‘Watch_Dogs’ Box Art Sports Smartphones & Guns

It’s one of our most anticipated games of 2013 (and a godsend for the Wii U), and Ubisoft‘s first venture into truly next-gen open world game design. And now, Watch_Dogs has a face to put to the name, as the official box art has been released. Unfortunately the platforms set to host the game are still not completely confirmed, as only the PC, Wii U and PlayStation 3 covers have been shown, meaning an idea of the PlayStation 4 case design is still elusive.

If this means that the Xbox 720 won’t be releasing by Holiday 2013, or Ubisoft is simply letting Microsoft keep things quiet isn’t clear, but there’s one thing we do know: the hero of Watch_Dogs, Aiden Pearce, will be of use to anyone who needs to make a phone call. Or kill somebody.

Hot on the heels of an impressive showing at Sony’s PS4 announcement event, those already interested in the blend of environment interactions and gunplay now know which poster and image to look out for.

And in case anyone had been concerned that the next-gen gameplay would demand some entirely new skills or nebulous approach to stealth and combat, the box art makes it clear that Watch_Dogs will be a suitable adventure to any third-person shooter fan, on any platform.

Take a look at the Watch_Dogs cover art below:

Watch Dogs Ubisoft Cover

We were expecting something a bit more connected to the near-future-technophobia themes the game will be drawing on (we’re still fans of the artwork seen on the leaked pre-order posters), but there’s no denying that a pistol-brandishing outlaw with a covered face will attract mainstream attention. The smartphone in hand makes Pearce seem somewhat of a modern cowboy, even if we wouldn’t recommend that those hoping to evade detection should walk down busy city streets with a gun in hand (especially in this day and age).

We don’t know exactly what it means when a publisher decides to feature firearms (a mainstay and no-brainer in most modern shooters) over the story and innovation of a game, since the box art for BioShock Infinite was widely criticized by fans for capturing little of the game’s spirit and aesthetic. Aiden Pearce’s phone gives a sense of the non-bullet-fueled elements of the game, but marketing Watch_Dogs as a shooter, first and foremost, seems top priority.

Irrational Games pointed to recognition from casual gamers as their reason for sporting a gun-toting hero, and it’s likely the same story here. Considering Ubisoft’s lofty plans for the future of the Watch_Dogs name, they’ll need as many sales as possible come this holiday season.

Anyone who doubts that the game isn’t capable of garnering enough attention on its own need only watch the newest gameplay demo from Sony’s PS4 event. The demo has since been confirmed to be running not on a PS4, but a PC built to PS4 specifications. If the finished console even comes close, fans are in for a treat:

What do you think of the box art? Were you hoping for something different, or is Aiden Pearce the kind of hacker killer you’re looking to get to know better? Sound off in the comments.

Watch_Dogs is anticipated for a late 2013 release. Confirmed platforms include the Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Wii U and PC.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

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