“We’re talking different characters, different personas, different voices, different acting,” says creative director Clint Hocking.
Watch Dogs Legion allows you to play as any and every NPC in the game (this sentence makes zero sense when you think about it), and a byproduct of that is that there is no one single set protagonist in the game. Every Londoner you see and run into can and will be part of the story, depending on who you choose to play as and recruit.
But that has serious implications on the narrative and the way it plays out as well, because you get to decide who’s playing a part and who isn’t, and when all these people are playing a part. Every cutscene, then, requires variations in script, voice acting, animations, and more, depending on which characters you’ve chosen to be part of those cutscenes.
And that’s a complicated undertaking, of course. So much so, in fact, that Watch Dogs Legion’s script apparently has twenty different variations, based on all those factors. Recently, while speaking in an interview with EDGE in their August 2019 issue (Issue 334), creative director Clint Hocking spoke of the process.
“There’s no dude on the box who’s there to start all the cinematics and the people you recruit are just the supporting cast,” said Hocking. “There are 20 different versions of Legion’s script and I don’t just mean people saying the same lines. We’re talking different characters, different personas, different voices, different acting.
“We’re using technology to alter all the voices so that even if you happen to recruit Joe and John and they have the same actor and the same personality when they talk to each other, you won’t know it’s the same actor because we modulate the voices. We used photogrammetry to capture dozens of different faces, which have been combined using innovative animation techniques to produce literally thousands of unique heads.
“Whether you choose some suave, sophisticated secret agent dude, or some 80-year-old lady that you saw feeding pigeons in the park, your story is going to be uniquely yours.”
Watch Dogs Legion is out on March 6, 2020 for the PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia. Make sure to read about everything we learnt about the game at E3 2019.