WatchDogs preview: Welcome to the future

The Electronic Entertainment Expo also known as E3 has become somewhat of a drudgery where innovation and excitement have given way to sequels and casual gaming. It’s why a new IP like WatchDogs can come out from nowhere and drop kick everyone in the face. After the Assassin’s Creed series (Assassin’s Creed not included), Ubisoft Montreal have become veterans of the open world genre, a genre previously ruled extensively by Rockstar Games and their Grand Theft Auto franchise. 

And this time, Ubisoft is basing their game in the very same century taking on Rockstar’s behemoth Grand Theft Auto V head-on. Unlike GTA V however, WatchDogs has a nice science-fiction/futuristic twist to it but it is still grounded in present day reality. We’re also very grateful the game takes place in Chicago as opposed to New York or Los Angeles, cities done to death in games as well as movies.

You step into the boots of a hacker called Aiden Pierce, a guy who’s not really good or bad. He’s more of the neutral sort who goes where he pleases. His hacking ability is basically what sets WatchDogs apart from the usual open world fare. Jonathan Morin, creative producer explains it further, “Watch Dogs goes beyond the limits of today's open-world games by giving players the ability to control an entire city. In Watch Dogs, anything connected to the city's Central Operating System becomes a weapon. By pushing the boundaries, we can provide players with action and access to information on a scale that's never been seen in a video game before.”

This means Aidan can use his l33t jacking skills to not only hack into any device in the city but he can even glance into people’s lives (via their cell phones or the Central Operating System) learning all their deep dark secrets in the process. He could then maybe use those secrets to get his way or extract information from people. It’s not a revolutionary concept but having such options in an open world game does impress. I mean this could open up the doors to a ton of replayability. Do you just run and gun your way to a mission or do you hack someone’s computer, find out their schedule and then ambush them as they enter a dark alley. The possibilities are endless.

Bang... you're dead caption

Bang... you're dead


You’ll begin WatchDogs with limited abilities but will soon be able to hack your way through most of Chicago. These abilities will also evolve depending on your play style. Be sneaky and you’ll slip by unnoticed; keep killing people in a public place and you could generate some not needed attention. Besides the single player aspect, it seems multiplayer will play a very important role in this game as well. Unfortunately at this time, details regarding the multiplayer aspect are scarce but it seems the game may follow an MMO (massively multiplayer online) structure where multiple players can exist in the same world. How they interact with each other is once again something we’re really interested in finding out.

If you’ve seen the game’s E3 demo, you’ll have realized the game is extremely good looking. The level of detail is staggering and the weather effects in particular were extremely impressive. Not possible in the current generation you say? That’s where you’re wrong as you’ll be surprised (and glad) to know that WatchDogs is being developed for the PC, Xbox and PS3. However, since the game is not shipping this year, it could very well be released for next gen platforms as well. Stay tuned to Tech2 for more WatchDogs.

Published Date: Jun 12, 2012 10:32 am | Updated Date: Jun 12, 2012 10:32 am