Watch Dogs: Ubi Does Open-World Hack’n'Stealth

By Alec Meer on June 5th, 2012 at 12:49 am.

Watch this! hahahahah

Tcch, everyone knows you don’t reveal new game IPs at E3. It’s all about companies trying to out-sequel each other. Or, if you’re Microsoft, being insane enough to believe that anyone on Earth is interested that they’ve spilt more Bing onto their Xbox dashboard. Ubisoft have elected to buck the safe-bet trend with the mighty promising Watch Dogs – an apparently semi-open world game of grand-scale hacking. Includes bringing up a frightening amount of embarrassingly personal information about passers-by at the touch of a button, stealthing into buildings by making everyone’s mobile phones play up, screwing up traffic lights remotely to cause dramatic pile-ups and, somewhat sadly after all that bravura tech-twisting stuff, some trad. shooty-bang-bang. Also, graphicasability which appears to fall firmly into the ‘ultra’ bracket. Though whispers are this is a couple of years off, so salt may need some pinching for now.

Comes across to my over-quickly-opinionising eyes as a more grounded, real-world Deus Ex cut’n'shunted to GTA. Take a look at the first footage, which apparently made the journo-crowds at E3 whoop with even more shamefully unprofessional rapture than they did for Halo 4, below.

No-one seems quite sure what platforms this is due for yet, but Ubi tend to be pretty good for PC releases. Eventually, anyway. Current Twitter rumour is suggesting this demo, shown ‘live’ at Ubi’s E3 pre-show conference just moments ago, was actually running on a PC too. All hail!

There is a website but that’s broken right now. Must have been hacked by a swaggering man in a raincoat.

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226 Comments »

  1. The JG Man says:

    It looked absolutely incredible, then got steadily more incredibler.

    I know that isn’t a word, but it feels justified somehow.

    • Pie21 says:

      For someone so stealthy and controlled, it’s annoying to see how easy it is to jump into plain sight, take 5 bullets to the chest, shoot someone and hide behind a car again.

      • Annobal says:

        Odds are they’re one the absolute easiest difficulty possible, what with it being a live demo and all.

        • emorium says:

          they generally just turn on god-mode for presentations. just look at the far cry 3 gameplay where the guy hilariously failed multiple times and was riddled with bullets for each mistake. still didn’t die though.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Interesting to note that he apparently didn’t have infinite battery charge, though, although it looks like it very slowly regenerates. (Which is probably fine.)

          • darkath says:

            Yeah but I don’t expect this to be much harder than hashishin’s creed II, in which, god mod or not, you really have to suicide yourself to see a death screen.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Did anyone else notice that it looks like an extremely accurate version of Chicago? No? Damn Brits. Anyway, it is. The El trains, the Marina City buildings (the corn cobs in black and white dots in the start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_City ), the river bridges… yep, that’s Chicago.

    • McDan says:

      Was watching e3 with the RPS steam chat, and apart from bows being the new cool thing, all the games have them you know, this did look the most exciting. Especially at the end of the gameplay when it looked like there were intersecting storylines with other players or something like that.

    • Eleven says:

      Let me count the ways I love this:

      - Loose, physically modelled clothing, even on some of the incidental NPCs
      - Lighting, particle and volumetric effects so natural that I stopped noticing them.
      - Artful, fluid facial expressions, particularly during that cutscene about setting the bait
      - Huge numbers of npcs with plausible AI and brief but interesting bios. If that bio info is useful in gameplay or makes a difference to how the npc acts, I will be pleasantly astonished.
      - Context sensitive animations, from the npcs smoothly reacting to the phones going dead to just the way the main character takes in the scene as he strolls along
      - Multibody realtime physics with damage modelling, or least it looks like it from first glance. Would that car crash have happened differently if he jammed the lights a fraction late, or was it a fixed event that happens the same every time?
      - Player generated solutions, again at first glance. There were a large number of hacking options available, the player drivable cars could have been crashed in to the target, or (possibly) the player could have followed the target until he got out of the car and smacked him over the head.

      From just this one video, this is now my most anticipated game. I’m almost a little nervous that it can’t possibly be as good as this trailer made out.

      • Belua says:

        “From just this one video, this is now my most anticipated game. I’m almost a little nervous that it can’t possibly be as good as this trailer made out.”

        That right there is my biggest fear. If it manages to get even close to the amount of awesomeness this trailer suggests, this will be one of the best games I’ve seen. With a background setting (that whole personal data stuff) that is almost uncomfortably plausible.

  2. Flukie says:

    What a detailed game, seems to take advantage of proper graphics hardware too. Bravo Ubisoft.

  3. malkav11 says:

    I assume you mean pretty good for eventually releasing the game for PC, not for the actual quality of those releases what with the DRM and whatnot.

    • ulix says:

      You do know that Ubisoft has abolished “always-on” DRM, do you?

      Now their using the same DRM method (almost) everyone else does: one time online registration (which is okay in my book) with your uPlay account (which I hate).

    • Lukasz says:

      wasn’t drm the ONLY issue with their pc games?
      i am not sure but don’t they work smooth, have all graphical options are not broken?

      • Azhrarn says:

        Pretty much, Ubigames lately have been rather nice on PC if you look past the DRM issue.
        Anno 2070 was a lot more fun than I expected at any rate.

        • grundus says:

          yeah, I love to hate Ubisoft but even I had a lot of fun with Driver: San Francisco and AC: Brotherhood. With the DRM issue gone all we have to worry about now is the quality of the port, From Dust was pretty darn shonky, at least to begin with (I don’t know if they fixed it).

