The Watch_Dogs PAX East Demo: Long Lines, Low Information

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Posted on March 27, 2013, Ron Whitaker The Watch_Dogs PAX East Demo: Long Lines, Low Information

Picture this: You’re on the floor at PAX East. In front of you is a gigantic Watch_Dogs banner hanging over a closed theater room. The line of people waiting to see this presentation stretches around the booth. Wouldn’t this seem like something you wanted to see, especially if you were intrigued by the game’s E3 reveal last year? As excited as all of us here at Game Front got about the concept of Watch_Dogs, I couldn’t wait to check it out.

Unfortunately, the presentation itself was a bit of a let down. Rather than learning a lot of new information about the game, we were presented with a developer diary video, and then a short gameplay video. There really wasn’t any new information revealed, but we did get confirmation of some things we already knew.

Aiden Pierce is the main character of Watch_Dogs. Through some (currently) unknown means, he’s gained backdoor access to the ctOS, the computer that runs everything in Chicago. Using this access, he can take control of security cameras, traffic lights, and even public transportation. Manipulating all of these elements will allow Aiden to evade capture and achieve his goals. For example, one moment in the video showed Aiden popping up barriers to take out a police car, effectively ending their pursuit of him.

Through ctOS, Aiden can also get nearly instant information on every person he sees. At a glance, you’ll know a person’s age, their occupation, and even their dirty secrets. You’ll be able to use this information to not only locate targets, but also to play the role of Good Samaritan at times. In the trailer we were shown, Aiden interrupts a domestic dispute, saving a woman.

We also got an ephemeral reference to the fact that Watch_Dogs will be playable on ‘every platform,’ a further nod to the idea that you’ll be able to affect the world of Watch_dogs even if you’re not at your PC. No details were given, but the idea of being able to whip out your smartphone and assist a friend who’s playing the game is a cool one, assuming Ubi can pull it off.

Unfortunately, there’s still a lot we don’t know about Watch_Dogs. We don’t know how Aiden got this access, or exactly what he is trying to accomplish with it. We don’t know a lot about Aiden’s history, or who he is. We don’t know how the game will deal with all those other platforms that Ubi has mentioned. Heck, we don’t even know why there’s an underscore in the name!

Regardless, Watch_Dogs still looks intriguing, and that’s probably why so many people stood in line so long to get a glimpse of what’s in store. I wonder how many of them were as frustrated with the lack of information as I was. I’m still interested in the game, but I hope Ubisoft shows off a lot more details when E3 rolls around in June. There’s still no word on a release date, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit stores before the holidays.

The video shown in the PAX East booth is below.

Keep up with all of Game Front’s PAX East 2013 coverage here.

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