The hacking skills of Watch Dogs' Aiden Pierce will come in handy for those players who don't believe in solving all problems by drawing a gun.
There are two common ways to handle missions: a shooting spree or a quiet, stealthy sneak-through. Senior director Dominic Guay told Polygon during a recent showing of the game that the latter option is more doable than one would think in most missions.
"About 95 percent of missions you can completely stealth through, or flee or chase without having to shoot," he said. "So it's really player choice-driven. There are a very few, very limited amount of missions that will force you to kill people."
During the demo, I got a chance to become familiar with one of Aiden's close companions — Jordi Chin, a "Fixer," a gun for hire who carries clean ups wealthy clients' mistakes for cold hard cash. In the demo, Jordi warns Aiden that someone is out to get him, and that he's just a finger point away from being handed over to the police.
Jordi, a rather dapper Asian man, is willing to help Aiden avoid this. Jordi says omeone Aiden has previously dealt with has been rounded up by the Chicago police, and is preparing to out Aiden in his interrogation.
"About 95 percent of missions you can completely stealth through."
The banter between the two men feels natural, and Aiden's stoic, steely nature is a perfect foil to Jordi's playful way of explaining things. This attention to detail in character personality made them feel more real, and the frustrated tone in Jordi's voice as he addresses Aiden before he leaves — "Do you realize how much I do for you?" — makes it clear that Aiden's hacking spree in Chicago is not without some camaraderie.
Aiden meets Jordi in a random apartment — in which Jordi has tied up and blindfolded the couple residing there. Why? To get the perfect sniper vantage point, of course. In a cluttered train yard opposite the apartment building where Jordi and Aiden are sitting, Jordi points out a group of men — one of which is running the operation that will ultimately bring Aiden into police custody. So Jordi's naturally solution is to find the boss and take out all the rest. Aiden heads down to the yard equipped with a silencer, while Jordi watches Aiden's back from his sniping spot.
While in the train yard, Aiden must help Jordi get a clear line of sight on each target. Aiden hacks into cranes and other objects to get them to move — moving a forklift out of the way, for example — so Jordi can take them out quickly and quietly. Aiden can also throw Lures to make the men move in any direction, bringing them into Jordi's line of fire. Or he can take them out himself, especially if they spot him — once they do, they'll call in reinforcements, making it more difficult for Aiden to clear the area.
This is how Aiden Pierce solves his problems.
Once the area is clear and Aiden find the boss, the fun begins: the inevitable hack. Aiden calls up a slew of information on the man writhing on the floor in front of him, crippled by a gunshot wound ito the thigh. Aiden taunts him — his name, his home address, all the information he knows and the cold cases he's attached to, rubbing all of it in his face.
This is how Aiden Pierce solves his problems: with the cold hard truth of knowledge.
The amount of personal information available on Watch Dogs' NPCs is astounding. Some of this will tie into the immediate missions, but more will blend into the overarching storyline of the game. For example, Aiden can use his sneaky cell phone hacking to preemptively shut down a crime about to happen, or determine a target who needs to be removed from the scene.
Taglines that appear below the names of people Aiden is checking out include everything from "suspected of human trafficking" to "frequently orders pizza" to "collects stamps." This is a healthy mix of the mundane and the sinister, allowing Ubisoft to paint a broader, more realistic picture of Chicago instead of focusing solely on the crime aspect. It's a subtle way to create a believable city filled with real people and show it's not just Aiden's playground.
In one case, these lines of information helped Aiden determine whether or not an area was safe to run through — a group of guards appeared in a gated area in which Aiden was searching for information. But these guards' had some less-than-exemplary descriptions attached to them, found through Aiden's hacking, so he decided to stick to the area's rooftops and avoid coming up against these strange guards altogether.
Players will also get a chance to fiddle with stealth and information tactics in the game's multiplayer mode, of which Guay said Ubisoft is not entirely done revealing. Guay said more multiplayer modes involving more players will be showed off as the game comes closer to its Nov. 19 launch.