          I spent quite a long time being adamant that Ubisoft would never stand and deliver always-on DRM-free games, but they did, I rewarded them for doing so by buying two of their newer games (at £5 each, mind, I’m still sore about being ripped off over Splinter Cell: Conviction). I’m pretty sure I’ll get AC: Revelations when it drops below £10, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier likewise, this and AC3, provided they are actually all good games.

      • benkc says:

        Really? The last game I played from them (From Dust) had controls that didn’t work and menus that were invisible. Is that really atypical of their PC releases?

  4. General Frags says:

    The question remains will this be on the PC?, They only demoed the PS3 version I believe.

  5. Jimbo says:

    This looked great. Actually most of the stuff at the Ubisoft conference looked pretty good.

  6. protospork says:

    Reminds me of Enter The Matrix. Even to the point where the driving looked similarly awful.

    (I loved Enter The Matrix. Stop judging me.)

  7. Swanny says:

    The question is, will it have crippling DRM?

    • RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

      Of course it will. This time it would fit perfectly in the ‘everything is connected’ theme. And every time the Ubisoft servers go down, it’ll simply enhance the immersion.

      • Lacero says:

        When the servers go down your phone stops working.

        edit: noticed the internet inexperienced might believe I had some secret info or knew something by looking at this post. No I’m making a bad joke. Though Ubi haven’t done much to earn optimism here with Anno2070.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      It’d be nice if they announced a partnership with GoG, and repented their evil DRM ways..

      Didn’t it do rather nicely from Rayman, DRM-lessness

    • Skabooga says:

      This brings up the the funny idea that Ubisoft is releasing a game with what I assume to be an anti-establishment, anti-hero hacker; in a sense they are glorifying such activities, or at least making it look cool. So it makes it that much more understandable should some enterprising programmers take it upon themselves to crack the game’s DRM.

      • ulix says:

        Ubisoft isn’t using “always-on” anymore. Haven’t used it in Rayman Origins, don’t use it in Ghost recon Future Soldier.

        Most likely won’t use it in AssCreed 3 or any other future game.

        • grundus says:

          They also patched it out of AC: Brotherhood and it wasn’t in Driver: San Fran, so they’ve been doing it for a while before your examples.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      I was wondering this. I suspect they decided to make the RPS hivemind’s idea of a perfect game, just to see how many would crack and buy it despite their “Never-buy-Ubi” pledges from DRM.

  8. DevilSShadoW says:

    This was the best surprise of this years E3 so far. It looks amazing.

    • Drayk says:

      It may look amazing but i am a bit disappointed by the second half of the trailer.

      At first I thought it was a game based on infiltration and extorting answers, exposing killers or criminals, discovering connections. More an investigation game if you want.

      But then the guy proceed to cause a crash accident, killing people to exact some kind of revenge, making him no better than the guy he run after.

      Could still be interesting.

      • LionsPhil says:

        We could always wind expectations even higher and hope it allows multiple solutions/a technical pacifist route.

        • FunkyBadger3 says:

          Surely if the real world has taught us anything its that technological pacifism does not solve “problems” such as man with gun killing man without gun…

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Yes, what is that all about? “Oh, lets just kill a few dozen bystanders to get some revenge”? I really don’t want to be close to people getting all “into character” while playing that one. :O

      • skyturnedred says:

        To be fair, he did save that one guy from the car after the driver got killed by stray bullets.

        • Aedrill says:

          …in a shootout he started. This is my main concern with this game. Will the solutions be linear? Do I HAVE TO cause this crash, or can I wait in some quiet place, lure the target and then kill him? I don’t even mind shooting and all this action, I just want to have freedom of choice.

  9. JerreyRough says:

    Supposedly its supposed to be for “Next-Gen Systems and PC”. I don’t have a source on that one so take it with a grain of salt, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Especially with the amount of detail, physics, and spontaneous interactions (i.e. NPC’s helping other NPC’s in the traffic pileup).

    EDIT: No doubt about a downsized version for PS3 though (probably 360 too).

  10. Brosepholis says:

    2 points:
    - It’s not cyberpunk, because it’s missing both cybernetics and a dystopian aesthetic.
    - It looks almost too good to be true; it would take a team of 500 several years to keep up the same level of fidelity found in this demo across a whole open world game. Unless the rest of the game involves doing this mission over and over, I don’t think the minute to minute gameplay is going to be very much like this.

    Bonus point: EA missed a trick by announcing SimCity early. They should have kept it up their sleeves for E3. As it was, their keynote was really bland and predictable. I won’t even go into microsoft’s atrocity.

  11. arioch says:

    The E3 play video was pretty jaw dropping…

    My only questions are – how linear is it? and is it multi-player?

    For instance he did an amazing thing at some traffic lights, causing cars to crash into each other by changing signals. I wonder if that is purely a mechanic for that quest, or whether I can walk up to any junction and do that… I sincerely hope the latter!

    As for the multi-player thing – the video shows the game zoomed out and other people protecting the protagonist as he makes his escape from previously mentioned crash site. It seemed to insinuate these people were controlled by other people, and not computer controlled… God if this is correct then the game could be truly stunning.

    Keeping my fingers (and all other limbs/digits!) crossed for a PC version!

    • StranaMente says:

      I was wondering how scripted that sequence was too, to be fair.

      • Araxiel says:

        I’m a sceptic, too. It all seems to ‘smooth’ to be not fully scripted (meaning every vehicle has a designated place and whatnot). I guess that because the player is too much “roleplaying” and “acting”.

