Watch Dogs creative director on PS4: “The strategies used by Sony are very smart”

Watch Dogs PS4 screens

Update: read our Watch Dogs PS4 preview

During our recent trip to see Aiden Pearce’s open-world actioner, we got the chance to interview the game’s creative director Jonathan Morin, who talks about the PS4 version of Watch Dogs, GTA 5 and how Sony’s next-gen vision is closely tied to Ubisoft’s.

Watch Dogs on PS4

When we asked Morin about what his team could achieve in Watch Dogs on PS4 compared to the PS3 version he said: “It’s magnified. There’s a lot of simulation in there that can’t be done on current-gen, like the wind system. It makes everything feel coherent, when creating the dynamic of the atmosphere, which is something that can take quite a lot of juice. It makes a huge difference to your impression of how everything correlates with each other.”

Watch Dogs PS4 screens“On current-gen, we’d have to do one of those typical ‘here’s wind!’ type of illusions,” says Morin. “But that’s not as sophisticated as what we’re doing on PS4. The overall rendering and graphics are obviously a lot better, too. There are also more civilians in the city.”

Morin and the rest of his team at Ubisoft Montreal have also found the leap to PS4 pleasingly smooth. “The transition is very cool. Our programmers were extremely happy that’s its very similar to develop for as PC. The strategies that have been used by Sony are very smart from a developer standpoint and we really appreciate that.” 

“I also appreciate Sony’s vision of what the future of gaming can be. We spent four years working on Watch Dogs based on simple questions like ‘what do we want games to become?’ or ‘how do we interact with each other while we’re playing?’ When we showed that vision to Sony, it ended up understanding us right away, because we were pretty much in line with its own perception of where gaming should go.”

“Watch Dogs’ tone is very different, and maybe a bit more serious, than you’d find in a GTA game”

And what of the GTA-shaped Dumbo in the corner? Well, Morin is very aware of the landmark crime series, but says there is plenty of space in the market for both open-world games. “Rockstar is a great developer,” he says. “I’m excited to play GTA 5. But we’re doing our own thing. We shouldn’t look at our neighbours and react according to what they did. It’s like watching a movie shot in New York and saying ‘oh god, that’s what a movie in New York should be! You should never shoot another movie in New York.’ I love Rockstar’s games, but GTA is more about the nostalgia of the American Dream, which is very cool.”

“It’s about the crime life, but we’re much more about the modern critique of the evolution of human beings vs their technology,” Morin continues. “We’re not focused on criminality, rather on this ambiguity of vigilantism. It’s a very different, and maybe a bit more serious, tone than you’d find in a GTA game. But I think they’re equally interesting and people can enjoy both.”