Ubisoft gave the full details on Watch Dogs' multiplayer in a new blog post. The developers envision the online experience as an extension of the campaign rather than a walled-off part of the game.
"It’s not multiplayer as we typically know it," Ubisoft's Gary Steinman said on UbiBlog. "It’s not about lobbies and leaderboards. It’s not a separate experience, segmented off from the single-player campaign. It’s a fully integrated way to enjoy online gameplay with other people, while remaining immersed in your own version of Watch Dogs’ Chicago."
There are several different ways that you can interact with other players. The first, Intrusion, is the head-to-head hacking seen in the first multiplayer video. One player sneaks up on another and tries to hack into their information. His opponent tries to find him and kill him before the hack is complete. There's also a lower-risk option called Tailing. In that scenario, one player follows another to gather information. This is less rewarding than an Intrusion but the other player won't be notified so there's less of a chance of a violent encounter.
You're always Aiden Pearce whether you're in single-player or multiplayer. It's not as easy to spot another player as you think, though. While you always appear as Aiden to yourself, other players will have randomized appearances.
You'll gain or lose Notoriety depending on whether you succeed or fail in multiplayer. The higher your Notoriety gets, the more skills you can unlock. This statistic also determines your ranking in the leaderboard.
The free mobile app for Watch Dogs offers another head-to-head challenge. The player with the mobile device views the city map from a top-down perspective. They can command police helicopters and cop cars along with any other hackable electronics in the city. The player in Watch Dogs will try to drive through a number of checkpoints before the time limit runs out while the mobile player tries to stop them.
Watch Dogs' also offers group multiplayer experiences. In Decryption, a team of four players tries to steal data from the other team and then decrypt it. The decrypting process takes a long time and can be interrupted by the enemy team if they're too close. This process is sped up if several teammates are close to each other. The result is one team fleeing together while enemies try to hunt them down and recover the data. This whole cat-and-mouse game takes place in the normal open-world of the game. Decryption, along with the mobile app and Intrusion mode, can be seen in a gameplay video from earlier this week.
The game also lets you test your driving skills against other players. Players can choose from a series of predetermined tracks and race each other.
The last type of multiplayer for the game is a free-roam mode. This is less structured than the game's other multiplayer. The idea is just to mess around with your friends.
“We give the city to the players and it’s all about building your own rules. It’s unstructured," lead gameplay designer Danny Belanger said in the blog post. "You could jump in with a bunch of friends and just have fun with the city and the hacks and the systems."
Ubisoft reiterated their earlier claim that multiplayer is optional. You can turn it off completely if you want. The game also has measures to keep the online play as convenient as possible for you. Multiplayer will be suspended during certain parts of the game like story-driven missions. Furthermore, if you don't play multiplayer very often, you'll build up a shield to make it less likely for players to hack you.