Watch Dogs

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Watch Dogs
Watch Dogs box art.jpg
Developer(s)Ubisoft Montreal
Director(s)Jonathan Morin[2]
Producer(s)Dominic Guay[2]
Designer(s)Danny Belanger[2]
Programmer(s)Sebastian Viard[3]
Writer(s)Kevin Shortt[4]
Composer(s)Brian Reitzell
Havok Physics[6]
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Wii U
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release date(s)
  • WW May 27, 2014[7]
Wii U
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
DistributionOptical disc, download
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Watch Dogs
Watch Dogs box art.jpg
Developer(s)Ubisoft Montreal
Director(s)Jonathan Morin[2]
Producer(s)Dominic Guay[2]
Designer(s)Danny Belanger[2]
Programmer(s)Sebastian Viard[3]
Writer(s)Kevin Shortt[4]
Composer(s)Brian Reitzell
Havok Physics[6]
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Wii U
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release date(s)
  • WW May 27, 2014[7]
Wii U
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
DistributionOptical disc, download

Watch Dogs (stylized as WATCH_DOGS) is an upcoming open world action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is due for release worldwide on May 27, 2014[7] for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4,[9] Xbox 360, and Xbox One consoles.[10] The Wii U version of the game has been put on hold while the other versions are being worked on,[11] and is planned to release in the fourth quarter of 2014.[8]

The game is set within a fictionalized, hyper-connected version of Chicago, Illinois, which is managed through a centralised system called CtOS, developed by fictional company Blume. The single-player story is told through Aiden Pearce, a highly skilled grey hat hacker who can hack into the CtOS, granting him access to various electronic systems, either to obtain and control information or to interact with these systems to his advantage.

The game received over a combined 173 pre-release awards and nominations for both its displays at E3 2012 and 2013, including three awards and four nominations from the Game Critics Awards.


Watch Dogs is an open world action-adventure video game in which players control an Irish-American vigilante named Aiden Pearce (voiced by Noam Jenkins),[12] 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.[13] 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 behavior. All of the hacking mechanic is done directly from Pearce's smartphone. He carries around a phone that is equipped with multiple applications, namely the profiler and the crime prevention system, but also applications that interact more directly with the environment around Pearce - interfering with mobile communications, traffic lights, etc. 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.[14]

Mini Games[edit]

Nearing the release of Watch Dogs, Ubisoft announced the Digital Trips mini game, where Aiden Pearce would pass out on the spot, and wake up in control of a mechanical arachnid. The player can use the spider to trample over cops, and fire machine guns and missiles to attack from range. The spider can leap huge bounds and attach to surfaces such as the side of a skyscraper or the underside of a bridge. The kills made in this mini game will not effect your notoriety level in any way.


The core game mechanic in Watch Dogs is hacking.[15] Aiden Pearce, the game's protagonist, is armed with a smartphone loaded with applications capable of hacking a major part of Chicago's infrastructure, such as traffic lights, bridges, steam pipes, fuse boxes, road blockers, etc. This phone is reportedly capable of over 100 total hacks.[16] Hacking is one of the most heavily marketed features of the game, and is central to both gameplay and plot.

Through his profiler application, Aiden Pearce is able to access blurbs of information on every citizen of Chicago he meets at any given time. His smartphone is connected to the CtOS populace database, meaning he can learn people's age and occupation as well as small personal facts about them. Pearce is also capable of reading randomly generated text messages and of overhearing phone calls between two NPC's. These will sometimes lead him to new, unscripted missions. This gameplay feature was designed to make the world of Watch Dogs feel more alive and real, giving depth to the city of Chicago and its people. Additionally, Pearce's smartphone is constantly connected to the CtOS crime prevention system, a fictional tool originally designed for use by the Chicago Police Department. It notifies him when a crime is likely to occur in his vicinity, giving the player a chance to intervene and stop the crime. This contributes to Pearce's vigilante persona.

Because of the fact that Watch Dogs' interpretation of Chicago is governed entirely by the Central Operating System (CtOS), Aiden Pearce has the power to remotely access and interact with things present in his environment - examples of this are traffic lights, steam pipes, blockers, and even the city's lights. He can use these in combat situations to eliminate opponents, create diversions or create cover. He can also use them as a stealth tool to sneak by guards.


The game features an asynchronous multiplayer element. The "multiplayer" experience is a one-on-one interaction between two human characters in which one player secretly joins the single player experience of another player.[17] The first player (which entered the other player's world) is tasked with finding the second player (who 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 the virus siphons a portion of the data the second player has collected. The first player must stay within a certain radius of the second player for the download to progress.

Once the download is initiated, 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 locate the first player who is stealing their data, and either kill the first player or cause them to flee to such a distance that the download is halted (a certain minimum distance must be maintained for the download to progress). Any stolen information increases the first player's power once they return to their own single-player session.

