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'GTA' teaches you a lot, whereas 'Watch Dogs' encourages you to wonder, says dev

Ready for some Watch Dogs?
Ready for some Watch Dogs?
Permission to use photo given by Ubisoft

Watch Dogs will be giving the power and freedom to the players when it releases on May 27, but the inspiration to allow players explore and discover the game and its mechanics is key. Some games, like GTA, choose to show players how to use nearly all of its mechanics, but Ubisoft wants Watch Dogs players to discover things on their own through curiosity and intuition.

If you're someone who is going to play Watch Dogs and fall asleep at the wheel, you may not understand what makes this game unique and different. Jonathan Morin, who is the creative director on Watch Dogs, talked about why they wanted to give Watch Dogs players the chance to discover the game on their own.

"We went through a big deal in defining what we should teach and not teach. That's a big question for me. When you end up with so many mechanics, there's a big choice you can make. You can choose to go the teacher way, and you end up playing a game, and it works -- quite a few games do that.

"For example, I would put GTA in that category, where they would really spend a lot of time in the course of the game teaching you stuff. Personally, I like, and I miss, in certain games this idea that players become curious. You want to ignite their sense of wonder and try to discover possibilities.

"That's why the single-button hacking ended up becoming also the icon of the button on screen. It's almost like, 'Oh. What does that one do?' So the only thing you have to teach is: When there is an X [on PlayStation] you hold it, and it hacks the thing. The rest is about experimentation. And also about the skill tree -- which is, you unlock it, but when you unlock it, you know a bit what you're choosing to unlock, which gives you, already, an insight on how it's going to work.

"So it creates a natural flow where you search for your own ways of expressing yourself, instead of having yet another mission where -- pause! -- 'This is the new thing, learn about that,' and then it starts to convey to players that this mission is about using this thing, and then this thing," Morin said.

The feeling and joy of discovering something in an open-world is unlike anything else. It's a nice luxury that players will have in Watch Dogs, and it is not always something people are granted. In certain scenarios, it's nice to have a mechanic explained to you, especially when it contains some complexity. However, it's also great to master a skill on your own, providing a deeper sense of accomplishment.

Players will all be able to find out just how core of an element hacking is to the Watch Dogs experience. You'll get your chance on May 27th when Watch Dogs launches on PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

Thanks, Gamasutra.

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