One of the rare bits of humorous content in Watch Dogs: Legion that actually sticks the landing are the in-game podcasts and radio shows featuring dry British hosts commenting on the state of dystopian London. Unfortunately for Helen Lewis, a real-life writer for The Atlantic who lends her voice talent to a couple of those in-game audio files, her statements on gender are prompting Ubisoft to remove her from the game. In 2017, Lewis wrote an opinion piece for The Times that was criticized for being transphobic, and her subsequent posts on The New Statesman and Twitter continued in that vein, all of which created a dust-up on social media at the time and when it was learned that she would be in the latest Watch Dogs. Ubisoft claims that they were unaware of the writer’s controversial history.
“The development team worked with an external producer to select speaker profiles for these podcasts and were not aware of the controversy at the time of booking or recording. While the in-game podcasters are following a pre-approved script and are not speaking in their own name or with their own opinions, we understand this collaboration itself may be seen as offensive and we deeply regret any hurt this has caused.”
Helen Lewis performs in two installments of Watch Dogs: Legion’s BuccanEar podcast, which will be removed from the game shortly.
Going by the E3 gameplay reveal, you could be forgiven for thinking Watch Dogs Legion largely eschews the non-lethal combat options the previous game encouraged. While there is something to be said for a retired assassin grandmother shooting enemies in the face like John Wick, it appeared like Legion was trying to up the ante on hyperstylized violence. According to creative director Clint Hocking, that impression is wrong.
“We really wanted to make sure that non-lethal was an option in any combat encounter.”
Speaking to Twinfinite, Hocking assured fans of the last installment’s stun guns and monkey fist knockouts that Legion can be played in a relatively non-lethal way. While Hocking was unable to confirm the possibility of a 100% kill-free play-through, he did say that half of the game’s current arsenal for the player is non-lethal. Grannies can still shoot to kill, of course, and the player’s enemies will pull out guns if you do or if you violate a high-security area.
In Watch Dogs 2, there was a cool meta-mission that had the player infilitrating a fictional Ubisoft office in San Francisco and stealing video of a work-in-progress game. That was Pioneer, a project later confirmed by Ubisoft sources as being real and set for a 2017 E3 showing. Even at that early date there were reports of it hitting some snags in development, but the video was a nice bit of viral marketing and a cool little Easter Egg. According to Alex Hutchinson, Pioneer may never see release. While the designer of Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed 3 may be wrong since he’s no longer with Ubisoft, he’s probably got sources that are in the know. Besides, we definitely did not get a 2017 or 2018 reveal for Pioneer.
Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft’s open-world hacktivist game out today on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, has nudity. We’re not just talking topless women in strip clubs like Grand Theft Auto V or even the bland Playboy images in Mafia III. This is full genital nudity on modeled characters. It’s also not limited to specific areas or missions. As some early players of the game have discovered, some random non-player characters on the streets of virtual San Francisco are “going commando” as the kids say. Knocking people over while running through the streets (an activity open-world game players love) sometimes results in unintentional X-rated up-skirt views. Eurogamer has some not-safe-for-work details.
The kicker is that Sony is reportedly handing out temporary bans to PlayStation gamers that post media from Watch Dogs 2 with nudity for violating the terms of their service. Apparently, sharing nudity from the game is considered offensive and Sony does not find it amusing.
“Content of an adult or sexual nature is against our Code of Conduct.”
Sorry, PC gamers. You’ll have to wait until November 29th to get your dose of Watch Dogs 2 nakedness.
Ubisoft has revealed Watch Dogs 2. While the sequel plainly follows the template started with Watch Dogs, it’s also obvious that much has changed. It’s not a reboot, but in the words of a famous tech support guy, “Hold on to your butts.” You’re still hacking and using a magic smartphone to fight the forces of control, but the open-world setting has shifted from Chicago to San Francisco and new protagonist Marcus Holloway is younger, more athletic, and more stylish than humorless Aiden Pearce. Marcus can freerun! Not like an assassin, but more like someone that doesn’t pay attention to rules or posted warnings. Tumbling, rolling, and leaping over obstacles like a YouTube stuntman. Marcus has cool youth-oriented clothing that shows he’s not like every other young man rebelling against authority. No trench coats for him! He shops at Zumiez or Urban Outfitters, and wears a carefully slung messenger bag. Iconic!
