Tag Archives: Watch Dogs 2

Feature | Interview with Watch Dogs 2 Shawn Baichoo ‘The Wrench’

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Shawn Baichoo is the pop-culture enthusiast that the masked anarchist ‘Wrench’ was practically made for as we recently had the chance to interview Shawn about his widely popular character from the highly acclaimed Watch Dogs 2 (and occasionally nerd out to games).

Known for a lot of his voice and motion capture work with Ubisoft in various games such as Assassin’s Creed 2 (2009), Watch Dogs (2014), and Tom Clancy’s The Division (2016), Shawn was also the motion capture take-down artist in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (2016) for Adam Jensen and also voiced the lead protagonist in Outlast (2013) and the second installment Outlast 2 (2017).

What was it that guided you in the direction of voice and motion capture work as a career?

When I was in theatre school, an actor came down to do a talk with us and he told us this great mantra that I really try to live my life by, especially in my career which is, “luck is merely preparedness meets opportunity.” The preparedness for me is learn your craft, be professional, be on time, be a good person to work with and pursue your passions. I tell people and actors who want to get into this line of work – whatever you’re doing, keep doing it, keeping loving it because one day your opportunity will come and you’ll be ready for it.  Now, voice acting is not the main state of what I do but it’s part of my craft as a bigger picture. I tend to diversify a lot as an actor and do as much as I can. I have been involved in theatre, television, film, voice and motion capture work. Voice and Motion capture work was never really a goal of mine when I graduated from theatre school and when I imagined my career. So, when I thought about doing original voice work for animation, I thought it was something that I would love to do and wanted to work towards. Ubisoft, Eidos Montreal, Warner Brothers and a bunch of other bigger and smaller companies too like Red Barrel for example had offered me quite a lot of work in video games. Eventually I landed Niccolo Machiavelli from Assassins Creed 2. I was the take down choreographer in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided where I designed all the take-downs and I was the main character in Outlast. From thereon I started to do all sorts of different projects which all lead up to my role as Wrench.

tumblr_oekh71m9ml1th3lmro2_1280-1Shawn Baichoo & Wrench Credit Jeremy Bobrow

What was the process that eventually led to landing your role as Wrench?

I had actually worked on the first Watch Dogs – I helped with their casting of that game and I was also a reader helping cast Clara. I played a whole bunch of secondary roles in the baseball stadium and quite a few living world characters. When Watch Dogs 2 came around, Lars Bonde who was directing and in charge of the project asked me to play Wrench in a demo of the game called a vertical slice to demonstrate the gameplay, character and setting. So I did Wrench for that with the assumption I wouldn’t play the character. But to my great surprise I got a call two weeks later and was told they were keeping me on as Wrench because they really liked how I did with him. For me it’s really cool to think that the biggest part of my career arguably is one that came to me through a long series of interconnected events. I’m just happy to work. Most of the work I do for Ubisoft is living world or secondary characters and I love doing that but it’s nice to come out of that and do something bigger.

How much do you feel like you were able to inject your sensibilities into Wrench? Was there freedom to improvise?

Oh absolutely, they were very open to what I brought. In theatre school I was always the funny guy – comedy for me is something that comes quite easily. When it finally came to Wrench, it gave me the opportunity to not only be funny, but be as funny as I wanted to be. Wrench is very much a large percentage of me so the whole character aspect about who Wrench is and what he wants, his interactions with people and finding moments to show his humanity or approachability, it was both very liberating to play him but also very challenging because I had to focus a lot of that into these moments. The writers deserve a huge amount of credit because we got along well as a group and it shows in the game and even though some of the dialogue was improvised and re-purposed by the actors to give it our own twist, that was because the writers were encouraging us that it was just scaffolding tape and they wanted us to make it our own.