        A real player would run around in circles, then bumping into the pedestrian. Then try to get into a vehicle and try to drive the enemies over. Of course that fails and the player just bumps around the other vehicles, including the one with the target. The player than continues to throw some grenades. He then probably goes into cover, then out of cover, then changes cover, changes cover back because that’s not what he wanted to do. Then jumps over the cover. Junps back because it was a bad idea. Throws another grenade. Kills the last guy by spraying bullets. And in the club, the player would walk over the sofas, jump around, bump into others. Explore the enviroment etc.

        What I’m saying is that a real player creates much more chaos. And that is why I’m such a sceptic. Chaos is hard, by it’s very nature, to compute and to anticipate. I can already see the “drag out of car animation” clipping through other cars that were bumped around due to the player’s actions.

        • Fuzzball says:

          That…I hope you don’t play like that. I’ve never known anyone retarded enough to play like that.

          • MD says:

            Yeah, man. Messing around in a game? Exploring the environment? You sound like some kind of dangerous idiot.

            True gamers knuckle down and follow that objective marker. Grimly.

          • Gonefornow says:

            Real MEN watch MOVIES.

          • Araxiel says:

            Well, that’s how I play GTA4 and Just Cause 2. Any other way, would be boring. I also seldomly walk in games, like they do in the video. Even in Assassin’s Creed, I sprint 90% of the time.

        • Harlander says:

          Well, for their demo, especially this early, they’re not going to show someone messing around like a doofus for the very reason it’d show up all the soft points in their model

          • Araxiel says:

            Of course they’re not messing around in the demo. And obviously they didn’t walk over the tables and put buckets on peoples heads during the Skyrim demo at GamesCom last year. But that’s how people act. And the think is I could imagine player messing around with the setting during the Skyrim demo. I could imagine me jumping around, walking off the given path and explore around. And when the game came out people did those things, and it made the game even more enjoyable. Because Skyrim is so unrestricted.

            I can’t see how Dog Watchers will give us any freedom but still be intense at the same time. Sure, they can pull all this off in a game, not saying it’s impossible. But what we see is either not actual gameplay and only one huge script sequence or they will put the player in such a tight corset, that fun (or my fun) will suffocate.

            If there’s something I learned ofer the last couple of years is that those alleged “Gameplay” trailers have to be approached very, very carefuly. I’m rather pleasantly surprised if they pull it of, then be dissapointed by the gazillionth time when a game does not life up to the developers(/publishers) promises (read “hype”).

        • Xardas Kane says:

          What Harlander said, OF COURSE they won’t mess with the game during a demo?! To be honest I didn’t see too much that couldn’t be done in a non-scripted fashion, but some of the pedestrians the main character saved did seem a tiny bit scripted. Still, for a first demo and coming completely out of nowhere, this looks really amazing.

    • Jimbo says:

      You can see he has ‘Fuck with traffic lights’ as one of his powers, so I’d imagine you can walk up to any intersection and essentially trigger a pile up if you want. I don’t see anything about that which would be that hard necessarily. The bit that made it seem questionable to me was the cutscene with the target after he pulled him out of the car – what if the player had decided to go about it some other way (like just waiting for him in the club)?

      I think the part where it pulled out directly from there to multiplayer was a little more conceptual. I would not expect those two gameplay segments to be one and the same thing.

      • Fox89 says:

        This is an odd one because although it did LOOK scripted, I could see so many places in that gameplay where it looked like I could mess with the events. He used his traffic light ability to cause that crash. What if he hadn’t used it? I doubt that would have been a fail state. It looked like he might have just been able to shoot the guy through the car window as well. What if he’d waited in the building instead of heading outside? I’m cautiously optimistic that there may be a legit amount of unscriptedness…

        I guess it’s the mark of a good game trailer when you want to know more. And I want to know more about this game. Oh god I want to know more…

    • leokhorn says:

      I’ve found something that says at least the demo they made has the car crash scene heavily scripted:
      http://www.gametrailers.com/video/e3-2012-watch-dogs/731080

      This is a different playthrough and if you compare the two car crash scenes, you’ll notice it happens exactly the same, except cars are of different colors (but even the models seem identical)… and they both have the “save the guy”. They also both have the “new car with bad guys screeches in” thing.
      The guy playing did a few things differently, but mostly stuck to his script :) I can imagine them rehearsing the whole thing over and over.

      I just hope it’s a restriction they put for the demo only to make sure it goes smoothly and that game will be more random.

  12. Monkeh says:

    Always great to see a good looking new IP! Fingers crossed it’ll be PC only.. :P

    • ulix says:

      Yeah, because these pesky console “gamers” (they call themselves “gamers”?) should not be allowed to have any fun, at all.

      Since they’re an inferior race and all.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      Word ulix. If you ask me, all games should come out on all platforms, and exclusives should be banned from the face of the earth, PC or otherwise. Except strategy games, those just don’t work on consoles.

  13. Gap Gen says:

    I was watching live, and yes, amazing. Ubisoft win E3. Hopefully there’s a button to hack the DRM, though. Also, if this is confirmed for PC, best news ever.

    • Meusli says:

      I don’t know what it is but I applied for some tickets. Felt like the right thing to do.

    • dsi1 says:

      Ah, I was planning to scan that code but got a bit distracted.

      I wonder… ARG?

      Ooh request an invitation to the exhibit you say? Sure ubi I’ll call your bluff.

  14. Auldreekie says:

    At least it’s gameplay, mostly.
    The Microsoft press conference bombarded me with a whole load of exploding bollocks and QTE. I hope the games they were presenting actually have some gameplay outside of the interactive cutscenes/films they are trying to turn games into.
    Doesn’t look that spectacular to be honest, you can’t even shoot 5 guys sequentially in mid flight above a crate of cover while hacking enemies.

