Watch Dogs: Pursuing the perfect profiler

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Profiler

The first iteration of any Ubisoft game tends to be rough around the edges. Splinter Cell was a great idea, but it wasn’t really until Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory that the games really shined. The same could be argued for Assassin’s Creed. The first game felt like a tech demo, with the second one delivering on its promises. Will that hold true for Watch Dogs?

I rather liked Watch Dogs, but it felt like it failed to live up to its promises; the city seemed alive, but it was a facade. The profiler, which let you see what citizens were up to, ended up being little more than a gimmick. Even its central mechanic, hacking, was reduced to a single button. None of that was helped by the frankly bland protagonist. 

These things – especially the rather shallow profiler – are going to be fixed for the second one. Speaking at D.I.C.E Europe 2014, Watch Dogs creative director Jonathan Morin said he wants future games to be more expressive, utilising the profiling system to build (and you couldn’t throw jargon together like this if you tried) a “ systemic contextual narrative”

“You want to continue to push those systems to embrace more of the fantasies of becoming a vigilante. We’ll see where that goes as we communicate what the future of the brand is. There’s definitely space for expression there,” he told Digital Spy.

“We need to find the right balance where we need to push that further, without closing it, without closing the door and making a crafted story,” he said.

“We have a huge opportunity to have something that’s quite unique there, and the way you can pass if you want, systemic contextual narrative in the world. You can humanise the people around you. That I definitely see as the beginning of something that is quite unique and could push the industry forward.”

He said Ubisoft wants to “push” the profiler, potentially in crazy ways.

“We’re trying crazy stuff,” he said. We’re trying not to fall into that trap of, ‘Oh we’ve tried that in the past, it’s not going to work’.

"If you want to push something forward, then you can think you know better than the first time around. Sometimes it’s true, [but] sometimes you don’t want to break the possibilities too soon. So that’s pretty much our state of mind now, to make sure we can explore fully the possibilities before we start pretending we know what we’re doing.”

Do we really want to look in to the hearts of men..even if they’re digital ones?

Last Updated: October 1, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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