There was a scene where Marcus was talking to Sitara where Wrench sort of meanders over and in the script it says “The car is ready, it’s this way” and I could have just walked over and said “Hey Marcus the car is this way” but to me that’s not fun or faithful, so when we shot it I strolled up and put on this weird British accent and said “Sir! Your carriage awaits!” and did a bow with a après vou (after you) with my hand. Ruffin was terrific with improvising and reacting organically with all the weird things I threw at him in the heat of the moment, always keeping him on his toes. So when he saw me do that he bowed and put on a British accent and said “Why, thank you very much” and it made it into the game because that was so much more natural. I know one of the writers adjusted his writing style to fit more of who I was as an actor and as a person because he knew it would just fit better. He saw how much I was into pop-culture, and how geeky and expressive I was so instead of trying to work around that, he embraced that and gave me some cool material to work with.

I remember sitting at home reading my script and I would just be laughing out loud continuously just reading Wrench’s lines because they were so comical. I got excited like, “Oh, there’s an Arnold line, I can say that as Arnold!” and I love doing voices and impersonations and I’m also a huge Arnold Schwarzenegger fan – he was an action hero growing up, I love that guy. So we all kind of grew up in the same kind of pop-culture and when things like that would come up I would be so thrilled that I would get to play with this stuff.

Was it difficult to showcase emotion whilst doing the motion capture work for a character that wears a mask?

Wrench hides, he spends his whole time hiding behind a mask – it looks cool but really, why is he wearing it? So because he hides behind it he doesn’t have to deal with people, you don’t see his eyes and you can’t see how he is really feeling. Wrench puts up a filter by wearing a mask and also keeps him from getting facially recognized by any technology. The animators did a really good job making an expressionless character and I always thought that was a huge challenge in film, but not impossible. Darth Vader for example is supper expressive in the Star Wars franchise which is crazy because he has no moving parts on his helmet – but the body positioning of the actor, his underlying body language, even stillness is a great method to tell a story. Wrench has emoticons on his eyes which helped but I didn’t have any face covering when I was doing the motion-capture work so they used a camera to see what my expressions were to better fine tune my performance to translate to emoticons. I made a point of looking at people with my head as opposed to with my eyes, so I would turn my head when I spoke to people I had to keep in mind that I couldn’t play on any kind of subtlety. However, because I’m such a physical actor that to me wasn’t too bad of a challenge but it was something I had to be reminded of.

watch-dogs-2-gameplay-walkthrough-desktop-background-wallpaper-full-freeWatch Dogs 2 Wrench & Marcus Credit Ubisoft

Watch Dogs 1 is very dark, gritty and serious while Watch Dogs 2 is very far from that – so why do you think they decided to change directions?

My point of view is that Ubisoft from what I could tell, both as someone who works for them and also someone who consumes their products, I find that they’re really good at listening to the community, hearing feedback from the fans on what works and what doesn’t work and addressing those things. Watch Dogs 2 is a sign that the concept of Watch Dogs is really original and it didn’t quite live up to its potential. The concept of Watch Dogs 1, if you boil it down, it’s kind of a silly concept, so Watch Dogs 2 really embraces that silliness – everything is colourful and vibrant and everyone is an exaggeration, commenting on society and the zeitgeists of the moment that we live in. So with the first in the series they tried to bury the premise of the game instead of celebrating it. What I find is a lot of people compare Watch Dogs 2 to Assassin’s Creed 2. The first Assassin’s Creed had a brilliant concept, great design and setting but ultimately some repetitive gameplay and some aspects that weren’t very fleshed out and they fell short like the first Watch Dogs game. Then Assassin’s Creed 2 came out where they tweaked the right amount of things and gave the game its full potential. So I feel like Watch Dogs 2 had the same kind of journey – the first one was almost like a proof of concept.

maxresdefaultWatch Dogs 1 Aiden Pearce (Left) Watch Dogs 2 Marcus Holloway Credit Ubisoft

Do you feel like Watch Dogs 2’s character representation was a step in the right direction on the diversity front in the video game industry?

