Hacking the City in Watch Dogs? There's an App for That

E3 2012: We get a closer look at the Watch Dogs stage demo, and a brief glimpse of an app that lets you turn the city against your friends.

'

Ubisoft debuted its upcoming open-world game Watch Dogs during its stage show here at E3 2012, and that showing easily established it as one of the standout games of the show. Yesterday at the Ubisoft booth, we had a chance to take a closer look at that same demo. Far more interestingly, we also got a brief glimpse of a mobile app that looks as if it could expand the Watch Dogs experience in some innovative ways.

The non-playable demo was commented on by Kevin Short, lead story designer on the game. He described protagonist Aidan Pierce as a man shaped by violence and obsessed with surveillance. We noticed that Aidan's target during the demo has been acquitted of murder--presumably a murder he actually committed, which left us wondering if Aidan is something of a city-hacking Dexter, a man who doles out death to people who have killed others.

As Aidan entered the club in which he tracks his target during the demo, Short stated that fully realized interiors like the club aren't limited to mission-specific locations and that you can enter and investigate these interiors at any time, not just when dictated by a mission. Different locations draw different kinds of crowds, and hacking into the personal information of people outside of missions can lead to other opportunities and benefits.

Speaking of that personal information, this closer look at the demo let us better appreciate just how personal the info displayed for characters you approach is. One individual was revealed to be HIV positive, for instance, while another was shown to be the subject of a restraining order. Other personal details like annual income were also displayed, and Short suggested that your access to this kind of information could enable you to blackmail people.

But it was after the demo wrapped that the biggest revelation occurred. Short pulled out a tablet that displayed a 3D map of Watch Dogs' version of Chicago. He showed that using this app, he could track the movements of in-game characters and access dossiers of personal information about them--just the sort of thing that protagonist Aidan might himself make use of. You can also access information about locations, including schematics that might help you work out advantageous ways into and out of buildings you need to infiltrate.

Most intriguing were the social aspects Short hinted at. He indicated that you could see how friends had completed missions, perhaps giving you ideas on new techniques you might employ. Even more exciting was the competitive aspect he described. The app will let you challenge your friends, and if they accept your challenge, you can use the app to hack the city to make their lives more difficult. For instance, if your friend is driving down a road toward a mission objective, you might be able to hack traffic signals using the app (not unlike how Aidan does during the demo), attempting to cause collisions that hinder his or her progress.

Unfortunately, our glimpse at this app and its features was brief and left us with many unanswered questions. But it also left us more excited about Watch Dogs than we were before. Apps that tie in to games are nothing new; Mass Effect 3 had an app that let you send agents on missions to improve your galactic readiness level, and a Batman: Arkham City app helped you find and acquire the trophies the Riddler had scattered around town. But this looks as if it could be much more than a handy little app. It could be a meaningful and fun augmentation of Watch Dogs' surveillance-focused gameplay.

'

Written By

Want the latest news about Watch Dogs?

Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs

Discussion

65 comments
a-jay13
a-jay13

yes,the better gaming year has come at last 2013:watch dogs,gta five, bioshock infinte,need for speed rivals and assassins creed 4 looks awesome.is the watch dogs app also for android,


ProletariatPete
ProletariatPete

Finally a sandbox game for Hackers! Going to be amazing wish I could get Deadsec Edition also the app sounds amazing as well i'll at least pre-order this game

cooldudeachyut
cooldudeachyut

It looks like sleeping dogs with the protagonist having a remote control of every technological system.

sweety001
sweety001

This looks like it's going to be EPIC!!!!!

drumma1
drumma1

See? This is what game apps should be like. I don't want leader boards or dumbed down levels on my phone. I want something unique that enhances the experience, not some worthless program.

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

I see this game kinda becoming boring and repetitive after a while.

tevic
tevic

This game seems to take itself much too seriously for the sandbox genre.

 

This could be its downfall.

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

i just hope it looks almost as good on our consoles as it did in the pc demo..

evanist00
evanist00

Looks like my future job in 2 years... maybe 3 if I'm lucky

Armyboy5
Armyboy5

Looks like GTA V has a worthy challenger..

firehawk998
firehawk998

The game reminds me of a TV Series called Person of Interest. Where a agent helps a hacker to track down criminals and threats using similar methods in the game. Even the end part of the video looked like the intro to the show. This game and Last of us were the best games in E3.

