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New Ubisoft IP announced: Watch Dogs

Ubisoft has just unveiled their new IP: Watch Dogs. This near-future thriller plays like an open-world superhero game - only instead of flight or super strength, you have the forces of technology on your side as you manipulate the data footprints of everyone around you. 

Watch Dogs takes up an angle not often mentioned in games: how each member of the general public has an increasingly larger "digital footprint," from all the devices, social media, apps, and sites we're constantly using. Those in the know (which we assume to be master-level hackers) can use this data-mined information to their advantage, controlling anything from a cellphone to entire transit systems. "All data is interconnect," the intro trailer stated, "[and] you are a data cluster."

The demo showed a trenchcoat sporting introvert named Aidan Pierce, as he slowly trudged through a busy sidewalk looking suspicious to us but inconspicuous to everyone else on the block. Everything seemed about the setting seemed ordinary, until the player pressed a button and revealed a network between everyone on the street, complete with data readouts as Pierce passed by them.

Pierce crossed the street to gain entry to a nightclub, but the line was stretching down the street. Using an unrevealed tool to demonstrate his technological prowess, he overloaded every cellphone within a 50-foot radius, causing an outburst of confusion from those present - including the club's bouncer. As everyone questioned what had happened, Pierce slipped through the doors completely unnoticed.

Upon his entering, we saw a scene that looked like a mix between paranoid delusion and reality. A man with sunglasses appeared on a TV and seemed to be speaking directly to Pierce, warping in and out of a wireframe form. Things turned even stranger when a waiter approached Pierce to offer him drinks - only, a cube-shaped QR code stood where his head should be.

As Pierce scanned the crowded club floor, more and more readouts popped up onscreen, consisting of people's names and interests. Much like mind reading, Pierce used his hacking skills to gather data on a target of interest, in the search for a man named "DeMarco." Once he found his mark, he used his skills to tap into her cellphone and listen in on a conversation confirming that Pierce's presence in the club had been noticed.

After a brief conversation with a seedy-looking gangster type, who inexplicably gave Pierce a loaded gun, Pierce decided it was time to go. As he approached the door, a readout popped up on the approaching security official, complete with a note stating "Violence Probablity: 71%" and rising. Knowing he couldn't pass without a fight, Pierce flipped the guard to the ground and knocked him out cold.

Ducking into the streets, Pierce was in need of another distraction to get his pursuers off his tail. Once again using his techno-skill wheel, he manipulated a nearby street light to create a four-way traffic collision. In the ensuing chaos, gunfire broke out from the direction of some unidentified thugs. Pierce pulled out his pistol and fired shots back, activating a bullet-time reminiscent of Max Payne's signature move.

As the shootout carried on, the camera shifted focus entirely, bringing us to an unnamed character on a rooftop high above Pierce. He had similar data readouts on his HUD, only he had a mission of his own: "Protect Aidan Pierce." With that, he took to chasing Pierce down the street. As the camera zoomed out on a wireframe view of the city, more and more blue icons were shown, denoting a network of characters all tracking and protecting another's movements.

The concept of Watch Dogs is absolutely fascinating, and being able to control the complex devices we take for granted in our everyday lives is an awesome new way of doing superpowers in games. As the demo concluded, the game's premise was summed up nicely "Everything is connected. Connection is power."

22 comments

  • CitizenWolfie - June 5, 2012 4:11 a.m.

    I was pretty much sold on this until the shootout and car chase at the end. I love the idea of using your brains and your gadgets to get by and only fighting as a last resort (such as the security guard) so I hope the missions don't all end up like a techno GTA clone. But still, it looks great and I'll keep my eye on it. Nice to see some decent looking new IPs emerging.
  • michaelkaramas - June 5, 2012 1:59 a.m.

    it was wii u for this game...i checked an hd video of the conference...the controller is the new wii u pro . it lights up blue later in the demo
  • Person5 - June 5, 2012 1:33 a.m.

