We interviewed Clint Hocking, director of Watch Dogs: Legion, about the state of the open world, the next generation and what is to come.
Watch Dogs: Legion is the result of rigorous work by Ubisoft Toronto to meet the standard that had been set from the beginning. Despite the ambition of being able to control anyone in this London in full swing, the team led by Clint Hocking has managed to bring it to fruition. In July we already told you about the relevance of mechanics in the formula, and the second session we had access to confirm this again.
Clint Hocking has a long career in the video game industry. Before leading the third installment of this saga, he did the same with Far Cry 2. In MeriStation we sat down with him in a digital meeting to chat about the ins and outs of his development, the situation of the genre and what we can expect from several of the functions of the new generation.
MeriStation: 12 years have passed since the release of Far Cry 2. In terms of design, how has the open world genre evolved since then?
Clint Hocking: [laughs] Good question. In my opinion, I think the worlds that have been open for a couple of decades since the release of Far Cry 2, have tended to be very narrative-centric and somehow moved away from creating much richer and more systematic interactions. One of the things we wanted to do from the beginning with Watch Dogs: Legion was to make the population more systematic and order of magnitude, in the same way that Far Cry 2 did with grass, trees and life. wild, which were systematic and interactive with the weather and everything around it; here we wanted to do the same with people.
That’s where the play-however-you-want mechanic comes from, from the original idea of the first Watch Dogs. When you see someone walking down the street, you can see his name and you see that he’s delivering pizza, but hey, at the same time he’s a secret drug dealer or something. You take that fragment, that little idea of who that person is, but making it real, creating that population, their friends, their family, where they live, where they work and what car they have, to make that enrich the simulation with which the player can to interact.
So, you know, over the last 10 years, in my opinion, open world games were trying to keep up with realization, characters, and narrative as a story-driven linear game. And I think it has been achieved. Now, my hope is that we can see those systems again and be able to make them much richer and more powerful in interaction.