  15. Fox89 says:

    What can I say that hasn’t already been said? If this delivers on the potential shown here, it will be absolutely phenomenal. But I’m going to dial back my hopes and expectations, because I seem to remember saying exactly the same thing a few years ago about another Ubisoft franchise… something about Assassin’s?

  16. pakoito says:

    So over-the-top hyperviolent mostly-lineal non-realistic shooter with a hacking mechanic. Not my piece of cake, but I understand the appeal for others. It is still Ubi bullshit so I wouldn’t even poke it with a laser pointer duct-taped to a long stick placed in the deepest rift of the moon.

    • ulix says:

      Because the developer played it in a certain way for this presentation, it must be linear. Of course! Makes total sense.

      Also, the various points were he could use some of his hacking abilities, but doesn’t, clearly point toward total linearity…

    • Timthos says:

      It’s likely open world. There is a mini-map with a compass, and at the end of the demo, he drives off into the city.

  17. Diggidy says:

    In the Stage demo, the presenter finished by running towards the cops where the helicopter put the spotlight on him and it cut to a different character being told to protect him.

    In the Youtube link above, it ends with the first character jumping into a car, changing all the lights to green and using the raising bridge to jump.

    Only a slight difference, but it might give some clues as to the scripting – it certainly DOES look like I can use all those cool gadgets at will, (like changing the lights at random intersections), and makes it very very clear that this has a sandbox-style city to play in.

    Count me interested.

    • pakoito says:

      You can’t sandbox that, period. You *could* do minigames for the city and stuff, but you cannot achieve that much character interaction in videogames, yet.

      • Fox89 says:

        Please. SimCity is doing exactly the same thing from a top down perspective. Rule 1: Allow players to change traffic lights. Rule 2: Cars will stop at reds, drive at greens. Rule 3: Cars collide with each other. It’s not difficult to create simple systems like that that you CAN put in a sandbox environment.

        I’m certainly not 100% convinced, but what we saw here is very VERY intriguing. I think we’re at the stage where they *could* pull it off… maybe.

        • pakoito says:

          Physics interaction, sure. Balls have been colliding other balls for years. AI interaction and awareness of surrounding scene is another biscuit.

          • LionsPhil says:

            The whole vehicle part of the traffic-lights hack is pretty trivial, though. The impressive (but probably mudcrabs-esque scripted) parts are things like the guy with the umbrella backing out of the way, then going over to a crash victim to help.

            Makes you wonder what happens if you do a silly dance between the cameraman and the news anchor. Will you notice, virtual puppets?

          • pakoito says:

            When I am confronted with a new game, I try to obviate the graphics and think about gameplay: Given enough time, can that game be done in Xbox/PS2? This one surely can, so color me unimpressed.

          • Jimbo says:

            It all follows a very specific trigger from the player though, so I can’t imagine it would be that hard to ‘massage’ the nearest half a dozen cars into each other and then have the nearest pedestrian run over to the nearest crashed driver or whatever. It’ll be impressive the first one or two times you see it.

          • Fox89 says:

            Make up your mind pakoito. A few minutes ago “Videogames can’t do that yet”, and now all of a sudden “you could do that on a PS2/Xbox”. Which is it?

          • pakoito says:

            I am sorry you misread me, allow me to re-explain myself. This game could be replicated in PS2. The game a lot of people have in mind this is cannot be done yet in any platform.

            Sauce: Stanford’s AI class. If you have a fully aware automaton you would be contacted by the military that very afternoon.

          • Araxiel says:

            Who says that this is a full AI? It’s not that incredibly hard to pull of. If the player uses one of his gadgets, let a script run that spawns vehicles around the corners and let them crash. Then activate a script that let’s nearby pedestrians run to the closest vehicle and execute the “save guy in vehicle”-animation.

            What we see on the other hand is something completly diffrent. (See my other reply)

          • gwathdring says:

            But the sort of interaction in that video could theoretically be achieved with a lot of scripting. You don’t need sentient AI … you just need to have so many scripted events hooked up to so many easily copied triggers that it creates a better simulation of advanced AI. It just would stop to be impressive after a while, because too many of the actors in the crowd behave in similar ways and eventually you’ve heard all the different voice extras and all the different lines. But for a first playthrough with a reasonable about of sandbox muckery and side-mission wandering? Could feel very much like that trailer. And it could still be miles better than previous sandbox games in any case. We’ll find out eventually, right?

            Edit: ninja’d by Arxaiel.

          • Dave L. says:

            Saints Row 2 had ambient AI behaviours that weren’t too far off from this. Car collision sends out an event beacon with a certain radius, any AI caught in it react with one of a handful of preset actions. In Saints it was usually ‘fall over backwards, scream, run away,’ but ‘take surprised step back, run to nearest car, open door, play ‘Are you okay?’ bark’ ain’t exactly a hard thing to script.

          • aldo_14 says:

            The game a lot of people have in mind this is cannot be done yet in any platform.

            Sauce: Stanford’s AI class. If you have a fully aware automaton you would be contacted by the military that very afternoon.

            Not necessarily. Just model each entity – i.e. person – in the game as a BDI agent with a reasonably diverse set of genericised plan templates (alongside the generic stuff – run away, run towards, etc). FYI, a BDI agent isn’t that far off from scripting (at the basest level it is indeed a trigger-response approach), but it allows incorporation of some of Wooldridges aspects of intelligence – particularly both proactive and reactive behaviour.

