The eleventh hour disappearance of the much-hyped Watch Dogs from November's next gen launch party sent shockwaves up and down the internet - Ubisoft's North American president Laurent Detoc has suggested that it could have been Xbox One's best-rated day one title, though he feels it'll be considerably better for releasing in 2014.
I remain to be convinced, myself. Watch Dogs is promisingly styled - gussied up in a flappy trenchcoat and baseball cap, and armed with a smartphone that can reprogram an entire city - but functionally, it could be just another open worlder with guns and cars. Will the game prove a genuine departure for Ubisoft Montreal, or is it Assassin's Creed 2.0? I spoke to producer Dominic Guay for more. For clarity, the interview below took place before the delay announcement, so certain details may be out of date.
We've heard a lot about Aiden Pearce, but we haven't heard as much about the other characters in Watch Dogs - for instance, the woman holding the smartphone in the screenshots. Can you reveal anything about them?
So you're playing as Aiden, he is your avatar, but there is a large cast of characters that you will be crossing paths with that are going to be either allies or enemies or acquaintances that are going to have a big role to play in the storyline.
The character you're talking about is Clara, Clara Lille, and she is someone who's going to become an ally to Aiden Pearce over the course of the game and so for us... we haven't communicated too much on the story but one of the things that's really interesting for us is seeing how those characters that are all shades of grey interact with one another, and building our stories along that path.
So Clara is someone who has been involved in hacking a lot and so obviously her skills are useful to Aiden, but she also has her own past, her own storyline, and those are things you're going to be able to explore and discover as you play through the game.
You appear to be courting fan speculation with your marketing tactics - putting out details without too much context. Is it tempting to build theories inspired by the teasers back into your game, or is that simply not practical?
That's an interesting question actually; I wouldn't say we do it necessarily [react] to how people see the game, but I think it would be fair to say that since we started communicating on this game at E3 2012, we were and are listening to how people react to what we've shown.
Obviously we know where we're going, but it's interesting to see sometimes what people like about the game, and how they've perceived certain things, so we can have some fun. We can... people think of a certain theory, we can make sure that that shows up in the game's storyline to a certain extent, but the reality is that the story for the game has been written and hasn't changed much since reveal.
And our characters - that's an interesting thing because when you're trying to make videogame characters that are shades of grey that aren't either absolutely good or evil or with more nuances in their personality, it's a challenge because we're used... back then moreso in the past but we're used to videogame characters who are dark and evil or good or have an agenda that's so obvious that it doesn't require as much work from developers to make that understandable and transfer that to the player.