One of the more iconic gameplay moments to come out of this year’s E3 has been the gun-toting granny running around Watch Dogs Legion’s London laying out enemies with a stun gun. It turns out that stun gun isn’t just a novelty; half of Legion’s weapons will be non-lethal, according to the game’s creative director.
Speaking to Twinfinite, Clint Hocking revealed that giving the player the option to take down enemies non-lethally in almost any situation was a priority for the team, saying, “We wanted to make sure that non-lethal was an option in any combat encounter.”
Often when games implement non-lethal weapons, combat situations become wildly unbalanced. Non-lethal runs are an additional challenge, sort of like speedrunning, as players have to rely on stealth to take out hordes of enemies with machine guns. Players have to go the extra mile to knock enemies out and try not to murder them. Watch Dogs 2 allowed you to complete the game non-lethally, but it fell into this same trap. You had limited tools to use to play that way.
Watch Dogs Legion may have the solution to that as well.
“If you don’t pull out guns, the enemies won’t pull out guns – in most cases,” Hocking told Twinfinite.
Instead, enemies are going to attempt to arrest or subdue you as long as you don’t try to use lethal force against them first. That ties into Legion’s core system of having multiple playable characters, as captured team members are going to need rescuing by another character before you can use them.
It’s also a smart solution to a potential narrative problem. Some players found it odd that in previous Watch Dogs games, you played as a hacker who was inexplicably willing to murder with reckless abandon. It would be even stranger in Watch Dogs Legion to recruit a random bartender or lawyer to then instantly turn them into a trigger-happy mass murderer.
According to Hocking, about half of Legion’s weapons are non-lethal, and the game also has a fleshed-out melee combat system. However, that may not mean that every encounter has a non-lethal route. Hocking mentioned he’s not sure that it’s going to be possible to complete the entire game without killing anyone whether that means that you’ll eventually have to kill specific bosses to proceed or something else remains unclear.