This week I talked to Ross Zevenhuizen, a friend, collaborator on Good Robot, and one of the developers of Watch Dogs Legion. We didn’t make it clear at the top of the show, but Ross is under some annoying NDA restrictions that prevents him from speaking freely about the development process. We were able to talk openly about our mistakes and regrets in Good Robot, but this is an Ubisoft game and we’re obliged to play by Ubisoft’s rules.
Hosts: Ross, Shamus, and secretly also Paul. Episode edited by Issac.
00:00 Welcome Ross
I do think we need to have Ross back to talk about his other projects and Unity development in general.
02:31 Ross is credited as “Level designer”
Not sure why they don’t just create the job title “Mission Designer”.
08:45 The Three Pillars
Combat, stealth, and hacking. There’s also car driving, some multiplayer stuff, and eighty metric tons of collectibles on the map, but combat, stealth, and hacking are the meat of the game.
13:56 Why was the Daybreak storyline the only one to end with a choice?
The best (and most vividly Cyberpunk) story in the game was the shortest, and the only one to end with a choice. It kinda felt like a classic BioWare-style RPG for a few minutes.
28:59 Working on indie scale vs AAA.
33:05 Are these characters randomly generated, or pulled from a prefab list?
They’re random. Ross talks a bit about how they’re generated.
36:07 Amazing recruits
40:01 Recruits wear their default clothes around the base. Was that a technical limitation, or a design choice?
It really is disappointing and confusing.
41:56 The problems of repeating missions.
Not so much a problem for me, but some people report doing the same mission several times. Have I been lucky or were they unlucky?
46:41 The problems / challenges with trying to make London “Cyberpunk”.
C’mon, Ubi! The premise is Cyberpunk. Embrace it. This “real world” looking stuff is for those squares a Rockstar. Make up a fake city and go crazy!
54:40 The tone
I’ve always wondered about this. Ross gives some hints about how AAA games can sometimes feel a little disjointed. It turns out this studio has WAY less top-down structure than I ever would have guessed.
Best. Plot Twist. Ever.
Few people remember BioWare's Jade Empire, but it had a unique setting and a really well-executed plot twist.
Good to be the King?
Which would you rather be: A king in the middle ages, or a lower-income laborer in the 21st century?
The Brilliance of Mass Effect
What is "Domino Worldbuilding" and how did it help to make Mass Effect one of the most interesting settings in modern RPGs?
The Truth About Piracy
What are publishers doing to fight piracy and why is it all wrong?
A game I love. It has a solid main story and a couple of really obnoxious, cringy, incoherent side-plots in it. What happened here?