ManHooYin
ManHooYin

Err this look sick...it's not just another open world game. I really hope GTA can top this otherwise this looks like the new GTA lol

rehan710
rehan710

the best Demo at E3,.....this generation still has potential!!!!..WOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW

bots_hunter
bots_hunter

Wow if they take the game in the direction as fully as this demo this game will prob make a run for game of the year. the Potential for a game like this is throught the roof. i am so amped for this.

adrian_cortez94
adrian_cortez94

i'm 100% sure that the gameplay will be fucking top-notch. just hoping that the story won't fall short.

Incubus420
Incubus420

This game is what I have dreamed a videogame could be.  Fully realized indoor and out, Amazing graphics with astounding physics, Deep intense game play, open world. You name it this game has got it.  And a multi-player that isn't kill or be killed. 

JOKER677
JOKER677

Best trailer I've seen in a while and the gameplay looks interesting from the same games being released with a sequal

stefan_931
stefan_931

Oooh this is intressting, sure have to keep an eye on this

ECH71
ECH71

Looks great and I'm happy they will be releasing it on PC as well.

samus_my_life
samus_my_life

Waaawoo , This Year is Amazing year

 

love E3 yeaaaah .... I love these kind of games ... sneak in and kill them with hacking lolz :)

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Holy crap! That looks awesome! Such an amazing concept.

Gamr2723
Gamr2723

Ubisoft has done a nice job keeping this game un-disclosed, and waiting for the right moment, E3! Nicely played Ubisoft, this was indeed one the scene stealers.  Another smart game that makes us think, rather than just pulling a trigger over and over.  I'll be watching for Watch Dogs.   

jmkh
jmkh

Aidan Pierce = Mr. Rese from Person of Intrest Cant wait for this to come out !!!!!!!!!!!

RAD_TRBO
RAD_TRBO

First seeing this at the ubisoft E3 conference i was SHOCKED! It amazing they kept this so secretive but seeing as how they said they want to "pack" as much stuff into this game as possible i don't see it coming out anytime soon which i think the developers said too. I could honestly see this being next gen? I hope not but its possible?

aaron25m
aaron25m

''As Aidan entered the club in which he tracks his target during the demo, Short stated that fully realized interiors like the club aren't limited to mission-specific locations and that you can enter and investigate these interiors at any time, not just when dictated by a mission. ''

Are we to take this as yes this is a sandbaox and not an open ended mission but linear in story game? :)

Gorakka
Gorakka

I have been avoiding buying an iPad for a long... But the thought of using this app while playing the game has me reconsidering.

BrunoBRS
BrunoBRS

so he's sort of a vigilante... that murders innocents (by causing deadly car crashes and using them as meatshield during the shootouts, as seen on the stage demo where a driver gets shot in the head during the shoot out in the middle of the crash he caused) to save them? i... what? :|

relli-boy
relli-boy

if this is the console version...i could only imagine what the pc version will look like! way to go Ubisoft! innovation at it's prime!!

megatronx2
megatronx2

So impressed so impressed!                      So impressed!   

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

Holy crap...this looks awesome.

ProletariatPete
ProletariatPete

@Philly1UPer It should be like every other sandbox game you play but replace having rocket luanchers with a phone and a pistol from what i've heard

ProletariatPete
ProletariatPete

@tevic If by serious you mean not like GTA or Saints Row these are not the only open world games the more serious the better the storyline for instance Skyrim wasnt a comedy game but i'm sure it rates above Saints Row and GTA even though I love Saints myself

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

 @ManHooYin cant really compare this to GTA, while they are both sandbox games, they are totally two different games with different gameplay.

relli-boy
relli-boy

 @megatronx2

 i see it now...at 1st i thought he had a PS3 controller in hand, but it looks to be a black XBOX controller. either way, this game sets new standards!!

Whitebloodsun
Whitebloodsun

 @Tallwhitemocha

 But, you will need both wisdom and self control when you have blind optimism.

In fact, I insist that they have it. :P