The subject matter of Ubisoft’s new hack ‘em up Watch Dogs is uncomfortably close to home in the light of the recent NSA surveillance scandal, and there’s a distinct sense that this is being played up quite a bit in the marketing push leading up to Watch Dogs‘ fall release.
The game takes place in a slightly alternate timeline to our own, in which every electronic system and device in every major U.S. city is controlled via a centralized network called ctOS, which is intended to safeguard against security threats and ironically has the opposite effect. The game’s protagonist, Aiden Pearce, is a hacker with a chip on his shoulder, who can use his access to ctOS to control just about everything in his environment.
In theory, Aiden seems intent to use this power for some semblance of good – practicing vigilante justice to save the citizens of Chicago from victimization whilst at the same time seeking revenge for some wrongdoing he experienced in the past. One way that he carries this out – as shown in the new trailer which debuted at the Sony Gamescom conference – is by using his smartphone to unlock people’s cars and race them through the city.
For those who were looking forward to the Grand Theft Auto-esque aspects of Watch Dogs, this trailer is a pretty exciting affair, showing chases through the streets of Chicago during which Aiden manipulates traffic lights to always be green when he approaches (now that is a useful skill). It’s always wise to be a little cautious about vehicle sections in games that aren’t primarily about driving or racing, but if the controls are handled properly then this could be an incredibly fun way to travel around Watch Dogs‘ open-world map.
Speaking of fun ways to travel, one clip shows Aiden jumping onto the back of a train and using his all-powerful phone to control it. If this is actually something that’s possible in Watch Dogs, outside of a one-off mission, then it’s certainly a more impressive alternative to travelling inside the carriage. It’s probably wise to watch out when the train goes into a tunnel, though.
It’s not all fun and games, though. The trailer features a warning from a community of hackers known as DedSec, who don’t seem to be very happy with Aiden’s invasion of ctOS – possibly because he’s encroaching on their territory. DedSec are that brand of secret organization who enjoy interrupting your favorite TV show (or at least the ad breaks) with fuzzy videos, and seem to be based at least in part on real-life internet collective Anonymous. It’s possible, given that there have been hints of other RPG elements and moral choice gameplay in Watch Dogs, that DedSec is a faction that Aiden can choose to ally himself with.
As the end of the trailer shows, pre-ordering Watch Dogs for PS3 or PS4 will also grant you access to 4 extra missions, totalling an extra hour of gameplay, a hacking boost perk and a “sleek and deadly DedSec white hacker suit” that makes Aiden stand out in a crowd even more than his baseball cap and face mask already do. You can get more pre-order bonuses by ordering the game from Amazon or Gamestop, which might be why Watch Dogs is currently in the top 5 most pre-ordered games of 2013.
If you were on the fence before, does this new trailer tempt you to buy Watch Dogs? If you were already convinced, have the pre-order bonuses persuaded you to buy it for PS3 or PS4?
Watch Dogs releases November 19, 2013 for the PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U. It will also launch for the PS4 and Xbox One.