PAX East 2013 Preview: Watch Dogs

A message from the creative director and ctOS.

Ubisoft showed two videos of Watch Dogs behind closed doors at PAX East in Boston this weekend. The first was a message from Watch Dogs creative director Jonathan Morin. The second was the same video from Sony’s PlayStation 4 unveil, but from the perspective of the ctOS security system.

Being that video recording was not allowed, we’ve transcribed both clips below. For the ctOS video, we suggest following along the older video for reference.

Jonathan Morin, Creative Director

Watch Dogs is a brand new game experience well-anchored in reality. We’re all limited to a hyper-connected world. Everything that has been invented surrounding the internet these past 20 years have slowly begun defining the way we live our day-to-day lives. It started with computers and mobile devices, and then we had smartphones.

“The next step is the concept of smart cities: a system that matches entire the entire city to solve complex problems. Traffic jams, war against crime, power management—this concept is real. In our game, we call it the “CityOS” program. The cool part is, Watch Dogs will give you the ability to control every single bit of that CityOS. You’re going to turn an entire city into a weapon against itself.

“You’ll do it through the innards of Aiden Pearce, a man shaped by violence and obsessed with surveillance. A man who monitors his family 24/7 without them knowing to protect them from something that happened in the past. Unfortunately for Aiden, his family will be endangered once again, pushing him to his limits, he will take justice into his own hands and push his obsessions beyond its limits. What you’ll discover behind Aiden Pearce’s story will show that it goes far beyond a single person and involves the entire city of Chicago.

“Once you control Aiden Pearce, you can wander around the streets and tap into every mobile device, every laptop, every computer. If someone has a secret, you’re going to find it. You can control everything around you, from traffic lights to the entire power grid. When you can control everything around you that way, that means Watch Dogs has to simulate absolutely everything. All the realism our simulation of Chicago will offer is simply unprecedented.

“But what’s really important to us are the dynamics of the game. Every system in our game talks to each other. When you walk on the street and press a button to cause an accident, this accident will be real, and the people behind the wheel will be in danger—they might die. So if you want to fix the problem, then you’re going to have to intervene.

“Everything you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it will be reported by the media—the population will listen. The simulation will perceive you based on how you play, and it will change your game experience. In the end, in Watch Dogs, you’re going to feel the gravity of each situation as you play.

“In other games, players tend to follow the little icon. That’s because the icon tends to say what’s going to happen next. Not in Watch Dogs. But we also have random events. You’re going to be able to use the profiler to tap into anyone’s lives and be able to access anyone’s information. You’ll be to get into their bank accounts, finance your progression, and discover all sorts of clues for gameplay.

“When you can tap into the lives of someone you don’t even know, you just have no idea where it’s going to lead you. Expect the unexpected in Watch Dogs. When you wander around in the open world, the possibilities we have to offer you are endless. If everything is connected, then everyone is connected, too. If you think you’re alone, think again, you’re not. Someone is watching. Other players will cross your path. In Watch Dogs, everyone is watching. Even people on mobile devices. You’ll be able to play on any platform, anywhere you want, at any time.

“You’ve already had a glimpse of what Watch Dogs is all about. But believe me when I say it, there’s a lot more to come.”

ctOS Perspective

“ctOS Threat Monitoring Report #193A
Subject: Aiden Pearce

“On October 26 at 16:13 Central Time, ctOS network security detected multiple breaches in our system. This was a level 3 network intrusion. On-site surveillance cameras and first-hand eye witnesses confirmed Aiden Pearce at the site of the intrusion. We now have solid confirmation that Pearce can breach the ctOS populace database at will. This grants him access to names, salaries, occupations, and countless clusters of private information.

“Attempts to track and block his access points have proven unsuccessful. The illegal hacks used by Pearce have given him access to secure banking accounts. In this case, he uses private account information to withdraw stolen funds from a nearby ATM.

“Moments later, we detected a new intrusion from an unknown party. It appears we are not the only people tracking and monitoring Pearce. Make note of this as we’ll come back to it later. Starting at 16:32 Central Time, a series of escalating events.

“Pearce accesses data on Sandy Higgins, a teacher with a restraining order against her ex-husband Bobby Sawicki. The ctOS crime prevention system flags Higgins as a potential victim. Upon seeing this ctOS notification of an imminent crime, Pearce decides to follow Miss Higgins. This course of action was noted by a criminologist and will be added to his upcoming psych report.”

[Higgins is approached by her ex-husband, who says, “I’m not going to let you get away with it!” She responds, “Don’t touch me, I’m warning you!”]

“Here we see Pearce intervene, saving Higgins. When the attacker flees, the ctOS crime prevention system prompts Pearce to capture her attacker. It should be noted that this indicator is part of the beta system intended for Chicago PD. We don’t know Pearce gained access to this. And it’s clear this breach goes far deeper than we ever imagined.

“Next is a hack we were completely unaware of. Pearce somehow overloads an electrical fuse box. The implications of this are obvious, but what happens next is even worse. Chicago PD responds to the disturbance, but Pearce alludes the officers by using our system against them. And when the ctOS isn’t immediately available, Pearce does not hesitate to use more conventional tools. Our image recognition systems confirm Pearce is armed with a .9 millimeter handgun.

“The lesson is: do not mistake Pearce as just another hacker. He’s something more. Despite Chicago PD’s considerable show of force against Pearce, he managed to escape the area by disrupting the ctOS transit system. One of our top priorities should be to find the exploit he used and close it off.

“As Pearce makes his escape, we again see clear evidence that an unknown party was monitoring his actions. We must track down this individual and determine if he or she is trying to stop him, or worse, help him. We must protect our system, and that means containing Pearce. Any breach of ctS is a danger to everyone.”

Watch Dogs is due out this holiday for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 (and likely the next Xbox), Wii U, and PC.

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