Watch Dogs Legion is putting emergent gameplay front and centre with its impressive concept of being able to play as every single NPC in the game, but as you would imagine, that’s something that’s bound to have a lot of impact on the game’s story and storytelling as well. Not only does this mean there’s no single main protagonist to latch on to, it also means that every story beat and cutscene in the game has to account for all the permutations and combinations of which character you’re playing is, which of them are still alive, and who’s involved in which part of the story.
Ordinarily, you’d expect that a game doing something like that would focusing on its narrative aspects a bit less, but it doesn’t seem like Watch Dogs Legion is doing that- something that is exemplified by the fact that, allegedly, its script has twenty different variations based on all the aforementioned things. And according to game design director Kent Hudson, that’s very much the case.
While speaking with Spiel Times, Hudson mentioned that in spite of Watch Dogs Legion’s “play as anyone” approach, story is something that is still very important to the experience, before going on to talk about the various thematic pillars that different sections of the story will be tackling.
“I know ‘play as anyone’ is kind of a crazy technological innovation with the simulation we’ve done, but story is still a huge part of the game,” said Hudson. “It’s a huge part of the franchise and this game is no different. We’ve got five different storylines in the game, so it’s five main– you could call them quest lines if you want. And each one of them is tied to one of our thematic pillars.
“So, for example, we’re gonna be looking at today a storyline that’s about the surveillance state,” he continued. “It’s basically about the spies of the nation turning their technology inward and actually spying on the citizens of England and London. There’s one that’s about the surveillance state. There’s one that’s themed around the private military contractors who’ve supplanted the police in the city, and they’ve actually taken over.”
“Each one of those five storylines is tied to the thematic pillars that are going into the game,” he added later. “So we’re keeping another couple under wraps for now, but each one is definitely inspired by the core thematic pillars of the game.”
Watch Dogs Legion is out on March 6, 2020 for the PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia.