Watch Dogs Isn’t About Dogs, It’s About Computers

By Jim Rossignol on August 14th, 2013 at 9:00 am.


Watch Dogs seems like just the game to mark the burgeoning brutal reality of governments around the world using technology as a boot with which to stamp on human faces, forever. It’s a game about a fairly cool trenchcoat maverick-not-playing-by-the-rules guy – I mean I say “fairly cool”, I would never want to look like him, or dress like that, but okay he’s the kind of individualist freedom fighter a nerd like me can get behind – who uses modern things like phones and internets to fight back. He use guns too. They’re like computers that can make holes in stuff. They’ll never go out of fashion for fighting back, right guys?

Right! Anyway, a new wad of glossy commercial trailering reveals a lot more about that hacking stuff as you can see below. Gosh, it looks fancy.

Hacking! Less about spending hours and hours humming to yourself while running a stack of naughty programs, and more about… predicting crime using computers? What? Looks like Ubisoft’s story department has been drinking too many caffeinated beverages again. Oh, you guys.

Watch Dogs is out between the 19th and 22nd of November, depending on which side of the internet you live on.

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74 Comments »

  1. Gesadt says:

    yo dawg why didnt they put dogs in watch dogs. rookie mistake

  2. xmido says:

    Person of Interest: The Game

    • Gallimaufry says:

      Yeah, it really reminds me of Person of Interest as well. Not a bad thing, since I really like that show. Quite looking forward to see more of this game.

    • Don Marcos says:

      Talking about shows and games, but nothing about THIS game in particular, I would love to have a good game about gladiators, ala Spartacus! Not a fighting game, but a RPG of some sort. (sorry for the bad english!)

  3. Maritz says:

    Hmmmm, this ctOS thing sounds far too convenient.

    • Syra says:

      Yes and it saves costs and increases efficiency… weren’t you listening?

  4. baby snot says:

    It’s your choice whether you want to intervene

    Or murder someone with pop up road bollards… for taking a swing at someone?

    • DiamondDog says:

      Stop exaggerating, he only lost the use of his legs.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        ctOS saved the city millions of dollars. That is till Aiden turned up and bankrupted the city with compensation claims. Hackable mobility shops on every corner DLC.

    • Anthile says:

      Never played Assassin’s Creed? They can’t solve anything there either without murdering a dozen people. Just seeing those hexagons again makes me want to flip a table.

      • norfolk says:

        Yeah, me too. It’s a pretty subversive hero myth they indulge in, ‘cuz the protagonist is basically an evil asshole. I’ve never liked Ubi games for that reason – give us something more compelling than “cool violent guy.”

        Also, the “hacking app” approach is pretty laughable. Deus ex machina much?

        • The Random One says:

          It seems unfair to single out Ubi when everyone is doing angry violent men as anti-hero protagonists. At least Ubi is self-aware, even if they think saying “boy aren’t we all tired of angry violent men as anti-hero protagonists” one out of every three games excuses them.

        • Deadly Sinner says:

          I don’t think you understand what deus ex machina means. The premise of a story cannot, by definition, be a deus ex machina. It has to be something that comes out of nowhere or goes against the logic of the story. This is neither, since it is established at the beginning of the story as part of its logic. Something being unrealistic is not enough to make it a deus ex machina.

          And I would love to know where the protagonist is established as a hero. Because, as long as we’re using normal definitions, and depending on how the character is played, he is an antihero AT BEST.

      • TaylanK says:

        Have to agree. The more these games try to take themselves seriously, the more it makes the protagonist stand out as the biggest threat to public safety. In this case it’s a random creepy dude who invades your privacy, reads your emails, violently executes criminal offenders without a trial, causes deadly crashes by mucking about with traffic lights, beats up cops, etc, all with a tap on his smartphone. It’s like the perfect image of a hacker that NSA would like to establish in the public eye.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      It’s weird that people will ignore that the guy is most likely knocked out in order to make these moralizing arguments. Yup, game mechanics don’t match up perfectly with reality. Shocking, right?

      It’s funny how people will accept choking out guards in Dishonored (even though they likely have brain damage considering how long they’re knocked out,) or tranquilizers in Deus Ex (even though the guards are likely poisoned to death, considering the protagonist is not a trained anesthesiologist,) but this is somehow too much.

      And don’t tell me it’s because the game is realistic, because it’s about as realistic as Dishonored or Deus Ex. Which is to say, not at all. That car would have been totaled after using that drawbridge as a ramp.

  5. RedViv says:

    I’m more disappointed in the lack of watches. Silly smartphones can’t survive a single blast from my Tesla cannons, but clockwork runs like itself.

  6. clumsyandshy says:

    Looks fancy and has some interesting ideas. Good on them Ubisoft for doing this!

    …and now they are also taking a play straight from Rockstar with these “narrated gameplay feature series” clips. Not as impressive as the ones R* do though.

    Coolest thing was the backseat view thing at 4.00 :)

  7. SuicideKing says:

    I was reading about AMD’s frame pacing driver(on Tech Report) in my college library, when a random freshman walks up behind me and goes (this is partly translated dialogue): “Watchdogs has better graphics than Crysis 3″. And i’m like, ok, and?

    “It has better pixel shaders and [somthing else]“…in my head i’m confused, weren’t pixel shaders on GPUs? Anyway, just made some polite conversation, indicating that game play matters more, and to that end i’ve not played Crysis 3 nor will i play Watch Dogs.

    Heck, these days I’m playing Dyad, NFS Shift and after today’s patch, Mark of the Ninja.

    • MrSean490 says:

      You should play Watch Dogs.

      Not Crysis 3 though.

      Never Crysis 3.

    • Harlander says:

      Gameplay being more important than fancy graphics isn’t the same as gameplay being mutually exclusive with fancy graphics, surely?

      But Mark of the Ninja sure is great

      • SuicideKing says:

        Of course! Never meant that. I love me some graphics! But then, if the game’s not fun or “same old” or stuff like that, then i rather not…I mean, i don’t have that much money to spend, and i’ve been burned a few times (BF3, NFS HP, HAWX 2), so if i doubt it’s interesting, then i wont.

        Take KOTOR for example, just picked it up during the summer sale, looks ancient and from the few mins i’ve played, the control scheme is awkward. Not good. Especially after playing ME 1,2.

        Halo CE, otoh, still loved and played.

        • TuringMachine says:

          Dude, if you don’t stick with KOTOR, you’ll be missing out on one of the greatest games ever.
          The RPG gameplay may take a while for you to get used to, but the universe, characters and story are so well done that you’ll find it worth your time. Especially if you’re a Star Wars fan.

          • SuicideKing says:

            I’ve been a SW fan since i was 5! I will stick with it, though i’ll probably need to mod it a bit.

    • The Random One says:

      I’ll play Watch Dogs, but not because it looks good.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Sure man, i’m not NOT playing it because it looks pretty, i don’t find the gameplay to be my type. Rather buy Gunpoint instead, i liked the demo.

        Here in India most people go like, good graphics=good game. Except CS, because it’s free (ahem) and runs on almost any computer.

        Indians will spend $600+ on a phone but $200 on a GPU? No..

        • Syra says:

          Man I’m just happy there’s a videogames scene in India at all, whenever I’m over there I have to scour the place for awful music shops that might sell a game or two.

          • SuicideKing says:

            Lol Planet M and all?

            Try Flipkart. I’ve started using Steam a lot for games that don’t hit retail or aren’t available anymore.

  8. Yargh says:

    This looks so very much like Assassin’s Creed: The Modern Era. Replacing viewpoints and guard towers with sector control servers you need to hack/assassinate.
    Not that this is such a bad thing.

  9. Bostec says:

    I think i’ll wait for the inevitable Watchdogs 2. Ubi and there new IPs,This will probably end up like first Ass creed game. Some good ideas but not quite baked long enough in the oven.

  10. Reverend Speed says:

    Predictive policing: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21582042-it-getting-easier-foresee-wrongdoing-and-spot-likely-wrongdoers-dont-even-think-about-it In a city near you.

    Ahh, I miss the days when RPS didn’t password the comments section. Made it much easier for me to drop in the odd note.

    Anyhow. Watch_Dogs looks rather good. Excited about it. =)

    –Rev

  11. Dowr says:

    I must be the only person that is skeptical of this game.