The first Watch Dogs suffered a bit from predictability, especially with the lead a lot of people say he was very flat. There are so many straight, white male protagonists and there is nothing wrong with that but there is nothing wrong with getting something new for once. It’s not like that trope exists because it’s the best possible way to tell a story – it’s one way to tell a story. Diversity is very key for me, so I love the fact that Marcus is a black man, but he’s not a trope nor is it tokenism. It never pushes that to the forefront and makes it what the game is about but it does address it which is important. Josh is on the spectrum as he has Asperger’s, but he isn’t a caricature on Asperger’s. Jonathan Dubsky (Voice & Motion Captured Josh) did a tonne of research, he is really committed to his craft and didn’t turn it up to 11 because he wanted an award; he treated the role with respect.

There were so many dynamic relationships in the game between the Dedsec crew. Were they the same off screen?

Yes, but to a certain degree the relationships on screen were not necessary the same off screen only because we all got along better as people than the actual tensions that existed within the (Dedsec) group. Everyone I worked with had a terrific sense of play which is a willingness to offer up choices, be vulnerable and even take direction or suggestion from other actors. There were some tensions between Josh and Wrench, which Jonathan and I worked out while filming that Josh doesn’t like to be touched and Wrench knows this so he touches Josh at every given opportunity to bug him. There’s a scene where we’re on the rooftop and I bring in a bunch of beers to people and you can see my right hand slowly going up to Josh’s face and he pulls away and slaps my hand away. When we delve into deeper reasons and motivations I worked out that Wrench feels a bit threatened by Josh.

Wrench doesn’t have Sitara’s PR outlook or Marcus’s athletic ability or savvy in the field. Wrench thinks maybe he is not as indispensible as he thinks. I mean it’s not true because Dedsec loves him but Wrench is human and everybody has their insecurities. Characters for me aren’t interesting if they’re not flawed – if someone is a perfect hero that can do no wrong, that’s boring to me and ultimately no one can relate to that.

wd2-castShawn Baichoo (Wrench), Ruffin Prentiss (Marcus), Jonathan Dubsky (Josh), Tasya Teles (Sitara), John Tench (T-Bone) Credit Shawn Baichoo

John Tench (Raymond Kenney) and I automatically got along because we worked on the first Watch Dogs together and did a scene together in the Bad Blood DLC. T-Bone and Wrench also had a really big animosity between each other because Wrench felt like he was invading his space, but once Wrench figures out who T-Bone is as a person they do get along and they have a great friendship. In real life all of us were super tight; we had a lot of good times. Jonathan Dubsky just loves to laugh, Ruffin and I played up a sexual tension to a point where a lot of fans were shipping them together which is a reflection of how comfortable Ruffin and I are with each other. From Tasya Teles (Sitara) to Michael Xavier (Horatio) who were all amazing, all these dynamics were forged by the time I had spent with all the actors and because it was encouraged in the game.

If you want to learn more about Shawn and the project’s he has been involved in then head on over to his website http://www.shawnbaichoo.com. Be sure to follow him at @ShawnBaichoo on Twitter.

 

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Ubisoft Potentially Planted Sci-Fi Game Trailer in Watch Dogs 2?

 

In Ubisoft’s latest Watch Dogs title which releases November 15, a NeoGaf user FlammableAce who found the trailer commented, “This wasn’t a main story mission, It was a side mission that opened up after I stumbled upon a guy on the phone who happened to be a Ubisoft employee talking about Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Unity and ‘Osiris’ leaks.”

The footage in the video states that the title had been revealed at E3 behind closed doors, as we can see watermarks stating that it’s confidential and is a piece of E3 media which is outlined at the bottom of the screen (E3_Conf_Video_v03). As we see the video begin inside the Ubisoft building, the point of view hacks and navigates its way through several cameras situated in the office which finally makes its way to a Ubisoft employees PC that is playing the trailer.

The trailer reveals a space exploration typed game coupled with western music that gives off a very No Man Sky vibe with its familiar colour palettes but also mimicking the new Read Dead Redemption 2 reveal trailer as it shows off scenery and vistas as opposed to characters. Some media outlets are claiming that Ubisoft is poking fun at No Man Sky developers.

A supposed ex-Ubisoft developer posted on forum NeoGAF that he, “knew very little about it just before [he] left Ubi over two years ago and never actually saw any in-game stuff. Pretty sure it’s real, like I said, I only heard rumblings of a big space game as they keep stuff on tight lockdown even between studios, so my knowledge ends at that sadly.”

