"All the online activities are just part of the menu," said Danny Belanger, Watch Dogs' game designer, during a Friday event on Twitch, as reported by Polygon. "They're a choice. But if someone is not into that... they can totally turn it off."
Ubisoft takes a distinctly Dark Souls-style approach to multiplayer in Watch Dogs. While you're playing as Aiden Pearce, doling out vigilante justice on the streets of Chicago, another player can sneak into the game. It's your job to hunt the intruder down in the anonymous masses and hack their phone before they do they same to you.
Watch Dogs is already layered with distractions. During a recent preview event, Joystiq found that the sheer number of side missions and mini-games in the anticipated PlayStation 4 and Xbox One title obscured the drama in the main storyline. Maintaing that "vigilante obsessed with atonement" atmosphere is hard when you're always pausing to collect golden coins. If real people were constantly dropping into your game it would be even harder, so it's smart of Ubisoft to make these multiplayer components optional for players of varying tastes.