    This was the kind of thing I was hoping to see at E3, and I'm glad I got to see it. I have a feeling this game will be on my watch list for a while. I feels as long as it doesn't fall into a trap of being too repetitive it will be a great game. Sidenote: It takes place in the best city in the world, extra points.
  • angelusdlion - June 4, 2012 9:25 p.m.

    and it is a gallery not a night club.. the newscaster in front says so.. good to see the person who writes the article actually watches the gameplay clips...
  • Cwf2008 - June 4, 2012 9:43 p.m.

    Wow. One mistake. It looks like a nightclub on the inside. Easily confused. The rest of the summary was accurate though so stfu
  • paul212 - June 4, 2012 9:20 p.m.

    When I first watched this and it changed perspective I was thinking it was revealing some crazy multiplayer integration with two or more players all going through different missions in the game.
  • angelusdlion - June 4, 2012 9:20 p.m.

    is this cyberpunk?
  • Markoose16 - June 4, 2012 5:40 p.m.

    I didn't think it was a nightclub he went I thought someone said it was an art exhibition or something. Although it looked like a nightclub inside I thought the waiters cube heads was like a modern art thing. Looks really promising at the moment I think we just need some more details about what type of game it is. I actually think this might be the first new IP anyone has shown at e3 so far which is pretty amazing, I'm excluding anything kinect related and XBLA games.
  • RonnyLive19881 - June 4, 2012 5:29 p.m.

    http://i45.tinypic.com/2uh38z6.png THAT is a Wii U Pro controller Lmao so awesome!
  • GarcianSmith - June 4, 2012 5:38 p.m.

    Erm. The buttons are coloured and in the wrong position. Methinks it isn't.
  • Markoose16 - June 4, 2012 5:42 p.m.

    That's an Xbox wired controller isn't it? Yellow for Y, Red for B, blue for X. The Wii U Pro had the right stick at the top where those buttons would be didn't it. Could be playing on PC though.
  • RonnyLive19881 - June 4, 2012 5:57 p.m.

    I didn't see any colors and the sticks look level like with the Wii U pro...
  • Markoose16 - June 4, 2012 7 p.m.

    His right thumb is clearly not on a stick as it would be raised much higher like the stick by his left thumb. Also the Wii Pro doesn't have any colour on it and there is clearly colour on this controller. His right tumb is on a yellow button, the same place the yellow Y button is on the Xbox controller, there is a red button to the left of the yellow (looking at it) which just happens to be the place of the red B button on an xbox pad. And you can just make out a darker blue behind the yellow which also happens to be where the Blue X button is on an Xbox controller. Also the triggers and shoulder buttons are the same as an Xbox pad. Clearly it's the Wii U Pro controller. I wrote all this because I'm bored watching the Sony Conference.
  • R_U_Guys_From_British - June 4, 2012 5:06 p.m.

    I instantly got vibes that this game has elements of the initial splinter cell: conviction concept and game play in it.
  • Tjwoods18 - June 4, 2012 5:03 p.m.

    No, it was a ps3 controller. They demo'ed all of their games on ps3.
  • Dadyo238 - June 4, 2012 5 p.m.

    OH.MY.GOD. This looks friggin amazing.
  • NinjaWalrusMeow - June 4, 2012 4:58 p.m.

    Link to the games official site: https://dotconnexion.ubi.com/
  • Smash_Bro - June 4, 2012 4:56 p.m.

    I looked up from my homework, and thought that Ubisoft was promoting some kind of anti-governmental conspiracy. I was so relieved to see that it was for the new IP that G4 predicted. Looks great and (the idea) is definitely original. I will be checking up on this game.
  • bboyd - June 4, 2012 4:53 p.m.

    That was seriously insane, I cannot imagine anything topping that at this particular E3. Can't help but wonder what console it was running on?
  • GarcianSmith - June 4, 2012 4:50 p.m.

    Colour me seriously fucking impressed. I didn't see this on the LiveStream, and there seems to be a little confusion as to what this was being played on - can anyone say for certain? P.S - Link to gameplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcMRkyoHKeA

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