At the end of the trailer where the stream is interrupted due to a connection failure, we cut to the main protagonist Marcus Holloway who is speaking to fellow DedSec friends where they make comments like, “I can see the headlines now, ‘New Trailer Sucks’, ‘New Trailer Kicks Ass’, ‘New Trailer is Okay.’”

Marcus proceeds to leak the unannounced title which could be interpreted as a joke as Watch Dogs 2 had been leaked several times just as many upcoming titles in the past have been, such as the concept for For Honor, the next placement setting for the next Assassin’s Creed title Assassin’s Creed: Empire and many titles in the industry.

Leaks have almost become the norm in the video game industry with very few companies being able to keep a lid on upcoming titles unless you are Hideo Kojima who was able to keep under wraps Death Stranding or Rockstar Games with Red Dead Redemption 2. A more recent example of a leak and or rumour was when someone was seen on the Montreal subway working on a PowerPoint presentation with the title of the upcoming Tomb Raider visible on the top right hand corner.

So is Ubisoft trying to control the announcement of this new sci-fi title? Could this potentially be a mini-game in Watch Dogs 2 or is it just a regular side mission?

Another studio to do something similar was when Guerrilla Games left a Horizon Zero Dawn Easter egg in Killzone: Shadowfall back when the project was still a mere rumour.

 

This isn’t the first time Ubisoft created a fictional Ubisoft Studio in one of their titles as Tom Clancy’s: The Division had a studio which was converted into a safe house in the heart of New York. Massive Ubisoft Banners with Grow Home murals and For Honor posters can be found along the back wall of the office space. It’s safe to assume that Ubisoft was attempting to be meta whilst promoting previous and upcoming titles.

Watch Dogs 2 released: November 15 2016 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and November 29 for PC.

So what’s your take on all of this?

Do you think it’s a real trailer? Or is Ubisoft just poking fun at itself? Let us know in the comments below.

To view the original article click on The Gamer Duck link here

Q&A Interview | Watch Dogs 2 Jonathan Dubsky Talks Josh, Character Development & Dedsec Crew

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Watch Dogs 2 Josh Credit Ubisoft

Actors involved in video games are what bring our most beloved characters and stories to life. As they inject their personalities, sensibilities and passion into their craft, we see a fictional character transform into something lifelike and relatable, which is one of the key elements in making a video game captivating and immersive.

With the release of Watch Dogs 2 on November 15 for consoles and November 29 for PC’s, it’s been received very positively. Players have all come to know and love the whole array of talented actors who have brought to life the band of Dedsec protagonists. Amongst our hacker heroes was Jonathan Dubsky who voiced and motion-captured Josh.

Dubsky is a relative newcomer to acting in the video game scene, predominantly focusing his efforts in television, film and also film-making. We spoke to Jonathan recently about his Watch Dogs 2 experience, the life-long friends he made and his experience bringing something truly authentic to his character Josh.

Being particularly new in the gaming industry, how did the opportunity to play Josh come about?

The whole experience was out of the ordinary. For this I didn’t actually audition in the regular rounds. They brought me in to do temporary voice work for one of the characters they were working on, who at the time was called Simon (which was later changed to Josh). So while doing the voice work for this temporary character for the game, in one of the sessions we were just having a really great time and then after we finished they just asked me, “Have you auditioned for this?” and I said no, then they asked, “Would you like to?” and I said yes. This was all taking place in Montreal and I live in Toronto, so the entire audition process for me was continuously sending back and forth self-tapes for a couple rounds, until I found out that I had booked the part.

You mentioned the character you were doing temporary work on was originally called Simon which then changed to Josh. Why did the writers change their direction?

From what I understand the way Josh, or Simon at the time, was originally written to be a hacker but he was also this YouTube personality that would constantly do these silly challenges like the Cinnamon one for instance. So he was that kind of person in-front of the camera but behind the camera at his computer – he was a genius hacker.

