Ubisoft originally planned to release Watch Dogs Legion this past spring. In the wake of The Division 2’s and Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s shortcomings, however, the Watch Dogs follow-up received a push. Though Ubisoft Toronto developers were initially devastated by the delay, they brainstormed how it could benefit the project long-term. Apparently, the expansion of the highly-touted ‘Play as Anyone’ feature counts as the most noteworthy improvement.
Creative Director Clint Hocking told IGN the postponed release date was at first “devastating.” After all, the project had been nearing completion, with devs working under the assumption that “we’re going to close this and get it out the door.” But the extra time worked in the Toronto studio’s favor, particularly with regards to the feature that allows players to assume the role of any Watch Dogs Legion NPC.
Hocking noted there’s a new level of “polish” and “clarity” to the overall project, before explaining,
…the most important thing I think we’ve done is added a lot more refinement to traits and the abilities that you find on characters in the world, and better ways for aggregating those into individuals. As a consequence of that, we have a lot of cool characters that kind of emerge out of these great traits.
Thus, players can anticipate more varied skills from the characters they recruit. One example is that a construction site owner who doubles as an architect can enter the site unperturbed, safety gear and all. Yet, a construction worker on the same site may roam about with a nail gun in-hand, along with access to drones.
Touches of this nature add a strategic flourish to Legion’s core gameplay and work to serve the player’s needs at any given time. Similarly, the progression system received some refinement of its own. Now players have the option to experiment with as many recruits as they see fit, without being punished for not focusing on a select number.
Legion’s big picture moments were overhauled, as well. According to Hocking, this is especially evident in the uprisings. Throughout the game, players will complete tasks in London boroughs that culminate in a “borough liberation mission”–a custom “beat” that provides unique gameplay opportunities and a neat challenge. Afterwards, people living in the borough will rise up, making them easier to recruit. In turn, Albion forces are cleared out. “It really makes it feel like you’re actually taking the city back,” Hocking concluded.
Watch Dogs Legion comes to the PS4, PC, and Xbox One this fall on October 29th. Next-gen versions are in the works, but currently lack a solid release date. Those who purchase the new title on PS4/Xbox One will receive free access to a next-gen upgrade on PS5/Xbox Series X.