            You don’t need to make the agents fully aware, merely just define an appropriately diverse set of desires and form a suitable plan library (and the latter is purely because dynamic planning is overkill for this sort of thing; even chaining together small fixed plan recipes would probably produce a reasonable simalcrum of behaviour).

            I’m sure your AI class would have taught you that the hardest part of AI in the real world is linking perception with inference, leading to understanding (i.e. awareness). In an artificial world like a game, that sort of data is far more readily available and can be tailored specifically for processing. You could possibly even use the games environmental simulation logic to just generate lots of different scenarios for offline planning.

          • Giaddon says:

            It’s quite clear that the cars that hit the target car are generated by the player triggering the traffic light ability. You can see that the street is totally empty a few moments before the player activates the hack, and then five or so cars spawn and crash into the intersection. You can see the headlights on the front car magically appear. No need for fancy AI hijinks.

  18. Moni says:

    There’s a “Violence Probability” meter. Winner.

  19. Giggity says:

    Is it just me or does this game look heavily scripted? (NPC interactions, car accident)

    • Theon says:

      I like to believe it’s not, on the basis of what I’ve seen in GTA IV;
      That world can seem pretty lively outside cutscenes.

      Come to think of it, the graphics really looked like GTA IV with good ENB settings.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      I would imagine the delicately scripted interactions might get a little stilted by the time you’ve heard them 50 times.

  20. thecaptain says:

    Probably the closest thing I’ll get to something that feels like a new Syndicate(+/- Wars). (eg: bringing mayhem to a tranquil near-urban-future, and related sci-fi hijinks.)

  21. mangrove says:

    Very nice!

    A proper game for proper people.

    • pakoito says:

      Ubi pulling a Rockstar, so expect a review in the same lines of Max Payne 3 or LA Noire. The technical stuff is there, the design document is pretty clear and the game is as soul-less as your toaster.

      • Fox89 says:

        I’ve taught my toaster to feel love…

      • PodX140 says:

        So this guy is the new anti-khemm?

        Souless? No offence, but that cutscene POURED soul, and in those 30 seconds I felt all the naunces of the other assassin, and it was ORGANIC. Similar to the rest of the world, it just felt alive.

        Also, before you cry “Ubi = souless” you may want to look at D:SF, because that game was incredible. Not only gameplay, mechanics, and story, but also the sidequest’s “lore/backstory” and just the feel of the world.

  22. LionsPhil says:

    It’s damn stylish, and I like the crowds. Hell, if they’re even half as good in actual play, I love the crowds. Nice coat physics, too. And how he sheilds his face from the helicopter searchlight, which I desperately want to believe is some kind of blended procedural animation. And, natch, hacky-thinky gameplay, perhaps.

    Shame about the aformentioned resorting to cover-and-gunplay, awkward off-centre should-cam, the cutscenery (although it’s not too badly written or acted, which is always a pleasant surprise for games, and doesn’t seem to be interrupting the game flow), and the inevitable obnoxious DRM.

    • ulix says:

      And to you I also say: Ubisoft isn’t using “obnoxious” DRM anymore. At least not if you don’t consider what everyone else does obnoxious.

      Rayman Origins: DRM free!
      Ghost recon: One time online activation with uPlay account (NO “always on” DRM bullshit).

    • chackosan says:

      Actually, if you pointed your flashlight at Alyx’s face during the dark sections of HL2:EP1, she’d squint and shield her face with her hand, so it’s definitely possible to implement.

  23. Theon says:

    My faith in humanity has been restored.
    Which is quite a feat, after all those horrible presentations.

    Here’s to hoping Ubisoft won’t shoot themselves in the feet with an Always-Online DRM.
    Because I will pirate it if they do, and so will many other potential day-1 buyers.

  24. ColOfNature says:

    Kotaku says it’s since been confirmed for PC, and some of those current-gen console thingies the kids like.

  25. Xzi says:

    Count me in the highly impressed category. And of course this is going to be on the PC. There’s nothing else that they could be currently developing it for to make it look that good without severe FPS hitching. And assuming they want anyone to experience a final product that still looks as good as that demo, the PC is the obvious choice.

    Of course, maybe Sony and M$ have given them the development tools for the PS4/Xbox 720 or what have you, but it’s pretty unlikely that they’d already be showing footage like this were that the case.

  26. Walter Heisenberg says:

    The future is now!

  27. Muzman says:

    Um, jesus.

    Kind of wrecks Human Revolution there, by the looks. Although first it has to be released.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      Kind of looks like a different game…

      • Muzman says:

        mm, a better one.

        • GTRichey says:

          DE:HR was a brilliant sequel/prequel to a well loved game. As such much of the feel and mechanics were predetermined. This is brand new IP with a brilliant looking demo (though I’m wary because these demos tend to be developed separately and specifically for events like E3 and are rarely useable for the final product). I’m happy to live in a world where publishers seem to be willing to take risks on games like either of these, let alone both (and yes HR was less risky because they called it Deus Ex, but after so many years that didn’t really mean all that much and in some ways harmed the final product).

        • HisMastersVoice says:

          Both have hacking mechanics. That’s a rather tenuous connection. If anything, it looks more like an open world Alpha Protocol.

  28. Hoaxfish says:

    Running on PC was just confirmed on twitter of someone… here.

    Game looked sweet, up until the slightly generic gun fight.

    • Xzi says:

      People always call gunplay generic in games, but I’m not sure what exactly they expect to be improved about it. Point at head and click is about as good as it gets. Sure, you can change elements outside of that, such as weapon/character customization and what have you, but the shooting itself is still going to be the same. So what I would recommend to anyone who says they don’t like that part is to simply not play shooters. Even TF2 is has the same idea behind it, and it’s great.

