The lights are on
Update: New screens and complete gameplay trailer for one of E3's most impressive new games.
Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot came onstage to announce an impressive new game called Watch Dogs.
The backstory starts in 2003, when a power outage left 55 million Americans in the dark. The power outage was caused by a disgruntled employee who uploaded a virus that crippled the power grid on the east coast.
The government’s response was CTOS, a program that controls a city’s entire information network: the power grid, traffic grid, personal data networks, and everything else. CTOS controls the city, but also farms data on individuals. Who then controls CTOS? The player, of course.
The main character is a man named Aiden Pearce, a hacker who has access to all of the info CTOS compiles, and can pull up everyone’s personal data at will. After an impressive flyby of a bustling city, the camera seamlessly shifts to third-person gameplay.
Pearce walks down a busy city street sporting an impressive amount of detail. He walks up to a line that has formed outside of an art gallery. A new show is opening, featuring the works of a man named Flynn De Marco. A guard is standing in front of the door, but Pearce easily distracts him with an option on his PDA, which jams everyone’s cell phone signals. A few moments later, the guard walks into the street in hopes of finding a signal, and Pearce sneaks into the show.
Inside the gallery, a variety of data points pop up on the other people there to see the exhibit. Pearce meets a contact, who argues with him about a deal of some sort, before Pearce reveals that the De Marco is the target. The acquaintance hands over a gun, stating that De Marco isn’t even at the show, until he realizes Pearce is acting as bait to draw him in.
Pearce walks away and hacks the phone of a nearby woman, a friend of De Marco, who promptly calls the artist. Listening to the conversation, Pearce hears his target is on his way, and that the security guards are out to get him. He swiftly makes his way back to the front of the gallery where a guard approaches him. In a few swift moves, Pearce pulls out a telescoping baton and knocks the guard unconscious.
Pearce walks out onto the street and waits for De Marco to show. He pulls up his PDA again and changes the traffic light, causing a car accident. De Marco is caught in the ensuing gridlock, but his guards waste no time in opening fire on Pearce. The antihero shoots back, killing a few guards in slow motion. He makes his way to a shot up car and opens the passenger-side door. In an act of mercy, he pulls the frightened passenger out and tells him to stay low. He then goes back to shooting guards and vaulting over cars, all of which looks fast-paced and seamless. A gas station goes up in flames, which also looks visually impressive. Once all of the guards are dead, he punches through De Marco’s window and pulls him out onto the street.
De Marco pleas for his life, saying that killing him would be suicide. Pearce says that he’s going to have De Marco deliver a message. With that, he shoots him point blank in the head.
In one final twist, Pearce opens up his PDA again and the view switches to a different character watching from a rooftop. As the mysterious figure runs of – presumably controlled by the player – the demo ends.
We’re not sure how the second character plays into the story – whether the player was controlling him in some sort of Matrix-esque sci-fi twist, or if it was controlled by a second player. Additionally, Ubisoft didn't provide any kind of time frame or platforms for the game. The publisher's press website lists Watch Dogs for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, however. We’ll find out more when we visit Ubisoft later in the show, but Watch Dogs made a strong impression in a conference full of impressive demos.
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