WATCH DOGS: LEGION SHOULD DOUBLE DOWN ON CHARACTER VARIATION
It’s a party and everyone is invited.      




COMMENTARY

By JAY TEE
22/10/20

Set phasers to frown.

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Every now and then a game will saunter into our orbit armed with something genuinely disruptive in its approach. Much has been made of Watch Dogs: Legion’s “play as anyone” concept, allowing you to rebuild hacker collective Ded-Sec from the ground up with a cast of characters defined entirely by your own preferences. Given its clear focus on such a mechanic, and with the promise of significant post launch DLC, this feature is ripe for expansion.

We’ve already seen Grandma rocking a taser, a pub geezer with cockney stereotype settings cranked up to maximum, and even an ode to Mr. Wick himself with a suited and booted assassin. These are all viable options, and will likely lead to some amusing streams of folks building out OAP only squads or attempting lethal runs as efficiently as possible.

But my pitch is: why stop there? I’d love to see Ubisoft embrace the weirdness so often displayed at their E3 presentations, and their inherent love for slightly unhinged humour. Legion is a wide open canvas ripe for unbridled creativity, and there’s a persistent feeling that in its launch state it will only begin to scratch that itch.

Of course, everything I’m about to propose may indeed already be a part of the game, so apologies if my wild speculation is in fact accounted for. Top of the list would be a “dancer” character type, offering the kind of gymnastic, balletic moves that could be leveraged to vault over objects quicker, or give people a much more efficient wrap around the Jack Johnson (thank you Ron Burgandy).

I’m also holding out hope for a “Doomsday Prepper” archetype, which could give an ammo / supply buff for any weapons / items found on your travels. Since some of the characters also feature negative traits to keep things fresh, there could be a 12% chance of uncontrollable delirium that sends your trusty end of the world maniac into a frenzy.

Although not tied to one specific role, some kind of “blagger” trait that would let you sweet talk your way into (and out of) precarious situations would open up a tapestry of conversational mechanics. So much of Watch Dogs’ mission structure is, logically, centred on hacking your way to victory, so throwing in a molten bullshit artist would spice up the choices you’re afforded.

Considering the amount of time Ubi have spent developing this tech, we’re likely to see improvements and iteration in future titles. I was always perplexed that WB’s Nemesis system from the Shadow titles hadn’t been more widely adopted, and while limitations are inevitable with any AI simulation as the boundaries are stretched, this remains an exciting step forward as next gen approaches.




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