      I can understand if you expected this to be a game with more melee-oriented combat, but that’s even more difficult to pull off correctly. Usually gets a lot more tedious than shooting does, a lot quicker.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Isn’t that somewhat the point, though? There are lots of (fun) games with clicking on heads. This one would probably have had more wow factor of the protagonist couldn’t fall back on it as anything but a not-entirely-effectual last resort—think Hitman on a good day, or the original Mission Impossible series.

        His standard-shooter-superpowers crack-shot sliding-across-bonnets-shrugging-off-bullets routine is a bit of a letdown compared to all the other interesting things going on.

      • Shooop says:

        What they can do is give alternatives to just shooting. Third-person shooting by its very nature is boring unless you’re playing as a guy named Max who munches painkillers like M&Ms.

        The messing with electronic devices all around you is the big draw, so why not expand that to the point of making shooting a more direct, less fun option?

      • Fuzzball says:

        But the point of these types of games (or at least, the type of game I’m hoping this is) is that you can approach your mission, objective, or target however you like. If you don’t like the shooting mechanics, then hopefully you’ll be able to complete the mission creatively without shooting a damn thing. The traffic lights is a good example of this; if it was dynamic and not scripted, then maybe you could simply get DeMarco to die in the crash. If the demo player was playing it real shootery he probably wouldn’t have hacked anything. I’m sure he could have shot DeMarco while he was waiting at the lights.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        I guess what I actually expected was a less “fanciful” version of combat, if there was any at all.

        e.g. The original Thief made direct combat pretty lethal, as did Max Payne (sure you could slow time, but a single bullet could kill you if it hit you in the right way).

        This combat just starts with him taking a handful of bullets, some slow-time, etc… the most immediately thought after that is that it’s Assassin’s Creed with guns and smartphones.

  29. Harlander says:

    That was very impressive. I enjoyed the little factoids that came up on the gallery patrons, and the reactions of people caught up in the car crash. Too bad I can smell the smoke from the GPU of a PC I haven’t even bought yet from serving up all that shininess

  30. sinister agent says:

    I’m finding it very hard indeed to find anything significant to complain about in that video. Very impressive indeed. About time someone made a reality-based world that can hold a candle to GTA4′s. And then some, it seems. And then all the gameplay elements on top, plus surely, surely lots of interesting potential for social commentary. Hard to believe a sinister behemoth like Ubi would be willing to give this a shot, let alone showcase it.

  31. somini says:

    Ubisoft hasn’t been using Always-On DRM since AC:Brotherhood, nad has patched most of the games. Not saying that it was a mistake, it’s just not true anymore.

    As to the game, if this is just half of what it promises, it’s already a winner.

    • malkav11 says:

      That’s not true. They had it on Driver, and IIRC that or something almost as awful on From Dust, though they eventually backed down on it to the “only phones home every startup” level Brotherhood uses (which is still unacceptable, but less so). And have never removed it from games like Silent Hunter V and Settlers VII(?), that I know of.

      • ulix says:

        It is true though that they don’t use it anymore. Their last two PC releases (Rayman & Ghost Recon) didn’t have it.

        • malkav11 says:

          They’ve been incredibly inconsistent about just what form of DRM they use on any given product, so until they issue a blanket statement that their games will be DRM-free, it’s still a legitimate concern for any upcoming Ubisoft PC release.

  32. Snuffy the Evil says:

    If the actual game is half as good as that trailer I will still enjoy every minute.

  33. Mollusc Infestation says:

    Nice of him to *rescue* that guy from his car. Good to see a compassionate protagonist.

    Also, this game is somewhat intriguing (even if i do seem to recognise that level from at least 2 Deus Ex games).

    • Mattressi says:

      I have to assume you’re using sarcasm, right? The main character caused the traffic jam that killed all those innocent people. Helping one injured person get away from a gunfight doesn’t make you very compassionate, if it was you that injured them and killed their loved-one :/

      • Hidden_7 says:

        Less resolutely sociopathic, then.

      • Jarl Hamburger says:

        I hope it was sarcasm too. The idea of causing a car crash and killing other civilians is terrible. Especially when you actually see the passenger saying, “God, please no!” to someone who is clearly a loved one. Yeesh, that was heart wrenching to watch.

        • Kollega says:

          I agree that causing a massive car crash and possibly killing more than a few people is not at all heroic, but in this day and age of Internet cynicism, that’s about as heroic as our “heroes” will get. :-/

      • kalelovil says:

        The car crash didn’t look particularly violent (apart from the petrol station exploding).
        It’s the gunfight initiated by the antagonists which killed the person in the car at 7:10. The protagonist saved the other person in that car by pulling them out of the line of fire when they weren’t in a state of mind to that themselves.

        • Mattressi says:

          Even if the passenger was killed during the gunfight, that doesn’t mean it was a good or heroic thing to cause the car crash. If no one died, they would all be very lucky. Either way, the protagonist directly causes an incident which has a high chance of killing innocents. If anything, the protagonist should be hunting himself.

          • LionsPhil says:

            It will be interesting to see if the writing is doing that fanatic-with-lack-of-self-awareness thing on purpose, and if it can handle it well. (Especially if all our wildest dreams are true and it’s possible to play as less of a sociopath.)

            (Also, while the Bad Guys shot the guy’s wife, they were shooting in that direction in the first place because the protagonist took cover behind their car.)

      • Mollusc Infestation says:

        Sarcasm? I don’t think anyone uses that any more.

