DualShock 4 Touchpad Features Hinted
Though Ubisoft promises that the core Watch_Dogs gameplay experience will be identical regardless of platform, Ubisoft have revealed that the next-gen version will pack more than just prettier visuals. The simulation itself will be more realistic, allowing for advanced weather effects and fluid modelling.
"I think the good part is that it’s a very scalable game," Watch_Dogs lead game designer Danny Belanger told Dealspwn.com at a recent preview event. "It’s very systemic, we can add a lot of depth. Meaning the simulation can be much better. I mean: the people, the traffic, all that."
In terms of the simulation, Watch_Dogs' PS4 version will feature a dynamic wind system that factors in ambient weather, moving objects, city topography and other factors, creating detailed maps of air pressure eddies and currents rather than just a blowing in a single direction. This won't just affect environmental flourishes like loose objects, particles and trees, but also dynamically governs ripples and waves on bodies of water. Not only should this add another powerful sense of immersion to the proceedings, but will naturally hugely alter how boats handle depending on the weather conditions. "It’s really next-gen because it’s a simulation that the current generation doesn’t have the processing power to do yet," Belanger gushed.
We assume that the PC version will pack similar enhancements (since the live code we were shown was running on a PC emulating PS4 hardware), but in terms of the console versions, we can expect a significant upgrade.
Connectivity plays a major role in Watch_Dogs and will also be bolstered by the PS4's social functionality. "For us, what we’re really pushing is connectivity," Belanger continued. "Connecting inside the game, connecting with people outside of the game, so the fact that you can play across platforms and across devices will be much better. Especially in the next-gen, it’s actually one of the core values on the next PlayStation. It’s very good for us because we align on that subject, so social components will be really really interesting."
Watch_Dogs cinematic animation lead Lars Bonde told Dealspwn.com that next-gen development actually lead to new features being implemented and scaled onto the current-gen versions. "Ubisoft said, 'you know what? There's no limit, let's get as far as we can.' From that, you get the same story, same gameplay experience and same vision, but of course the tech is pushing certain things further," he explained.
"We can talk about density. We can talk about the amount of animations it allows us to do. We can talk about making scenes look better because of the lighting we can do. But even then, we've developed systems that literally optimise current-gen as well. There's a bit of back and forth benefiting both [generations]. But changing the game in itself? At its core? It should be the same experience. It wouldn't be fair to everyone if not."
Ubisoft are also looking into ways to use the PS4's touchpad in-game. "I don't know if you noticed, but we played on the PS4 controller where there is a touchpad," Bonde continued. "We're looking at how to integrate that, how does that become part of Watch_Dogs?"
Watch_Dogs is out on November 22nd on all current-gen consoles and PC, while it's also slated as a PS4 launch title. You can read our preview for more details, or stay tuned for two interviews over the next 24 hours.