Ubisoft’s E3 2019 showing was pretty impressive. We got new details about The Division 2, announcements for new Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon games, and of course confirmation of the existence of a new Just Dance game. Would it even be a Ubisoft conference without this ever-present franchise? All in all, Ubisoft’s conference was a pleasing mixture of old favourites and new, exciting titles.
Probably the most exciting announcement of Ubisoft’s entire E3 show was the open-world sandbox hackathon Watch Dogs: Legion. This game is making a lot of exciting changes to its predecessors’ formula that should shake the games up and make them exciting again. We’re big fans of Watch Dogs, but we’re always up for seeing a reinvention in progress. Here are 10 reasons we’re excited for Watch Dogs: Legion.
It’s more Watch Dogs
We know Watch Dogs got its fair share of negative criticism when it came out, but we’re pretty big fans of the game ourselves. Sure, main character Aiden Pearce isn’t the most charismatic fellow, and the story is a little muddled, but we were taken in by the game’s innovative approach to sandbox gaming. Watch Dogs 2 was a marked improvement, with better characters, a more streamlined story, and more of an emphasis on hacking. Watch Dogs: Legion will continue a series we already know and love.
Even though we loved the first two Watch Dogs games, we understand they had room to improve. Watch Dogs 2 came across as a little focus-grouped in its depiction of millennial hackers, and while the sandbox was definitely better it still bore all the hallmarks of a Ubisoft production (radio towers, caches of in-game currency, et cetera). Legion is promising to wipe the slate clean and change the focus, and we’re definitely looking forward to that.
It’s set in London
Precious few sandbox games manage to make time for dear old Blighty. Grand Theft Auto flirted with The Smoke in GTA: London, and of course the underrated The Getaway examined life as a police officer in the Swinging City. For a major triple-A production to take London as its setting in 2020 is definitely exciting, though. We’re looking forward to climbing Big Ben and jumping to our doom from the rooftops of the Houses of Parliament.
It’s political…sort of
Watch Dogs has always flirted with contemporary politics, but nowhere is it more obvious than in Legion. The newest game sees an authoritarian regime take control of the UK and use the ubiquitous ctOS to control the population. Evergreen heroes DedSec recruit followers from around the UK to combat the regime and free the people from its oppressive yoke. Watch Dogs: Legion may not take place directly following Brexit, but it’s hard to imagine the game isn’t trying to make some sort of comment about it.
You can use the Tube to fast-travel
We know that this sounds like a minor point, but believe us when we say we’re actually thrilled that the London Underground is making an appearance in Watch Dogs: Legion. It’s rare for a video game to actually consider how its mode of fast-travel transportation works; usually, we simply assume the character has taken that journey and we don’t give it any further thought. Watch Dogs: Legion clearly cares about the verisimilitude of its setting enough to come up with an explanation for a usually-ignored gameplay mechanic.
You can play as multiple characters
Here we come to the big selling point of Watch Dogs: Legion. Where the first game follows vigilante hacker Aiden Pearce and the second revolves around the adventures of Marcus Holloway, Watch Dogs: Legion will allow you to control multiple characters and recruit almost anyone to your cause. Each character will have their own class and set of skills, and the decisions you make during the game will mean some can join and some can’t. It’s also possible to permanently lose characters during a playthrough.
It’s coming to Google Stadia
Obviously, Watch Dogs: Legion will have a release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as PC. The most exciting platform for the game, though, is arguably Google Stadia. The California tech company’s new streaming service seems like a natural fit for the potentially technically demanding Watch Dogs: Legion, and we can’t wait to see the beautiful, naturalistic representation of London created by Ubisoft putting Stadia through its paces.
There’s co-op multiplayer
Watch Dogs: Legion will feature full support for four-player co-operative multiplayer. This makes a lot more sense in the setting of Legion than it did in the previous two games; after all, if the game has no fixed protagonist, it’s entirely possible for players to take up the role of anyone and join someone else’s game. Progress will be shared between single-player and multiplayer, so you can seamlessly drop in and drop out of someone’s game and you won’t lose anything for it.
It’s another Ubisoft sandbox
Some people are fatigued by Ubisoft sandboxes, but we’re certainly not. Every time Ubisoft releases a new open-world game, we’re thrilled by the possibilities it presents. These worlds are always well-crafted, with various nooks and crannies to explore and plenty of secrets to find. Traversal is always fun, and Legion promises to continue the series’ tradition of on-foot and vehicular transportation. We lose ourselves in Ubisoft sandboxes for weeks at a time, and Watch Dogs: Legion looks like it will be no exception.
It makes us excited for the franchise’s future
After Watch Dogs: Legion, where next? It’s very exciting to see Ubisoft experimenting with the formula that has proven successful for them over multiple franchise iterations. Getting rid of the protagonist addresses one of the main complaints many people had about the first two games, so it’s exciting to think about where the company could go next with Watch Dogs 4 (if it happens). The future is looking very bright for DedSec.