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Ubisoft Explains How It Made Every NPC Playable in Watch Dogs: Legion

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Despite many avid Watch Dogs followers previously hearing whispers of a London-based game before its announcement, not many would have guessed that they could play any NPC in the game.

In an interview with Gamasutra, Clint Hocking, the creative director of Watch Dogs: Legion, described what the process behind building the much-advertised system. After meeting with stakeholders, the team decided upon creating a new system dubbed “census” that acts as a relational database for generating the NPC characters.

Census not only allows for procedurally generated NPCs but, once selected by the player, is able to attach a relatable backstory and profile for said character. This is where the relational database kicks in as the census system is able to detect the animation, ethnicity, and occupation of the character to build a name and skill set based upon those base traits.

An example given within the interview is of a groundskeeper. This NPC would only show up at certain times of the day as part of their job, which would then indicate how much money that NPC earns. Based on the groundskeeper’s income, the system can narrow down what area of London that person would live. The system then breaks down other traits, such as ethnicity, which may impact what neighbourhood or community the person associates with.

Hocking elaborated further, stating that “[the groundskeeper’s] going to have certain friends and activities, maybe he’s an outdoorsy guy. He has an outdoor job, so he may be more fit and have a gameplay trait that reflects higher health or higher agility or something like that.”

Each of these steps has been made so that every new experience in Watch Dogs: Legion feels authentic with an emphasis on unique personalities. If the systems pulls off a matrix of NPCs with their own narratives, fight styles, and animations, then the game could be on to something big.

Watch Dogs Legion certainly looks to be an interesting title, to say the least. Stay tuned for more single-player gaming news by following OnlySP on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. Also, be sure to join the discussion in the community Discord server.

 

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