The parts of Watch Dogs that are terrible are the parts that make a good game great. Characters, theme, meaningful gameplay connected with meaningful storylines, clever self-aware writers working closely with game designers, internal consistency, vision. These are many of the things that define the Bioshock 2s, the Grand Theft Auto Vs, the Metro Last Lights, the Tomb Raiders. These are the things that can elevate videogaming as a medium.
Watch Dogs has none of these things. It is an elaborate trifle, a AAA time fritterer, a playground with skyhigh production values mired in a bog, a dessert tray without an accompanying meal. It is mostly hollow, almost entirely meaningless, and only accidentally relevant. And I’m having a grand time with it.
After the jump, confused Grand Theft Auto V fanboi. Age: 46. Occupation: game critic. Income: $32,700.Continue reading →
Ubisoft has detailed the probable contents of the Watch Dogs Season Pass. For $19.99, players will get a new single-player campaign featuring hacker T-Bone Grady, three optional missions for regular protagonist Aiden Pearce, a cyborg zombie horde mode, and some in-game accessories like additional weapons and clothing. The zombie mode gameplay will be integrated into the story as part of Watch Dogs’ “Digital Trips” that alters reality for Aiden Pearce.
But why are the Digital Trips part of the game? Are they perhaps Watch Dogs’ in-game Blood Dragon? Not at all. Every digital trip is subtly related to the core game, not just mechanically but narratively as well. Each says something about Aiden’s emotional state or relationship with the world around him.
Watch Dogs launches on May 27th for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Ubisoft announced a couple of delays in their upcoming slate of high-profile games. First up, Watch Dogs, is being kicked back to Spring 2014. The open-world hacking adventure is being pushed to next year to “polish and fine tune each detail” in the game. Next, The Crew, Ubisoft’s highly anticipated multiplayer racing game will now launch sometime in Q4 of 2014. Hey, at least you can look forward to Assassin’s Creed 4 later this year! CEO Yves Guillemot explained both delays during an investor conference call.
“In a context of growing successes for mega-blockbusters, the additional time given to the development of our titles will allow them to fulfill their huge ambitions and thus offer players even more exceptional experiences.”
To pile a little more bad news on investors, Ubisoft revealed that both Rayman Legends and Splinter Cell failed to meet sales projections. Ubisoft lowered revenue expectations for the current year from $1.94 billion to $1.38 billion based on Watch Dogs and The Crew being moved to next year.
Now we know that next-gen is really here. The recommended minimum PC specifications for Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs elicited little more than a pause because most PC gamers assumed that all the open-world razzle-dazzle would require some decent hardware to back it up. The PC specifications for Call of Duty: Ghosts indicate what many of us have anticipated. Next-gen games may require PC upgrades.
OS: Windows 7 64-Bit / Windows 8 64-Bit
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8200 2.66 GHZ / AMD Phenom X3 8750 2.4 GHZ or better
RAM: 6 GB RAM
HDD: 50 GB HD space
Video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti / ATI Radeon HD 5870 or better
Sound: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
Recommended: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780
Goodbye 4GB of RAM and 32-bit Windows! People scooting along at the low-end of Steam’s hardware survey better start making upgrade lists or hope to get a Steam Machine.
That’s PAX Prime 2013 summed up with one image. It’s kid-friendly Donkey Kong right next to Bayonetta 2’s bad posture. There’s your thousand words right there. It’s cosplayers rubbing shoulders with salespeople in suits. It’s techno music blaring out of speakers right by the restrooms. It’s 15-foot tall TV screens showing pre-recorded gameplay on a 30-second loop. It’s card floppers and dice chuckers sitting near kids trading virtual pocket monsters. It’s thousands of gamers packed into one convention center jockeying to play what the marketing folks will allow them to see. It’s chaos and it’s awesome.