It was recently confirmed that an online free roam mode will be featured in the game.[18] Other multiplayer modes include CtOS Mobile Challenge, Online Hacking, Decryption, and a racing mode.[19]


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 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.[20] In the game's universe, the Northeast blackout of 2003 was found to be caused by a hacker, prompting the development of CtOS.[21] The game will put the player in control of Aiden Pearce, a highly skilled hacker who uses both his "fists and wits".[22] The creative director of Watch Dogs stated that the main story will be 35–40 hours long.


Ubisoft Montreal began development work on Watch Dogs in 2009.[23] 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.[24][25] 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.[14][22][26]

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".[27] 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.[28][29][30] On February 19, retailers including Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy listed a Wii U version for pre-order.[31] 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.[9] Following the evening, the Wii U version was officially confirmed in a Ubisoft press release.[32]

Watch Dogs uses a new engine called Disrupt, built at Ubisoft Montreal specifically for Watch Dogs.[3] Ubisoft prioritized development of the PC and next-gen versions of Watch Dogs.[33] Senior producer Dominic Guay stated that the Wii U's GamePad is considered a "natural" fit for Watch Dogs.[34] Ubisoft's executive director for EMEA territories Alain Coore stated that Ubisoft wants Watch Dogs to compete with "open-style" games such as the Grand Theft Auto series.[35] The game's creators worked with Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab to make hacking more realistic.[36][37] 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,[38] with the developers addressing the delay via UbiBlog.[39]

On February 3, 2014, news broke that Ubisoft had abandoned 1 of the 6 trademarked names for Watch Dogs, creating some confusion as to whether the game had been cancelled. It was later revealed that the abandonment was fraudulent, with an unknown person forging Ubisoft president Yves Guillemot's signature.[40]


On May 29, 2013, Ubisoft announced five collectors' editions of Watch Dogs, The Dedsec, Vigilante, Uplay, Special and Limited editions, available for consoles and PC.[41]

FeaturesStandard EditionSpecial EditionVigilante EditionUplay Exclusive EditionLimited EditionDedsec EditionDeluxe Digital Edition
Game DiscYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Digital DownloadNoNoNoNoNoNoYes
Watch Dogs Map of ChicagoNoNoNoNoNoYesNo
Single-player MissionsBreakthrough PackNoYesNoYesNoYesYes
Palace PackNoNoYesYesNoYesYes
Signature ShotNoNoNoYesNoYesYes
Exclusive PackagingNoNoYesNoYesYesNo
Original SoundtrackNoNoYesNoYesYesNo
Aiden Pearce's Cap & MaskNoNoYesNoMask OnlyNoNo
Exclusive SteelbookNoNoNoYesYesYesNo
23 cm (9 inch) Aiden Pearce FigurineNoNoNoNoYesYesNo
Watch Dogs ArtbookNoNoNoNoYesYesNo
Collectible CardsNoNoNoNoNoYesNo
Exclusive BadgesNoNoNoNoNoYesNo

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.[42]

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."[43] A few months after this announcement, the game was confirmed for release on May 27, 2014, across all platforms except for the Wii U, which was delayed to the fourth quarter of 2014.[8]



Pre-release, Watch Dogs received more than 83 awards and nominations for its display at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012 (E3 2012),[44] and won two Game Critics Awards for Special Commendation for Graphics and Special Commendation for Innovation.[45] Later that year, the game was nominated for One to Watch at the 30th Golden Joystick Awards.[46][47] The next year, Watch Dogs received over 90 awards and nominations for its display at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2013 (E3 2013),[48] and won one Game Critics Award for Best Action/Adventure Game while receiving four additional nominations for Best of Show, Best Original Game, Best Console Game, and Best Online Multiplayer.[49][50] Later that year, the game was nominated for Most Wanted at the 31st Golden Joystick Awards,[51][52] and was also nominated for Most Anticipated Game at the VGX 2013.[53]

Major awards and nominations
2012Game Critics Awards Best of E3 2012Special Commendation for GraphicsWon[45]
Special Commendation for InnovationWon
30th Golden Joystick AwardsOne to WatchNominated[46][47]
2013Game Critics Awards Best of E3 2013Best of ShowNominated[49][50]
Best Original GameNominated
Best Console GameNominated
Best Action/Adventure GameWon
Best Online MultiplayerNominated
31st Golden Joystick AwardsMost WantedNominated[51][52]
VGX 2013Most Anticipated GameNominated[53]


Variety reports that Ubisoft is developing a Watch Dogs film, along with Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Splinter Cell and Raving Rabbids films.[54] 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.[55] On April 24, 2014, Deadline report Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese are hire by the studio to write the film.[56]


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External links[edit]