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. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    Wow, what an unsympatheic protagonist. DeMarco must have been pretty dangerous to warrant murdering a random bunch of drivers like that. Also very odd that pulling the guy out of the car counted as ‘rescuing’ him. It’s like getting points for shooting someone in the leg, then bandaging it.

  2. Avish says:

    The game looked quite interesting, up to the car crash. I thought he was going to force a red light and than sneak to car and implant a tracking device, so he can kill the guy in more convenient place than “the center of Chicago”.

    But no – they have to ruin everything with big explosions, silly gun fights and massive collateral damage.

    • Xzi says:

      You have a very odd definition of “ruin it.” In a book, yes, that would very much ruin the scene with how it was set up previously. In this game, however, it was AHHSUM.

      Give someone a cookie, and they’ll eat it and smile. Give a gamer a cookie, and they’ll complain that there aren’t any sprinkles on it.

      • Avish says:

        I meant they ruined it for me :)
        I actually thought it was AHSUMMM up to the point I mentioned above (accident, collateral damage).

        I also think that the average gamer is starving for something different.

      • wererogue says:

        I think you mean “spinkles” :v

  3. RakeShark says:

    I really liked the facial nuance of the cohort at the art exhibit. You could see gears turning in his head. Telegraphed perhaps, but that is definitely a welcome thing.

    Also, nice to see a game set in Chicago proper. I was following along easily heading west on Lake Street through the Dearborn bridge jump. Can’t miss the Marina Towers.

  4. Frostbite says:

    The graphics look good. That’s the only positive thing about the game. Regenerating health, shitty cover system, seemingly linear gameplay, and the red jam screen when hurt put me off of this. Why do designers make these stupid design decisions?

  5. Iskariot says:

    Wow Ubisoft knows how to create something special once in a while.
    This I must have.

  6. Kollega says:

    Tell me now… am i the only person here thinking that the government shouldn’t connect traffic lights directly to the Internet?

    Unless the main character is working for the government, of course, and the ease with which he can snoop on people and wreak havoc on the vital infrastructure is perfectly intentional.

    • Xzi says:

      They’re not connected to the internet. They are connected to a network in most cities, however. Usually DoT (Department of Transportation) or TSA. They do this to monitor outages and traffic flow. Their security protocols aren’t anywhere near as advanced as what military/intelligence agencies have. That much I can almost guarantee.

      • Kollega says:

        What i meant to convey is that the traffic lights are hacked so easily as if they were connected directly to Internet. Surely in real life you can’t just walk up to a crossing with an iPhone, press a button, and disable the lights… can you?

        • Xzi says:

          In most movie/game/book scenarios there’s usually some requirement of willing suspension of disbelief. But theoretically? If you had a script/virus-like program pre-designed and ready to be unleashed with the push of a button, the only real hangup would be insuring that it targeted the right traffic light, and only one traffic light. Granted, that’s a pretty big hangup, but it’s possible that newer traffic lights, like most other hardware connected to a network, would have MAC addresses assigned to each of them individually. That would make the job exponentially easier.

          Again, what it really comes down to is suspension of disbelief. But I’m sure you’ll get to know more about his hardware and his hacking expertise within the game’s story. Fairly certain that whatever he’s using within the game’s mythos is a lot more advanced than an iPhone. xD

          • Kollega says:

            That does sound troubling. I was hoping that in real life, you can’t just waltz up to a crossroads and disable traffic lights with a press of a button that activates a script lying dormant in the city network.

          • LionsPhil says:

            …it’s probably a wired network.

            But this is fiction. Everything can be hax0red because it’s more fun.

          • Premium User Badge

            tomeoftom says:

            The way I internally rationalise it is that he’s connecting to the internet via mobile data (or just the city’s wifi hotspots) and has cracked the DoT intranet-over-web authentication, as if he was at one of their physical terminals – but he can do it from anywhere.

          • Kollega says:

            Yeah, technically the rerouting of a signal from iPhone through the terminals at the DoT headquarters and to the traffic lights sounds plausible.

            It’s still a huge problem if people in real world can do that, though.

          • Mollusc Infestation says:

            More advanced than an iPhone? Like… two iPhones?

  7. Hanban says:

    I will love this game simply because of the coat. I love coats.

  8. JBantha says:

    I was expecting the MIRAMAX logo.

  9. YanDaik says:

    Looks like improved GTA engine RAGE.

  10. Lytinwheedle says:

    So will this game do an ‘I am alive’, and disappear without a trace after a burst of hype a couple of years back? That was also a Ubi game.

  11. Secundus says:

    what a cool idea. cant wait for Ubisoft to fuck it up or make it boring or run it into the ground

  12. Kleppy says:

    Looks unbelievable… the demo had traces of Mafia 2 in the city design. I don’t see this running on current gen platforms though.

  13. sharkh20 says:

    Until the actiony part, this looked very hitman.

  14. Om says:

    Hooray! Another chance to play a gravelly voiced white loner-guy in a trenchcoat. I haven’t been able to do that for ages

    That said, the game does look too good to be true. Even the cut scenes were relatively well written

  15. Quarex says:

    Finally, a game with a dark-haired gravel-voiced ruggedly handsome man as the protagonist.

  16. Simas says:

    Driving and shooting sections kind of ruined the otherwise perfect presentation/trailer.

  17. cylentstorm says:

    So THAT is where Splinter Cell Conviction went. I was wondering why we had to make do with the leftovers.

  18. Jason Moyer says:

    I can believe the game will look like that, but I’m highly skeptical that it will play like that. Remember the first SC:Conviction videos, with Sam Fisher using street clothes to blend in with a crowd, hiding under desks to avoid detection, etc? Yeah.

    I’ll go on record as predicting this will be a third-person shooter in a sandbox with linear “go to the X on your minimap and press Y to hack the traffic light” gameplay.

  19. m2stech says:

    JUST CONFIRMED, It’s coming for PC, PS3 and 360.

  20. Stevostin says:

    Please please please let there be a first person mode or at least modding ability to force it. GTA IV is soooo much better in FPV. Shitty FPV beat the crap of highly polished TPV any day for driving and shooting.

  21. celozzip says:

    looks great sounds great but i imagine the gameplay is very linear, like how many ways into that building were there besides ‘jam communication’? everything looks so scripted too. this is definitely what we were all expecting when conviction was announced though.

  22. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    I thought I was watching a quick time event convention until this was mentioned.

  23. Ghoulie says:

    This looks great, but then again, so did I Am Alive when it was announced.

  24. Lolsmurf says:

    Foggy game, foggy inside, and steamvents on the street every 5 yards…

    Why game devs, why ? People dont like fog !

  25. Zarunil says:

    Color me interested!

  26. MrLakestream says:

    So is this game about dogs with watches or watching dogs? Or watching dogs in the shape of watches?

  27. ekuurh says:

    Looks like a fancy hacky high-tech assassin’s creed.
    White lines that appear in mid air that represent high-techy stuff. Where do I know it from…? Maybe it was in the book “Link”? :)
    I love it.

  28. Exylled says:

    The surprise of the year for me.

  29. Suits says:

    Now if they make the shooting more interesting