Q&A

Jonathan Morin Cre­ative di­rec­tor

EDGE - - WATCH DOGS -

What ef­fect did bro­ken sys­tems have on the game you were about to ship in Novem­ber?

There were some ar­eas or mis­sions where the wires con­nected in the wrong way. And it’s not re­ally the mis­sion it­self, it’s the emer­gence it can cre­ate. So once you have cops show­ing up in a cer­tain sit­u­a­tion with this and with that on top of it, and it starts get­ting out of con­trol in a good way, it kind of col­lapsed. In cer­tain com­bi­na­tions, the AI didn’t re­act at the level of qual­ity we wanted.

Are you cer­tain the fi­nal game will be rid of those bugs?

I’m sure in the end we’ll find YouTu­bers who, you know, find such ex­am­ples… and it’s ar­guably all part of the fun to find the lim­i­ta­tion of sys­tems. But since we’ve sold pre­cisely that [high level of ex­pe­ri­ence to play­ers], there’s a level you need to achieve. If you do a car crash, it needs to feel like a car crash, not a Burnout ver­sion of it. You don’t want to cheat so much to make it pos­si­ble that it be­comes car­toony.

What makes the fo­cus on re­al­ism and giv­ing ev­ery­one a story worth­while?

We’re re­ally good at the awe­some car crash in videogames, but not the “Oh my gosh, is he all right?” af­ter­wards. We put ‘Combo x2’ next to a car crash and we don’t even think about the poor per­son be­hind the wheel. So when we started to de­fine a se­ri­ous tone as a pil­lar, it im­pacted ev­ery­thing. If there’s some­one hurt, you can get them out. If there’s a car crash, it means some­thing for the people in­side. If you take cover be­hind their car and they get shot, it’s your fault, be­cause you took cover be­hind that par­tic­u­lar car. But we don’t go in a judge­men­tal di­rec­tion be­cause of the se­ri­ous tone. I’m not in­ter­ested in hav­ing a game that says to you that steal­ing from a poor per­son is worse than if you stole from a crim­i­nal.

What’s the big­gest dif­fer­ence about build­ing for new con­soles from scratch, rather than the older sys­tems?

I think the distinc­tion is the amount of dif­fer­ent AI re­ac­tions. And when ac­tu­ally look­ing at the data, it wasn’t that good, be­cause it’s in the pol­ish phase you can re­ally deliver the full sys­tem. The ex­tra time gave us the lux­ury of ex­e­cut­ing it well, which is a lot harder. Back in Novem­ber, people could have ap­pre­ci­ated that we’d tried it, but we didn’t want that. We wanted people to just en­joy the sys­tems with­out think­ing about them.

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