A BBC reporter travelled to Ubisoft's Toronto studio to interview the chief developer of Watch Dogs: Legion, but rather than sit down with him in a coffee shop, a boardroom or a hotel lobby, he interviewed him inside the game.
For a very extra interview, BBC reporter Mark Cieslak got all mo-cap suited up to have a conversation inside Watch Dogs Legion's virtual city of London with the game's creative director, Clint Hocking (you know, instead of using Discord or some sort of in-game chat function). This isn't the sort of "oh look at our cool tech" interview that I expected however, as the pair discuss the culture of a game set in dystopian Britain, and the responsibility of depicting real-life events like Brexit in games.
If you'd like to see more interviews with cool people done inside games (with players, rather than for PR stunts), Brendan did an excellent series called Ridealong. An especially good one is where he introduces a real comedian to Comedy Night, and he does it without all that silly motion-capture suit business too.
Obviously, it's a challenge Ubisoft didn't shirk away from and it has to be said - the Watch Dogs: Legion version of Piccadilly Circus is looking absolutely splendid. In fact, the prospect of seeing more developers giving interviews from their own games, while strolling around in-game worlds, is an incredibly attractive one.
The message of the game is compelling, as it means that any ordinary person can rise up and make a difference when society falls apart to fascism. The capability to recruit anyone off the street gives you some incredible freedom to take risks as you infiltrate and hack your way inside of Albion and its allies.
BBC Click's Marc Cieslak went through the motion capture process and Ubisoft recreated him inside Watch Dogs: Legion and then also recreated the director Clint Hocking. They discussed a couple of questions including the use of the whole Brexit situation for the game's story.
Typically, the closer a game gets to shipping, the less of a role the creative director has. Now that you're inside of a year before Legion launches, how has your role evolved? Are you starting to come off the reins a little bit now, or is it still, head down, full steam?
A year and a half ago, before we brought in Kent Hudson to be the game design director, I was effectively the game director as well. Once we brought Kent in, the very early conversations were like, "Look, a year from now, I'm not going to be even on the floor half the time. I'll literally be out of the building in some other country, or meeting with partners, or at a show somewhere." And that's an important part of my job.
The journalist paid a visit to Ubisoft in order to speak with creative director Clint Hocking, but in a brilliant twist, the pair carried out the interview inside the upcoming sequel. Cieslak and Hocking, after both undergoing preparations for full performance capture, have a brief conversation about the game while appearing to be on Legion's near-future London streets. It's pretty cool -- check it out above.
According to the BBC, it's a world first, and we can't remember another example of this. It's an interesting idea, though, and we'd expect this sort of thing to occur more often -- especially now the idea is out there. In terms of information from the interview, there's nothing we don't know already. It's just novel to see a serious interview taking place from within the game. 2b1af7f3a8