It was only at the final audition round where they told me, “Okay, we’re going in a different direction with this character. Now we want him to have Asperger’s.” I would imagine that while the writers are developing these characters, the dynamic of the group, certain pieces have to fit in certain places, so when everything was put together these were the changes they wanted to have made. Shawn Baichoo who plays Wrench from what I understand even his character was supposed to be much more of a brute. So, I wonder if perhaps the dynamic of the characters wouldn’t have worked if Shawn and Josh were both big personalities.

jd-6518-largeJonathan Dubsky Photo courtesy of Lane Dorsey

How much of a contribution were you able to make to Josh that wasn’t scripted?

Working on this project has been an incredibly collaborative experience. When we all met together in early 2016, we met as a cast, developers and writers. So we sat down and went through the script and prior to this meeting I had done a lot of research on Asperger’s because I wanted to make sure that whatever I bring makes sense. There were moments where I had questions going through the script and I would ask, “Are you guys sure about this, because from what I understand Asperger’s may do something slightly different” and they were completely open to it, they totally embraced it.

In fact, Ethan who was one of the writers has a family member who has Asperger’s and most of the suggestions I made he would say, “Absolutely, that totally makes sense.” So it was all just a wonderfully collaborative, open experience that allowed me to bring my two cents in when it was appropriate.

The dynamic relationships that are seen in-game, was it the same behind the scenes?

Within Dedsec we got to know each other pretty well and hopefully we brought that to the scenes. I think one of the greatest things about casting people who get along is you get to bring that relationship to the work, the craft and the scene. It’s funny because if anybody butts heads in Dedsec, it’s Wrench and Josh, and the reality is in real life that I probably get along better with Shawn Baichoo than most people I know. We’re both really avid gamers, we’re both drummers, we like a lot of the same things. We were always finding clever ways of annoying the other person during the scene so we developed that kind of relationship which was a lot of fun.

img_20161202_145057Watch Dogs 2 Dedsec Crew (Left to Right: Josh, Sitara, Marcus, Wrench, Ray & Horatio) 

The truth of it is, one of the worst parts about finishing a job like this is saying goodbye to your friends because the people you generally meet in this line of work, if you’re lucky, you’ll have lifelong friendships. So I will hopefully now have friends for the rest of my life who I love deeply. I spent a lot of time with Tasya Teles who voices Sitara and Ruffin Prentiss who plays Marcus. Tasya is a champion for me, she is an incredibly experienced actress, she is aggressively strong at her craft and she works like no one I have ever met. Just being around her I wanted to better myself as an artist but also as the business side of the actor in terms of what I should be doing for myself, what you deserve and what you could work towards. Ruffin who plays Marcus, honestly this was like a brother I never met.

We’re both incredibly sensitive people and I connected with Ruffin on a level that made me feel like I had known the guy my entire life.

What sort of reactions are you seeing from people since the release?

It’s been overwhelmingly good for the most part. The reactions I’ve gotten from fans have been really wonderful and not only just the fans of the game but people from different communities such as the Asperger’s community who have reached out. Individuals that do have Asperger’s have messaged me and told me they appreciate me portraying the character as honestly as I can and giving a voice to Asperger’s because not a lot of people know a lot about it to be truthful. They’re portrayed in lots of different ways in various shows and movies with a bit more of a caricature edge that I really wanted to steer clear of because of my own personal experiences dealing with people who are autistic across the spectrum. As a challenge to myself I wanted to try and find something real that I could attach to Josh. So it was important to me to do that, but yes the reaction has been so incredible which I didn’t expect and it’s just been amazing so far. It makes me really honoured and privileged to get the chance to do this and hopefully do it well.

watch_dogs_2_hd_4k_8k_game-hd-1Watch Dogs 2 Dedsec Credit Ubisoft

Were you a fan of Watch Dogs 1? What did you think of the change in direction and mood shift from the first title to number two?

When I first found out the game that I was going to be working on, I immediately checked out Watch Dogs 1. As a gamer I wanted to find out what people thought about the game so I went online and read reviews, the good and the bad, and made sure I knew going into this project what things I could help in terms of being an actor and what things people wanted to see change. From what I read about the fans reactions in the first game, I’m grateful they went in the direction they did because that gave me a great job and it allowed me to do something that I really wanted to do for a long time. Personally being a Nintendo guy, I like bright, open world, fun environments with playful game-play as opposed to the darker types of games. At the end of the day it’s a game and I want a little escapism from the craziness that is life.