        Given a choice though i would much prefer to have the option to play as a sociopath, even if it is slightly narrative breaking. I’m holding out hope for a non-lethal option, if indeed this game is as interesting as it looks.

  34. LionsPhil says:

    Also, I’m sure that “you’re going to deliver a message for me *bang*” shows up in a film, but I really can’t remember which. Hivemind?

  35. wodin says:

    Looks good. As for everyone moaning about UBI DRM, there are places you can download things to get around it you know.

  36. Vraptor117 says:

    In two years when this gets released, the powers will only be useful at scripted times and in semi-scripted situations, shooting will be 95% of the game, the story will be rewritten and dumbed-down, the “open world” will become a series of corridors, and 3 of the coolest powers will be pre-order bonuses (available later for just $9.99!)

    Or it will get canceled.

    /Why yes, I am a cynical prick.

    • pakoito says:

      How can you dumb down that story even more? “Fuck mickey, you are cruzy going for that guy using yourself as baiiit”

      • gwathdring says:

        Er … we didn’t really see the story. We glimpsed a bit of it. And I actually thought the dialog and acting was pretty good. They seemed like people, and they didn’t seem artificially expository. Not the most eloquent, interesting people … but that’s ok because those people can exist in an interesting world, story and/or game.

        If you disagree, then I’m going cheat and pull the awful “Well, compared to MOST games” card. Because I played and enjoyed Oblivion. And I still have ears and a clean psyche eval.

  37. Shooop says:

    Interesting ideas bouncing around, but expanding the “play with other people’s electronics” and dropping that atrociously generic gunfight would make me much more interested. The burst of slow-motion during the shooting just about ruined the whole thing.

  38. Soon says:

    Whoa, where the hell did this come from? And is this some tailor-made proof of concept?

  39. HeavyStorm says:

    You know what… I doubt it. IT being this trailer. Since it’s Ubi stuff, my guess is a Assassin’s Creed The First kind of disappointment. A bunch of cool ideas mixed together forming a mess.

    Sure, it looks fantastic. But tell me, do you expect it work that way? Why was the car coming exactly when he left the building? He had to, isn’t it obvious? And what would happen if he didn’t left, or if he choose to leave through the main door? Or hack that woman’s cellphone?

    Oh, and what’s with the gun delivery boy? A guy like that need to get the gun from someone else?? Couldn’t he bring it himself!?

    No no no. A big part of me hope for a crazy innovative and mind blowing game like this. But all the rest tells me that this is going to be a disappointment.

    (yep, I lost my faith…)

    • HeavyStorm says:

      And I forgot to mention: VIOLENCE PROBABIlLITY? Like, what? A hacker that does what, enters the human brain? Or a mega super impossible computer that makes a complete analysis of the situation and determines why the guy will kick the protagonist ass?

      • SirKicksalot says:

        I assume the car was coming *because* he left the building. Perhaps it features some briefing a la Hitman, or the first Assassin Creed’s map and intel (which nobody seems to use except me).

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Actually there is a tiny bit of realism in the “violence probability”. You could have either a “gun detector” based off some sort of metal detector. An “aggression detector” based off of facial recognition/hormone detection (not very likely I’ll admit). Or an easy one, detect peoples calls, texts and tweets in the local and check for words such as “get him” etc. The last would be easy to pick up, and there are already certain twitter searching Apps you can get.

      • aldo_14 says:

        If it’s set in the near future, it’s not too improbably – there’s actually work being done to recognise emotional state from body language (not just for things like anti-terrorism, but also for evaluating learning), and the protagonist clearly has access to personal history (it says ‘military reservist’ – so let’s say he has access to military psych evaluations, or criminal reports, etc).

        Yeah, giving the exact number is a bit daft, but it’s not too bad to have some sort of danger warning. But if it says, say ’75% probability’ it should mean you safely just walk past him around a quarter of the time, and that you can choose to avoid getting in a fight (also, that fighting carries a real risk); otherwise it’s not any different from just going around removing red blips from the map like GTA.

    • ulix says:

      If he wouldn’t have left the building the guy he was supposed to kill would have come into the building, as is obvious if you’ve watched the thing and actually payed attention to it.

      Probably couldn’t risk bringing a gun in the first place sind the goons of his victim already knew him and who he was.

      • LionsPhil says:

        He slips past them without ever being searched anyway, though, and doesn’t end up using the gun until he’s outside again.

        I just hope that’s mutiple-paths open-world-ness making that look silly and redundant (i.e. the [mocked up] player chose to take the firefight outside anyway), rather than bad writing.

  40. kibble-n-bullets says:

    So am I the only one thinking that being a hundred feet from an exploding gas station (around the 8:02 mark) would be too hot? Is that too picky?

  41. jellydonut says:

    It’s Ubisoft, so I’ll stay skeptical.

  42. woodsey says:

    It reminded me a lot of the first iteration of Splinter Cell: Conviction which they canned (and which looked infinitely more interesting than the eventual game we got).

  43. Adventurous Putty says:

    My pants got a little wet when I saw the “control train” button. Oh God please be legitimately unscripted.

  44. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Idk. It LOOKS incredible, and yea that was running on a PC, no way can you get that level of graphical fidelity on a console. I’d go as far to say that this one looks like a bit of a system hog.

    I just can’t see the gameplay from that, it really depends how much it holds your hand, I couldn’t see any prompts telling the player to do what they were doing, except for the over the radio, story embedded ones, which are fine as long as they aren’t too frequent, which they didn’t seem to be in that demo.

    The shooting I’m guessing is snap-to GTA style combat, judging from how accurate the player was in confusing combat scenarios where you have enemies and civilians every where. Which is fine I guess.

