Ubisoft has been promising an extraordinary level of next-gen features in its upcoming action-adventure game, Watch Dogs. And that’s exactly why the company postponed the release date, to ensure every aspect of the game came out as it was initially intended. One of these reasons was the fact that Chicago wasn’t ready yet. More, the citizens’ mobility and reaction levels needed further mapping. Animation Director Colin Graham and his team used the additional time to solve this “big data problem” and create advanced rules to realistically organize citizens all over the city. But the ultimate living city concept couldn’t be achieved without proper mapping and a complete simulation, as Graham explained:
You have to think about it like a big data problem. We had to create certain rules about where to put people. (…) That’s the next-gen approach to creating a living city. It’s all simulated.
But action and mobility are not the only concerns. Reaction is also important and no less crucial in the creation of a virtual city. In Watch Dogs, citizens will have a programmed consciousness to react to players’ commands. But it only becomes more complex. In scenarios where there are multiple incidents happening simultaneous, people will react differently, explained Graham:
If you pull out your gun, what level of reaction do they go to then? Some people will react to your gun and others will react to the people that are panicking. They haven’t seen you. They don’t know what’s causing it. But they do know something’s up.
Furthermore, if Aiden Pearce is seen in action during criminal events, it will most likely decrease his reputation among civilians and the media. People will believe what they see. So, even if players’ intentions are the best, the result might not be accordingly.