What are the key differences between the approaches in acting you’re accustomed to compared to the work you did for Watch Dogs 2?

When you work as an actor sometimes you have to do things that require a lot of yourself – long hours and night shoots, you have to look a certain way and be a certain kind of person. In performance capture, all of that is completely disregarded and all that really matters is what you have to bring. It’s a little more freeing, which is weird because you’re wearing this really tight suit with dots all over it and a helmet that restricts your movement. Every time you get close to another actor you head butt each other but after a couple of minutes you do actually forget all of that’s there. There’s an incredible sense of freedom – when you’re in a digital world your performance is being recorded and the cameras could be anywhere at any time. It’s kind of like film meets theatre in the sense that you have this incredible space that you can take advantage of. For me as an actor and I think I can speak for many actors, it really helps them get involved with what’s going on without breaking that concentration or focus.

One final question – If you had the choice to play in another game, whether it is Indie or AAA, which title would that be?

Watch Dogs 3! Seriously, you play a character in a game and by the time you’re done you’re still learning stuff about your character and I miss that. I miss learning more about Josh – so if there was ever going to be a Watch Dogs 3 and we had the chance to do it, then yes definitely that. However, another franchise that would be cool since I am a big fan of Square Enix and the Kingdom Hearts series – Kingdom Hearts 3. That would be fantastic if I had the chance to do that. What I love about those games is that it’s not about one person trying to save the universe; it’s about one person trying to save their best friend. It’s a really intimate story that involves a couple of people and to what lengths they’re willing to go for each other on top of the awesome adventure that is Disney and Square Enix.

To learn more about Jonathan Dubsky don’t forget to follow him on his official Twitter page @JonathanDubsky.

To view the original article click The North Agency link here

Watch Dogs 2 Trailer World Premiere

UPDATE

Ubisoft will be revealing Watch Dogs 2 today as we have been reporting on various leaks, trying to piece together the puzzle that is the new Watch Dogs. 

Earlier today the first 30 seconds of the trailer had already been leaked, and yesterday as you can see from the original story below, we already knew a lot more about the game than we probably should have.

Watch Dogs 2 is set to release on November 15, and there are even special editions priced up to $100 already on Amazon.

You can watch the World Premier in the video linked above.

ORIGINAL STORY

As the excitement of E3 looms in approximately a weeks time, many companies are teasing their games in the format of larger than life posters plastered around select locations in the US, as we have seen the poster for Guerrilla Games’ PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn and online ad reveals that have been popping up on Twitch for Watch Dogs 2

A brief video teaser titled “Hello World”  is reminiscent of the reveal for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate as seen below with the iconic Assassin’s gauntlet.

An official Watch Dogs countdown clock on the website confirms the world premier video for Watch Dogs 2 will be revealed on Wednesday 8 June on the times listed below:

  • 5PM BST time
  • 6PM CEST time
  • 9AM Pacific time
  • 12PM Eastern time
  • 12AM East Asian time

Ads that have been floating around today on the web have been confirming earlier rumours that the game is to be set in San Francisco, with the Golden Gate bridge visible in the background of the ad. The release of the title will apparently be on Tuesday 15 November 2016, as indicated by the screenshot which was visible on the IGN homepage snapped by Eurogamer.

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Leaks for Watch Dogs 2 had been bragged about early last month by actor Cort King who made claims he was to be the voice actor and motion capture actor for the games leading protagonist.

According to the post’s image description, the actor had a, “blast doing motion capture work as the lead character in a new video game series” following the hashtag #WatchDogs2.

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Ubisoft’s E3 press conference will be held on Monday June 13, kicking off at 1PT/4PM ET/ 9PM UK.

For more news on Watch Dogs 2, stay tuned to Hackinformer and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Hackinformer and @GeorgiaDanaG

To view the original article click the Hackinformer link here