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4 Reasons Why Watch Dogs Could Be Great
Watch Dogs is without a doubt one of the most, if not the most, hyped games for this year. In fact, it’s been one of the most hyped video games ever since it debuted its gameplay footage at E3 2012. It’s been quite a rollercoaster ride for Ubisoft’s upcoming open-world title. Previously set to be a launch title for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, Watch Dogs was delayed, and for months Ubisoft went dark with no word or comments on when the game might be released. Five months later, Ubisoft finally announced in March that the game would release May 27th. Through all the hype, delays, and other supposed speculations, Watch Dogs is still one of my most anticipated games for 2014, and here are a couple of reasons why.
Open world games are some of my favorite games, but it’s not enough to have just a big map to run around in. Environmental story-telling is just as crucial as actual story-telling. In Watch Dogs you aren’t just running around in a big area, you’re running around in a living, breathing city, and that city happens to be Chicago. Citizens walk all over the streets, going to and from their jobs, sitting in cafes, talking on phones, driving cars etc. The citizens on the street don’t just cycle back and forth routinely, they each have identities, and as you walk the streets of Chicago, you never know what might happen. You might happen to stumble across a mugging, or some other crime being committed. Chicago looks to be a lifelike city, with real people doing real things.
Watch Dogs’ creative director, Jonathan Morin, said the game’s story will take the average player 35-40 hours to complete and that if you do everything in the game, it will take you close to 100 hours. This gives some kind of indication of just how large the city of Chicago is and how much there is to do around the city.
CONTROL AN ENTIRE CITY
The idea behind Watch Dogs is one of the most intriguing and unique ideas I’ve seen in gaming in a long time. In Watch Dogs, the city of Chicago is completely digitally connected thanks to the CtOS (Central Operating System) created by the Blume Corporation. CtOS is a software system that controls all of Chicago. It controls Wifi, phones, traffic lights, security cameras, and anything else that can be accessed digitally. This has been very beneficial to the city of Chicago, mainly in controlling crime throughout the city, but while CtOS has many advantages, it poses an incredible threat. Since everything in Chicago is connected, if a person were to gain control over the CtOS, the entire city would for all intents and purposes, be in that person’s control. That’s where Aiden Pierce comes in. Aiden is a master hacker, and in Watch Dogs, Aiden has control of the CtOS, He can look through cameras, hack people’s bank accounts, control traffic lights, and even cause city-wide blackouts, so he can escape in tight spots. In Watch Dogs, the power of an entire city is in the palm of your hands. The concept of Watch Dogs is extremely thoughtful, and it also poses relevance to our time. How many times a day do we send a text, or check our email, or talk on our phones? We do it without any hesitation or thought that all of our devices are connected to a Wifi source, or 3G, or 4G. What if someone could access all of that? Just how powerful would that person be?
In Watch Dogs, you have control over Chicago, but you aren’t confined to use that power a certain way. In Watch Dogs, you have the choice to use that power to be hero vigilante, or a total criminal. Watch Dogs appears to allow players to truly question their morals. You have the option to hack people’s bank accounts, or even spy on people. Because of CtOS, everything in Chicago is connected. Criminal records, medical records, insurance information, basicaly everything there is to know about a person is all connected the CtOS network. Since Aiden has control of the CtOS, he too can know just about anything he wants to know about a person. Aiden can use this information to possibly predict what citizens could be victims of crimes, or predict what citizens might commit criminal activity. If you decide to follow a potential victim, that person may be attacked or mugged. Do you help the person, or do you walk away? It’s entirely your decision. If you decide to act, you might begin a merry chase around Chicago, drawing attention to yourself, and causing the cops to chase you, but at least you helped someone. If you decide to keep walking, that person may be killed or mugged, but at least you didn’t draw the cops to your attention. The decision is all yours. Based on the choices you make, you will gain a reputation, and people will react to you based on what you do, In the above video, there is a part where Aiden is trying to get away from the police by going inside of a gun store. While Aiden is in the store, the TV comes on with a breaking newscast of Aiden’s face and how the police are looking for him. The man behind the register notices Aiden and slowly reaches under the counter for something. From what we’ve seen from Watch Dogs so far, choices appear to have very real consequences.
MODERN DAY ASSASSIN?
***WARNING!!! MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!***
Watch Dogs is being developed by Ubisoft Montreal, the same studio behind the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Besides being developed by the same studio, When you see gameplay footage for Watch Dogs, you’ll immediately pick up the Assassin’s Creed influence just by the way Aiden moves and the massive open-world, but just how similar are the two games? Assassin’s Creed games are all about going back to a real period in history with real historic figures, but weaving the fictional story of the war between the Assassins and Templars into it all. However, Assassin’s Creed games don’t always stay stuck in the past. In each Assassin’s Creed game, there is smaller story outside of the animus in the present day. The “outside the animus” story in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is about a faceless employee who works for Abstergo Entertainment. This story takes place from the first person point of view and you never see his face, or hear him speak. You are the employee who is in control of uncovering the story of Edward Kenway. As you progress on in the story, you are contacted my a man within Abstergo who wants your help to secretly uncover something within Abstergo. One of the ways in which you help the man is by none other than hacking. After completing the game or if you just wish to play outside of the animus, you can freely walk around the Abstergo office, hacking other employees computers. When you successfully hack computers, you receive info about Abstergo, their past projects,and all sorts of other little valuable pieces of information, but one computer in particular (which I found pretty difficult to crack) gave me a very interesting email. The email was a presentation of a brand new product called CtOS from a corporation called the Blume Corporation.
Is our faceless hacker in Assassin’s Creed 4 actually Aiden, and are Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs set in the same universe? Is Aiden actually a modern day assassin and will Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed turn into two franchises that correlate with each other? Or is this simply just an easter egg Ubisoft threw in for fun? I guess we’ll just have to play Watch Dogs and find out for ourselves.
The final reason I’m excited for Watch Dogs is because of its delay. I’ll be the first to admit that I was furious when I heard Watch Dogs was going to be delayed, but in the end, it takes a tremendous amount of courage for a developer to delay a game and admit that its not good enough. Leading up to its initial release date in November of last year, Watch Dogs looked fantastic and appeared to run smoothly, but Ubisoft announced that the game needed more time for the developers to work on it, and if an already good-looking game needs more time to get even better, then I’m all for it. Other than just making a bunch of us gamers mad, there’s many other risk factors involved in delaying a game. Stocks and shareholders are involved as well, and game hype can dwindle, but at the end of the day would you rather play a game that settled for less or that attempted to execute everything as perfectly as possible? While we don’t quite know yet if the delay will truly hurt Watch Dogs, Ubisoft should be commended for having the guts to admit that the game wasn’t ready yet. It’s a decision that many developers would probably like to make, but because of the risks associated with it, they don’t. From what we’ve seen so far, Watch Dogs looks like a very promising open-world, sandbox game with tons of things to do and a concept that’s very intriguing. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Watch Dogs will be released on May 27th worldwide on current and next gen consoles. However If you’re choosing to play Watch Dogs on Wii U, you’ll have to wait until later this year.