“The delay has allowed us to really look at the things that were out of reach for us back then,” says Clint Hocking.
Watch Dogs: Legion was supposed to release in March of this year, but it became one of several major Ubisoft releases to get delayed indefinitely late last year. When the delay happened, the developer said that they’d be using the extra time at their disposal to hone their vision of Watch Dogs: Legion even further- and it seems like that added development time may have done the game a world of good.
Speaking recently to IGN, creative director Clint Hocking said that though the delay was something that the team was initially disappointed about, it ultimately allowed them to re-approach ideas they had thought were out of their reach earlier and implement them in the game for a more fleshed out experience.
“We were very close when we were ready to ship, and the delay has allowed us to really look at the things that were out of reach for us back then, and how to incorporate those things and add a layer of polish and realization and clarity to the game” Hocking said. “So 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.
Hocking explained that different characters having actual, tangible differences in their abilities is one of the biggest improvements in the game. Characters’ abilities make sense within the context of their stories and backgrounds, and their abilities differ based on what job you have, creating lots of options in gameplay and strategic possibilities for how to approach any mission. Based on the recent gameplay footage we’ve seen, it definitely seems like the game is pulling that off.
Hocking also spoke about uprisings, a mechanic that the development team was allowed to really flesh out given all the added time they had to work on it.
“Once you do all of those activities in a borough, you get a borough liberation mission, a really custom beat with unique gameplay and a really cool challenge,” Hocking explained. “And then that causes the people in the borough to rise up and that makes them much easier to recruit, and it gets rid of the Albion checkpoints and reduces the Albion presence in the streets. It really makes it feel like you’re actually taking the city back.”
Watch Dogs: Legion releases for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia on October 29. It will release for PS5 and Xbox Series X later in the year (and will support Smart Delivery on the latter).