Watch Dogs’ reputation system represents a reflection of Chicago’s collective attitudes towards Aiden’s actions as opposed to a standard good/evil indicator, according to a recent post on the Ubiblog.
“The reputation system isn’t really a good-versus-bad kind of system,” writer Kevin Shortt pointed out. “We really wanted it to just be the citizens reflecting back on you and what you’re doing so that you think about it more. The game doesn’t suddenly tilt one way if you get a bad reputation. It doesn’t make it exponentially harder. It should just make you consider your actions and what you’re doing.”
The example given is car theft. With negative reputation, Aiden’s attempts to steal a car might result in a citizen calling the cops on him. But if his vigilantism is viewed favorably, as a community service and Aiden a champion of the people, said citizen may just turn a blind eye. The reputation system is never meant to be a form of punishment or reward, but rather an organic response to player behavior that’s constantly in flow.
If, say, a player drifts from good rep to bad by performing a few unsavory acts, they can still win back the Chicagoans’ trust by committing good deeds, such as crime detection—but they’ll have to work for it and put more effort into repairing their reputation than they did sullying it.
Complementing the reputation system are scenarios that present moral grays, like a citizen with an unsecure bank account—a temptation for the hacker, since it means easy, free money—but that information gleaned about that person might reveal they are a teacher who does charity work and, as a teacher, is paid pretty poorly. The game never passes judgment on the player one way or the other, depending on what they choose to do (or not do). No consequence, no impact on reputation, but instead how you see yourself and what you bring to the game emotionally on your own.
Watch Dogs launches across Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360 in just under two weeks, on May 27, worldwide. The Wii U version will follow later this year.