Once the hacking cycle has begun and the player finds out who hacked him, he can return the favor. "Basically, I am getting a contract to hack into another player," Guay said. "I go into his game, he doesn't expect me to be there and he sees me as any other character in the street, so if I'm careful he will just think I'm an AI. I hack into him and then he tries to find me. It's a meta game of sorts where you can plant a virtual virus into other players."
With much of the game surrounding the player doing the hacking, the reverse can be a bit jarring, he said. "The first time it happens, it's like a 'wow' moment that it just occurred. If people like it, they begin to get more engaged in it and do it more often. But, the first time you hack into other people, you become vulnerable to being hacked back."
So what's to be gained from hacking another player? Successful completion of a hacking contract affects your notoriety within the fixer world, Guay said, possibly hinting at some sort of leaderboard system. "If you want to go on top of that pyramid, then you don't let someone successfully hack you. You want to kill them and keep them from fleeing back into their own game," he said. "If you don't care about that, you don't lose anything if you are hacked. Even if the other guy kills you, you are just going to respawn and continue on your mission. We don't want to make it something that hurts you. We want to make it something that adds to the game.
However, if players are not interested in that aspect of the game, they can opt out of the experience. "It will happen to you at least once because we want to give people that experience, but you don't have to be a part of the meta game," he said. "If you decide you want to try it, then you can just hack someone else and the opt out is canceled."
If the player gets hacked, his adversary will look like any AI.
Right now, Ubisoft has it so only one person can hack you at a time, but Guay hinted that there will be certain missions or contracts where other players can tail you and spy on you.
Another multiplayer aspect involves a mobile companion app that Ubisoft plans to release for free when the game launches on November 19. The app, which will be for iOS and Android, gives a second player the option of aiding Aiden or hindering his efforts.
"We wanted the companion app to be more than just looking at stats or checking up on friends. We wanted real gameplay," Guay said. "The player can literally control the city from the palm of his hand so there is a top down view. It is basically what Aiden can do with his own phone. You can see the grid--the digital side of the city--and you can do anything that Aiden can do from the ground.
In co-op mode, a player may be in a sticky situation and have cops on his tail, so he basically sends out a call for help in game game that is immediately broadcast to everyone on the player's friends list that has the app. The friend can accept the request on his or her mobile phone or tablet, and then they are immediately in the game with a top down view seeing what is happening.
"Help can come in the form of hacking into a police chopper that is following Aiden, hacking into a digital stream within the city so they can communicate, or even redirecting police cars," Guay said. "It's a friendly way to help each other. You can do it at a distance or you can do it with someone in the same room."
Once the hacker is found, eliminate with extreme prejudice.