    The execution style stuff like at the end of the club bit, or the bit where he vaulted the car and capped the guy I’m guessing are single button presses, which is ok as long as there’s a level of timing and freedom in their use, and it’s not “hey, now press E to win, or don’t press E and you loose” like it is in a lot of modern games.

    Certainly looks very promising though.

  45. Mattressi says:

    Did I misunderstand something, or did the main character kill and injure dozens of innocent people (like in the traffic accident he caused), just so that he could murder someone who was acquitted of soliciting murder?? He even has some kind of vigilante speech at the start, which makes it sound like he’s trying to be a superhero, or something. Then he goes on to murder and maim a large number of innocent people. He should’ve just nuked the whole city; that would have made sure he got his target. Seriously, have I missed something in this? To me it was a vigilante killing significant numbers of innocents in the attempt to right a wrong. I’d have no issue if the character was portrayed as a hitman or similar (at least his actions would have been consistent with his goal), but he seemed to think he was doing the morally right thing, to me.

    • ffordesoon says:

      BUT HE’S AN ANTIHERO, DON’T YOU SEE!?

      Yeah, it was pretty morally wonky. But, then, so is Assassin’s Creed. The important thing from a writing perspective is, the dialogue sounded like things that human beings who exist on this planet have actually said, hackneyed last line notwithstanding. That alone puts it above the writing in, what, ninety percent of games? The performances were film-quality too. I hope that means the story is about the repercussions of the hero’s gravelly-voiced antics, instead of just window-dressing for the carnage. But, you know, if said carnage is as fun as it looks, I’ll gladly swallow whatever bullshit story they want me to buy in exchange for directing that craziness myself.

      I feel you, though. The thing I liked about Prototype was that it basically cast you as an emotionless sociopath, a literal virus pretending to be human. The thing I hated about it was that the writers didn’t seem to realize who they were writing about. I had hoped the end of the story would be about Alex Mercer’s acceptance of his monstrous nature, but he was instead portrayed as the same bullshit growly antihero most open-world games force you to be in the name of player gratification.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      I liked how you could ‘rescue’ the guy in the car. Nevermind that you’d just caused the death of his wife.

    • Mattressi says:

      Perhaps I should give it the benefit of the doubt – maybe it’s simply a playstyle that the game allows, but will punish you for later. It’d be interesting if the main character reflected deep remorse, even psychological trauma because of the actions that the player makes him perform. If, however, he just carries on his merry way, I have quite an issue with the game.

      If you’re going to make your protagonist a moral person who does things because of his strong sense of morality, you can’t just let the player make him kill every innocent person without some kind of repercussions.

    • Xzi says:

      It’s hard to get a good read on the main character in what little we were shown. From my perspective, he’s kinda the “fuck everyone I’m looking out for numero uno” type. But for whatever reason, the murder of this particular person pushed him to seek retribution. Whether it be because that person was someone close to him, or a civil/political leader who was genuinely looking to change things from the top down. And getting that retribution would open up a whole other pandora’s box, causing a network of corruption and corrupt people to come after him. But he was aware of that before he went after this guy, and was absolutely fine with that. So either he’s pushed to the edge and has accepted that this very well may lead to his death, or he has a much grander plan in mind, and the murder of this individual is something he believes to be worth a deeper vendetta.

      To simplify: think something like Marv’s story from Sin City. It’s one possibility, anyway. Again, we won’t know until we can hear more about the story.

      • tomeoftom says:

        Pretty sure he could have just waited for the target to get out of the car, and then shot him, without murdering several innocent people.

        Or caused a red light so he could run up to the car and shoot the occupants (it’s not bulletproof glass – he smashed it apart with his elbow).

        Or – I don’t know – remotely slammed on the (perhaps electronic, given the auto-reversing cars rich people have nowadays) brakes to knock the occupants unconscious.

        Or disabled the engine, activated the alarm, and stuck the air-con on sauna-hot so that they get out of the car to open the hood, at which point they can be shot from afar.

        Or made the fuel gauge appear empty and redirected the GPS so they went into the petrol station next to the lights – as they filled the tank he could have engaged the starter and sparked an explosion.

        Or hacked the sound and light system in the club to deafen and blind everyone while he shot him inside.

        The violence against civilians here is just weird, because it’s acknowledged in the game’s universe – both mechanically (the fact you have a “crash intersection” command) and narratively (the guy that you “rescue” and his wife you murdered) – *without* either demonising the protagonist as monstrous. It’s not a funny thing like in GTAIV or Saints’ Row, nor an intentionally psychopathic thing like Prototype. Just a bit sickening.

        • Mattressi says:

          Yeah, that’s my view. I’m fine with games like GTA where the protagonist kills innocents; because he isn’t pretending to be a good guy in any way. It’s just when games try to portray the protagonist as a good guy, who also causes a huge amount of collateral damage. It almost seems like a sickening “ends justifies the means” moral, which is absurd when the protagonist is probably killing more innocents than the bad guys are. Especially when, as you said, there are so many more options that the protagonist could take which wouldn’t result in risking so many lives.

  46. kud13 says:

    I’m curious about this.

    Ubisoft seems quite eager to take advantage of the fact that EA went back to giving us reasons to hate it so much to try to slip back into people’s good graces.

    I like the “modern noir/hacker-punk” setting. I’m curious to see if they can make the hacking ideas work in a more open system, not 100% constrained by linear mission structure.

    This requires further cautious attention.

  47. ffordesoon says:

    It looks incredible.

    I predict a 6/10, or worse. I really hope I’m wrong.

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