    It looks far too interesting for Ubisoft.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      This is the internet. Any sentences starting “I must be the only one who…” are necessarily false.

      • Dowr says:

        Yes, I realize I’m not the only one and that sentences like the one you quoted are, well, dumb. I’m just stating that the hype for this game is unusual to me, considering how high it is.

        • Jahnz says:

          I must be the only person that is sitting in this chair at these precise space/time coordinates that is me. Awww, yeah.

          • Synesthesia says:

            Hey, that applies to me too. Weird!

          • Gap Gen says:

            Yeah, take this precise location and…

            Hey, what happened to the momentum reader? Damn thing must be broken.

      • jackofcrowns says:

        This is the internet. There will always be some fucking loser there to correct your spelling, grammar, fallacies, etc.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Right, I think it’s all mocked up in a sound stage in Hollywood. Look at those shadows at 0:23 – they’re going in the wrong direction! And that flag shouldn’t wave when there’s no real air in videogames. Clearly this is an attempt by Ubisoft to pull the wool over the eyes of the American sheeple.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I don’t see how you could be the only person skeptical. I have a hard time imagining the game doing anything more than, say, Assassin’s Creed does. Hold right trigger to hack teh gibsun.

    • The Random One says:

      Ubi has been gunning for interesting for a long time. They just don’t know what it looks like. But even a blind man can hit a target if you give him a machine gun – albeit I agree it’s too optimistic to expect him to hit the bull’s eye.

    • SuicideKing says:

      I am, too.

    • derbefrier says:

      ehh being skeptical all the time is no fun. Let yourself get excited for a game every once and a while, specially when it looks as promising as this game. We’ll find out soon enough if it lives up to its hype, in the meantime lets just enjoy the fact that there’s a good chance we could get a a great new IP with interesting mechanics instead of shouting “Boooooo” at everything.

  12. Screamer says:

    I hear “lion” is the new “dog” yo!

  13. Snids says:

    Dogs using computers?

  14. LTK says:

    I wonder if the damage you cause to the city with car crashes, steam pipe overload etc. is permanent. Now that would be an interesting change from the usual indestructible maquette where Status Quo Is God that we usually get in open-world games. Just Cause 2 and Prototype toyed with this a bit but never took it anywhere interesting.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Your thinking of the older versions of Sim City!

  15. Stevostin says:

    It does *look* impressive. Possibly better than GTAV and at least hugely better than everything else. Streets well filled, great lightning, texturing, post processing, animations, etc. Say what you want about Ubi but on the tech front they’re at the top of their game.

  16. wodin says:

    Hurrah for a new IP..also fingers crossed the gameplay is as innovative as it seems.

  17. Turkey says:

    I’m not an anti-guns kinda person, but there’s something about the protagonist having a gun that kinda bothers me. I feel like it kinda undermines the hacking stuff when you can just shoot yourself out of any situation. It also means Ubisoft is going to have to work double as hard at blasting infographics and tutorial stuff in your face to make sure you’re experimenting instead of just blasting fools.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      To me, at least, choosing not to shoot is more interesting than not having the choice at all.

      I usually go non-lethal stealth in games like this or Deus Ex when possible. Having a gun allows me to get out of a mess while still feeling like I failed.

  18. Mark says:

    Crime prediction software is being rolled out by police departments in various cities / counties around the US as we speak.

    http://beforeitsnews.com/terrorism/2013/05/seattle-police-deploy-crime-prediction-software-city-wide-2446670.html

  19. fiendling says:

    No, no, no. It is Ubisoft, Watch Dogs is about consoles.

  20. albih2 says:

    I liked the “The wire” reference in their gameplay trailer :)

  21. toasthaste says:

    “Adan Pierce” has got to be the most generic white boy name I’ve heard in a while.

    That said, this game does look like it has the potential to be pretty interesting. I just hope they don’t end up relying on manshooting for too much of the gameplay.

    • Heimdall2061 says:

      How is “Aiden” generic? I have never known anyone with that name. Also, it seems like there are better choices for “most generic” white American/Canadian name like, say, Thomas Jones or John Smith.