Ubisoft shared more details on Watch Dogs' reputation system in a post on the Ubi Blog today, in which players can gauge how the citizens of Chicago feel about protagonist Aiden pierce — is he a guardian angels to unseen dangers, or a menace to all?
Chicago residents have their own feelings on how Aiden manipulates the city's information system, hacking street lights and cameras and tapping into others' personal devices. Both their positive and negative feelings with affect Aiden's reputation meter, which fluctuates in either direction depending upon the care or reckless abandon with which he uses his hacking skills.
According to lead writer Kevin Shortt, if Aiden has a positive reputation, the media will be more willing to look the other way when he does commits a crime like stealing a car. Allies won't treat him differently and he'll have easier access to more areas of the city if people trust in his goodness — even if he does something bad.
"The media will still report on you, but maybe not in such a negative tone,” he said. “It will be more questioning. Is he a good guy? Is he a hero? Is he a terrorist? They are going to start raising these kinds of questions.
"The reputation system isn’t really a good-versus-bad kind of system," he added. "We really wanted it to just be the citizens reflecting back on you and what you’re doing so that you think about it more. The game doesn’t suddenly tilt one way if you get a bad reputation. It doesn’t make it exponentially harder. It should just make you consider your actions and what you’re doing.”
Should players decide to spend a day or two ruining people's lives and breaking things, there will be ways for Aiden to make up for the harm he's done and better his reputation. Lead gameplay designer Danny Belanger explained that citizens will be more wary of Aiden should he go on a naughty spree, but that doesn't mean there isn't a way to make them come over to his side once more.
“If you’re seen as a really good guy and you start shooting cops, the meter is going to go down pretty fast," he said. "If you do the crime detection a lot and you save people to redeem yourself, your reputation will go back up, but you have to work for it. It will take some time and good deeds.”
Players will also find themselves in situations in which no one is watching, and will have to make decisions while suspended in this moral gray area. Actions like quietly stealing one person's money won't have an effect on the reputation meter, but it leaves players to figure out for themselves whether their Aiden is a crook or a good-natured vigilante.
Watch Dogs is set to be released on May 27. For more details on the numerous versions available and how to get the most content for the least amount of money, check out our story on gaming the special edition system.