where we realized the limits of human testing—QC [quality control]. We really are crossing over into the need for AI to start picking up some of the heavy lifting when it comes to testing the game because of the complexity.
Given the full breadth of the game itself and the systems powering it, troubles with testing Watch Dogs Legion aren’t too much of a surprise. At the core of the experience rests the Census, Ubisoft’s “massive relational database.” The Census allows Legion to generate a multitude of characters at once, which the player can then pick up and play at leisure. There’s a lot going on in the background when this happens.
Creative Director Clint Hocking once explained that when players spot a groundskeeper, he has to have a backstory and a life befitting his occupation. The groundskeeper must make a certain amount of money, and is likely to live in a particular part of town. Every NPC will require generation in this manner, typically on the fly. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s no wonder quality control may one day need some sort of overhaul.
Watch Dogs Legion will come to the PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One early next year on March 6, 2020.