Ubisoft unveils Watch Dogs Legion’s post-Brexit London

Watch Dogs Legion

Ubisoft officially announced Watch Dogs Legion at its E3 press conference and, as we predicted, it will be set in a post-Brexit London riven by riots, bombs and authoritarianism.

The French publisher said: “Watch Dogs: Legion is coming March 6, 2020, and it’s dropping players into a near-future London where anyone can be recruited to fight back against a new wave of authoritarianism. Coming to PS4, Xbox One, PC, and the Stadia gaming platform, Watch Dogs: Legion challenges you to push back against criminals, a corrupt private military corporation, and an oppressive surveillance state amidst a collapsed government by building a resistance from the downtrodden citizens around you.”

As the pre-E3 leak of the game suggested, Watch Dogs Legion will have a unique gameplay mechanic: the ability to recruit pretty much any non-player character to the franchise’s hacker organisation DedSec (now effectively operating as a resistance movement) and then take control of them. Ubisoft explained: “The characters you’ll meet roaming around London aren’t randomly generated; instead, each has a persistent schedule and backstory, as well as special traits you can leverage to help your cause using the Play as Anyone feature.

“By helping characters and improving their opinion of hacker group DedSec, you can persuade them to join – and once they do, you’ll be able to take full control of them. You’ll also shape them into effective operatives – tough Enforcers, sneaky Infiltrators, or drone-controlling Hackers – and add them to a team with diverse skills and backgrounds, whose members you can switch between at any time.”

Ubisoft continued: “London’s citizens are all fully voiced, and whether you’re playing as an elderly pensioner or a tough-as-nails boxer, the game’s cutscenes will change to reflect your character’s presence and personality. Your choices also have an effect on the world around you; put up your fists instead of drawing a gun, for example, and your enemies will attempt to arrest or take you down non-lethally. But if you draw a gun – even a nonlethal one – they’ll do likewise, and the confrontation could end with your character permanently killed.”

Ubisoft added that gamers will be able to play through Watch Dogs Legion in up to four-player co-op, “With shared progression whether they’re playing solo or online.” And it said that there will be no fewer than four versions of the game. Alongside the base Standard Edition, you will be able to buy the Gold Edition, “Including the base game, Season Pass (including the Not In Our Name story mission, available at launch), and three-day early access.”

The Ultimate Edition will contain: “The base game, Season Pass, early access, and Ultimate digital content including the Urban Jungle Pack (with three new characters, along with their masks and outfits) and four weeks of VIP status, which earns experience and currency more quickly.” While the Collector’s Edition, “Exclusive to the Ubisoft Store, includes everything in the Ultimate Edition as well as an LED Ded Coronet Mask Replica, a Steelbook case, three exclusive stickers, and a recto-verso propaganda poster, as well as instant access to an in-game version of the Ded Coronet mask.”

The PC version of Watch Dogs Legion will support nVidia’s ray-tracing graphics technology, and if the hard-Brexiters currently vying to take over from Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister manage to achieve their stated aim of a no-deal exit from the EU in October 2019, we may find that when Watch Dogs Legion arrives on March 6, 2020, it will feel less like a fantasy and more like a blueprint for street-level action. For more information, keep an eye on Ubisoft’s website.