"big, big, big install base" hungry for games. That already big install base is even bigger as we're at the "end of a long cycle" of consoles.
Senior producer Dominic Guay also remarks it "looks great" on PC too, which helps. The team started with "fake console target hardware", which meant they did "early R&D into next-gen on a PC".
The Watch Dogs team have naturally reworked the UI and control schemes to fit the desktop environment, but Guay still prefers a controller because of car physics.
"There’s a lot of PC gamers. That’s the main reason, I guess," he told . "There’s a considerable amount of PC gamers who want to play games, and we want to give them games to play. And it’s not rare, especially at the end of a long cycle of consoles, that we see that there are even more people playing on their PC."
"There’s typically a cycle there, and we know the stats on that—it’s not necessarily a surprising thing. So I think that’s the core idea, and there’s a big, big, big install base on PC," he continued. "And plus, the game looks great on PC."
The next generation platforms hadn't been unveiled before Watch Dogs was being worked on so the development team 'made up' their own hardware specs to work toward. "...we kind of built our own fake console target hardware that was a PC, and that’s what we started working on," said Guay. "For years, that’s what we were basing our technology, and pushing our technology on. So, we did most of our early R&D into next-gen on a PC anyway."
"So controls have to be specific, and interfaces also need control—if you’re going to use a mouse and keyboard you don’t want to have those huge buttons, you want to have something that’s going to be more precise."
"There’s that, obviously, plus all the configuration options you need on there, not having fixed hardware."
Will Ubisoft going a step further and supporting mods? "Not officially. I mean, we’re not shipping with tools to mod the game in itself. I’m sure some crafty people might figure some things out, but no, it’s not something that we’re going for. We’re a new IP, first iteration, so we have to pick our battles. So, we’re not going to ship with a modding toolset."
The Ubisoft studio is definitely keen to explore DLC ideas thanks to the Chicago they've built.
"We’re looking at two different things—we’re interested, because we have built this huge, dense city with lots of things to do in it, and we’ve actually not been able to use every cool area in the city in this game. So, we figure there’s possibilities to create cool new stories in that world. So that’s something we’re looking at—not necessarily working on, because we’re dedicated to shipping this game—but it’s something we think we could work on," he explained.
"One other layer that we’re interested in exploring is, ‘What other types of gameplay could we do in that city?’ So, kind of looking at ways we could provide additional gameplay experiences that are not just more missions, but really something different, reusing that big sandbox we created, and reusing that technology. So maybe more of a bite sized new chunk of gameplay that we’re able to make available after the launch."
Watch Dogs releases on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 November 19th in the US, 22nd in EU.
Watch Dogs on PC because of "big, big, big install base" - "not officially" moddable
22 August 2013 | By Simon Priest