Watch Dogs was announced back at E3 2012 as Ubisoft’s next big blockbuster game alongside its already impressive catalogue containing the likes of Assassins Creed and Far Cry. Although information is pretty scarce at present, with only a rough date at the end of 2013, there is already plenty to get excited about.
Cross platform release
Perhaps one of the benefits of the tight lipped nature of Microsoft and, until very recently, Sony, Watch Dogs is set to hit pretty much every platform imaginable with the Xbox 360, Wii U, PC and both the PlayStation 3 and 4 all getting a taste of the action. There have also been rumours that it will support Xbox Smartglass technology (a tablet style controller) which technically hasn’t been announced in conjunction with any new Microsoft console at present, so it would seem that the new Xbox will almost certainly have a piece of the pie as well.
Storyline seems to be grounded in the real world
Watch Dogs is perhaps one of the few games as of late that looks like it will tackle computers and our over-reliance on them, and no, Skynet and Arnold Schwarznegger don’t exactly equate to the real issues involved in the information age. The game is set in an alternate reality Chicago, one of many cities that has a central supercomputer that runs almost everything. The downside to this is that every element of everyone’s lives, whether civilian or not, is catalogued in one place meaning that it can be used and abused by any person qualified enough to hack into it.
Aiden Pearce, the games anti-hero, is one such hacker who can access these files, whether for good or bad. As we get closer and closer to systems based almost entirely on the cloud and on a PC, there will naturally be people who can do ill with it and know far more about a person than any conversation or an unfortunate look on Facebook could. Hopefully Ubisoft will explore the moral issues that they are so skilled at doing, such as the Americans being blamed for the destruction of Native Indian colonies as the British in Assassins Creed 3. Or the fact that the lead character in Far Cry 3 begins to enjoy the killing he is enacting to save his friends, to give a further interesting dimension to a potentially amazing storyline.
The Mass Effect effect
After Bioware seemed to pioneer the use of good and bad decisions, particularly in Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect, it almost seems like a prerequisite to have some type of moral dilemma in any story driven game and it’s looking like Watch Dogs will be no different. However the morality here looks like to be many more shades of grey than the simple blue or red conversations in the above games mentioned; the fact that Aiden Pearce can hack into the supercomputer system, and get a live feed of the many civilians that surround him in Chicago, it opens up huge possibilities for mischief, mayhem and downright evil choices.
Would electronic devices like pacemakers be linked to these computers that would allow Aiden to cause a distraction? Could he add elements to a civilians profile to make it seem like they are a high profile criminal, causing the police to target innocent citizens leaving Aiden free to go unhindered.
At the end of the demo shown at E3 2012, Aiden manages to hack into the traffic system and cause a fatal car crash to give him the upper hand; do you save the civilians caught in the crossfire or help out the people in the car crash that you just caused? The possibilities are endless, and the fact that this is being billed as one of the most open world ‘open world’ games ever created, there should be high hopes of innovation.
How excited are you for Watch Dogs? Feel free to comment at the bottom of the page!