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What polish means to the 'Watch Dogs' team at Ubisoft

Will the polish be worth the wait?
Will the polish be worth the wait?
Ubisoft

When we first heard about the delay of Watch Dogs last October, Ubisoft talked about one of the biggest reasons for it was the need for more polish.

Today, Dominic Guay talked about what exactly polish means to the development team and all of the incredible depth they plan on having in this game.

"We produced an insane amount of animations and behaviors for the citizens of our Chicago. But once you do a lot of playtests you realize there are certain parts of the city where players go more than others.

"So look at it and we say, OK, there’s all these things happening in the city that many players may never see, there’s those areas they’re going in, and maybe if we had more variety there it would be better. It’s impossible to plan that a year ahead.

"You need to do it, see it, make an adjustment, iterate on it. So we actually produced more content that would fit into the areas where the players went more, moved content around a little bit, looked at it again, played it again. Iterating on this huge of a game takes a while. It takes weeks for anyone to get through our game," Guay said.

So this doesn't just seem to be mean better visuals, but a more alive Chicago from an AI standpoint. Other open-world games are known for having AI that behaves based on your actions and it's great when that behavior is random and unique.

Guay continued on with examples, talking about how they have added depth to character interactions within the city of Chicago.

"Here’s a quick example. We’ve always had the ability for the player – for Aiden – to hack into an NPC’s communication device – basically, their headset, to block them from calling in reinforcements. We actually used a variation of that in the first demo we showed at E3, where Aiden hacked in the communications system and disrupts a bouncer from talking with someone on the phone.

"We had discussions about that, but we never implemented other ways of hacking into that system. But we also wanted the hacking of the headset to be useful in combat. Someone had an idea a while ago: What if we had high-pitch, high-volume sound push into those headset? How would someone react to that?

"You can imagine how someone would react to that while he’s shooting a gun or is in cover or while he’s preparing to throw a grenade! So we added that in, it created a lot of new emergent moments, a lot of new ways for the player to be smart with hacking.

"But there’s a difference between that – which is a variation on something we’d already done and had been discussing for a while – and starting to add all sorts of new, weird ideas. We didn’t go there. We didn’t think that was needed. The game has so many new features, it was really about making those features work well, work smartly and adapt to the kind of players who play the game," Guay said.

We'll all get the chance to find out whether or not the polish was worth the wait when Watch Dogs finally releases this coming May 27th.

Cheers, Ubisoft.