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North American boxart
|Release date(s)||Q2 2014|
North American boxart
|Release date(s)||Q2 2014|
Watch Dogs (stylized as WATCH_DOGS) is an upcoming 2014 open world action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is due for release in the second quarter of 2014 for Microsoft Windows, and the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Wii U consoles.
Watch Dogs is played from a third-person perspective in an open world environment, allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. The game is set within a fictionalized version of Chicago, Illinois. The single-player story is told through Aiden Pearce, a highly skilled hacker, who can hack into various electronic systems, either to obtain and control information or to destroy such devices completely at specific times.
Watch Dogs is an open world action-adventure video game in which players control an Irish vigilante named Aiden Pearce (voiced by Noam Jenkins), who can hack into various electronic devices tied to the city's central operating system (ctOS), allowing various methods for the player to solve numerous objectives. Examples include hacking into people's phones to retrieve bank data and steal funds, triggering malfunctions in equipment to distract other characters and hacking into traffic lights to cause collisions. Players can also receive information on civilians via augmented reality feeds, providing the player with information on demographics, health and potential behaviour. Objectives showcased in presentations include finding specific targets to kill, evading the police and following potential victims in order to stop their would-be killers. Combat utilizes a combination of stealth components and parkour, along with the mechanics of a cover-based third-person shooter.
The game features an elusive online multiplayer element. The "multiplayer" experience is a one-on-one interaction between two human characters in which one player seamlessly and secretly joins the single player experience of another player. The first player (which entered the other player's world) is tasked with finding the second player (which is initially unaware that another human is in their game session - no notification is given to the second player). Once the first player finds the second player the objective is updated. The first player's new objective involves installing a back door virus into the second player's smartphone, then hiding while that virus siphons off a portion of the data the second player has collected. This stolen information increases the first player's power once they return to their own single player session. The second player must stay within a certain radius of the first player for the download to progress. Once the download is initiated by the first player the second player is alerted that they have been hacked and that data is being stolen from their smartphone. Once the second player has been alerted of the intrusion their objective is to 1) locate the first player who is stealing their data, and 2) either kill the first player or cause the first player to flee to such a distance that the download is halted (a certain minimum distance must be maintained for the download to progress). It is unclear how long the first player must remain within range of the second player for the download to be successful. In all gameplay released by Ubisoft so far the hacks have been unsuccessful. In one gameplay video there are two hacking attempts. In the first attempt the first player successfully flees once they are identified by the second player (causing the download to fail). In the second attempt the first player is again identified by the second player, but the first player lures the second player into an alley where a gunfight ensues, ultimately resulting in the first player (the hacker) killing the second player (the hacked). A successful hack will give the hacker "a portion of information that you will gather through the game"; it is unclear exactly what is gained.
The storyline of Watch Dogs game is built around the concept of information warfare, data being interconnected, and the world's increasing use of technology—questioning who exactly runs the computers they depend on. The game is set in an alternate reality version of Chicago, Illinois, which is one of many cities to feature a supercomputer known as a "CtOS" (Central Operating System). The system controls almost every piece of technology in the city, and contains information on all of the city's residents and activities which can be used for various purposes. In the game's universe, the Northeast blackout of 2003 was found to be caused by a hacker, prompting the development of CtOS. The game will follow a man named Aiden Pearce, a highly skilled hacker described as a person who uses both "fists and wits." The gameplay demo shown at E3 2012 depicted Aiden's attempt to assassinate a media mogul named Joseph DeMarco, who had been wrongly acquitted on charges of murder. In a demonstration shown at E3 2013, Pearce helps a fellow hacker named T-Bone escape after he is discovered attempting to steal a motherboard.
Ubisoft Montreal began development work on Watch Dogs in 2009. Ubisoft Montreal's creative director Jonathan Morin noted that Watch Dogs is designed to "go beyond the limits of today's open world games", referencing both its use of information as a plot point, and allowing players to control the entire city through its hacking mechanics.
The game was officially unveiled during Ubisoft's press conference at E3 2012. Although a copy of the trailer was accidentally posted early by Ubisoft's YouTube channel, it was quickly removed shortly before its official debut. Ubisoft has since confirmed that the game will be released for Microsoft Windows and that PC is the lead platform for the game, Nvidia's TXAA will also be supported.
On February 15, 2013, an upcoming promotional image of the game was sent to Kotaku by a GameStop employee, along with more story details. Photos of the flyer suggested that Watch Dogs would arrive in Christmas 2013 for "all home consoles". The "all home consoles" quote and potential launch window, alongside the press quotes which call the game a "truly next-gen adventure", created debate whether it was a hint at a PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Wii U release. On February 19, retailers including Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy listed a Wii U version for pre-order. During the Sony press conference on February 20, 2013, Watch Dogs was confirmed to be released on the PlayStation 4. Another demo of the game was also shown at the press conference. Following the evening, the Wii U version was officially confirmed in a Ubisoft press release.
Watch Dogs uses a new engine called Disrupt, built at Ubisoft Montreal specifically for Watch Dogs. Ubisoft prioritized development of the PC and next-gen versions of Watch Dogs. Senior producer Dominic Guay stated that the Wii U's GamePad is considered a "natural" fit for Watch Dogs. Ubisoft's executive director for EMEA territories Alain Coore stated that Ubisoft wants Watch Dogs to compete with "open-style" games such as the Saints Row & Grand Theft Auto series. The game's creators worked with Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab to make hacking more realistic. Originally planned for release on November 19, 2013 and as a launch title for Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, Ubisoft announced that Watch Dogs was delayed along with The Crew until after Ubisoft's next fiscal year, which begins April 1, 2014, with the developers addressing the delay via UbiBlog.
On April 29, 2013, Ubisoft announced five collectors' editions of Watch Dogs, The Dedsec, Vigilante, Uplay, Special and Limited editions, available for all consoles and PC.
|Features||Standard||Special Edition||Vigilante Edition||Uplay Exclusive Edition||Limited Edition||Dedsec Edition|
|Watch Dogs Map of Chicago||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Single-player missions||Breakthrough Pack||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Aiden Pearce's Cap & Mask||No||No||Yes||No||Mask Only||No|
|23 cm (9 inch) Aiden Pearce Figurine||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Watch Dogs Artbook||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
The exclusive GameStop pre-order poster for the game was created by illustrator Alex Ross, a native of Chicago, where the game is set. Ross emphasized that setting in the image by placing the Willis Tower and the elevated train tracks in the background.
While originally planned for a release in late 2013, Ubisoft announced on October 15, 2013 that Watch Dogs would be delayed into early 2014 to ensure its quality, and an expectation to "deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next-generation of gaming."
The game demo of the PC version of Watch Dogs at E3 2012 was met with positive reception from critics following the press event, praising the game for its "next gen"-quality graphics and its unique gameplay. IGN selected it as Best PC Game of E3 2012, as well as Biggest Surprise and Best New Franchise.
Variety reports that Ubisoft is developing a Watch Dogs film, along with Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and Raving Rabbids films. Sony announced at their 2013 Gamescom press conference that Ubisoft will work with Columbia Pictures and New Regency to make the film, Sony will distribute the film in the US and 20th Century Fox will handle the international distribution rights.