Check out our full written Watch Dogs review.
When you are playing Ubisoft’s open world game Watch Dogs, merrily hacking your way across Chicago, you may come across other, real players that secretly jump into your game and attempt to steal data you’ve earned in order increase their own power when they return to their game. It’s a fairly aggressive form of multiplayer that could aggravate as much as titillate, but according to lead game designer Danny Belanger (and then reported by Polygon), this function can be turned off.
The multiplayer in Watch Dogs allows a player to join another’s ongoing solo campaign without the host knowing they are there. While the unwitting host is running around completing their campaign missions, the second player can surreptitiously track them down and siphon off data collected during the first’s game. They do so by hacking the phone of the host, and staying within a certain distance of the player while the hack is ongoing.
If the invader is successful, they can leave the host’s game and return to their own, then use the data to strengthen themselves while leaving the host weakened. Once the hack begins, the host is notified that they are being attacked, and they must kill the hacker, or get far enough away to break the connection.
For people that aren’t interested in multiplayer interaction through a game that is primarily single player, this could potentially be annoying to the point of infuriating. You may be playing your game and then face a random attack that you can’t control, forcing you to divert from your objective and deal with the menace. According to Belanger though, this function can mercifully be disabled from the menu.
“All the online activities are just part of the menu,” Belanger said during a live stream of Watch Dogs. “They’re a choice. But if someone is not into that … they can totally turn it off.”
The way the multiplayer is set up, you won’t be constantly attacked. There is a feature known as a “Shield,” which prevents you from being attacked multiple times in a row. Your own actions will also increase the likelihood of being attacked. The more you randomly attack others, the more likely you are to be attacked by other players in return.
Watch Dogs was recently confirmed for release on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One for May 27 – a Wii U version is also on the way, but a date has not yet been set for it. When it does arrive, the game will also feature a separate multiplayer mode that allows eight players to freely roam around Chicago and engage in various events.